Brand mergers and acquisitions are complex endeavours. There are many stories out there about organisations that have done it wrong and paid the price.
From differences in culture to job titles, there are plenty of factors to think about when going through a brand merger or acquisition that can help ensure or defer the success of it all.
It’s also crucial to consider your online presence, and how your brand will be represented in the future. How will you handle the website? What is your new brand’s identity? How will you represent it online?
A merger can be a great opportunity to rethink your branding, update your communications strategy, and build effective new website content.
To help you make sure you’ve addressed your brand merger strategy online, Lydia Rutter, SEO Executive at Tecmark, and Ricky Hague, Brand Consultant, have put together this checklist of tasks that will help you leave no stone unturned.
Our Brand Merger Digital Marketing Checklist includes:
- Establish the New Brand’s Visual Identity
- Merge Company Website
- Update Your Online Presence
- Have A Strong Customer Communications Strategy
- Wrap Up Loose Ends
1. Establish the New Brand’s Visual Identity
Before updating your customers about the merger coming their way, you should first establish the brand’s new visual identity.
When establishing the new visual identity for the new brand, it’s crucial to understand where most brand equity is. Are there historical elements that are well known and unique that we can transfer to the new identity? It’s also important to remember that it’s not only an operational exercise, and we still need to make sure the identity is distinctive and appropriate for the new brand.
To start, your brand should get a full audit to determine its strength in the marketplace, and if any historic elements are known or relevant to the new brand. This will involve marketing and brand management teams, and your current customers.
After the audit, you should have a firm idea of the strengths and weaknesses of all elements of the brand – whether internal branding, external branding, or customer relations-based – and the areas that could be improved or reconsidered in the new brand.
The next step should be to create a design strategy for the brand’s new identity. Key factors to consider are: whether the new identity will include any of the historical elements from the old brands or not, where the new identity will be used (online, social media, apps, signage, vehicles, etc), and what type of logo is most suitable – eg logotype or logo symbol.
Keeping these things in mind during the design process will help ensure your visual identity represents the best elements of both of your brands.
Test the brand’s new visual identity and see how it performs with consumers. Whether online, in apps, or on clothing, it needs to be suitable for the platform it was designed for. It is hard to see? Does it make sense?
You’ll identify any niggles in your design during the UX testing phase.
Create visual brand guidelines that can be referenced for future branded materials, to ensure consistency in usage and appearance throughout your organisation’s presence.
2. Merge Company Websites
Once you’ve established your brand’s new visual identity, it’s time to update the website.
A very important, and often overlooked, part of brand mergers is the proper migration of the company website. Website migrations are tricky and have the potential to disrupt your SEO performance if done incorrectly.
Protect the time and money you’ve spent on your company’s website by ensuring that your website administrators have a full website migration plan in place. This should include URL mapping, duplicate content removal, and page-level redirects from your old website to your new website. This will help minimise any traffic loss and prevent dips in your SEO performance.
This process will involve combining your websites, using the best content from both sites, and making tweaks where necessary to fit your new brand’s tone of voice. Ensure your tone is the same throughout and that your content fits your brand’s new values.
Get in touch with our site migration experts if you need help with a complex website migration.
3. Update Your Online Presence
With your updated brand vision and company website, you can get started on updating local listings.
Any online directories that you are listed on should be contacted and updated with the current company information, including the name, logo, address and any assets. This could include Google My Business, Bing Places, Yelp, Yell, the Yellow Pages, or any other web directory that you are listed on. References or listings to any old brands or companies should be removed to avoid confusion.
Be thorough in this process, and ensure your listings accurately portray your new brand. Not only does this benefit your brand image, but it’s also crucial to maintaining the local SEO performance of your company.
Next up will be your social media accounts. Any existing accounts should be combined and updated with the new company name, logo, and any assets. You should focus first on the main social platforms – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter – and make a formal announcement to your audience about the merger and the new company vision.
You should also share your new website and update the link on those accounts, so your customers can see for themselves the updates to your brand.
4. Have A Strong Customer Communications Strategy
It is really important to communicate with your customers and stakeholders every step of the way, so they have a good understanding of the role each brand will play in the merger.
No matter how many times you send out an update, you’ll still have those people who didn’t get the message. Avoid the confusion and the customer service calls by ensuring you have a well-planned communications strategy, starting with the formal announcement.
It should share all the exciting changes coming to your company, and anything that could affect your customers, such as increased efficiencies, new products, new features, added locations, and more.
5. Wrap Up Loose Ends
Now that you’ve got your visual identity and communications strategy in place, it’s time to wrap up any loose ends, such as broken links.
You may or may not have heard of link building and backlinks. When another site links to yours, search engines use this as a signal of trust and credibility, and in turn, your website is more favoured for ranking. When your old website was migrated to your new one, any backlinks you had to that site will have been lost.
You should prioritise your most linked-to content, find out which publications are linking to them, and contact their websites to inform them of the new URL. You may not hear back from all of them, but the effort is worth it for preserving your SEO.
Our website migration services assist with backlink updates as standard.
Check out our blog to learn more about link building and its importance.
How can Tecmark help?
If your brand is going through a merger or acquisition, this digital marketing checklist should help you keep your head above water. For expert help with SEO, website migrations, link building, and more get in touch to see how we can help.