Don’t Lose Brand Equity During an Acquisition
If one of your goals this year is creating more revenue by acquiring or merging with another company you already know that it’s a crucial part of staying relevant in the marketplace. When executed correctly, acquisitions and mergers can create more revenue, accelerate growth and increase profitability. The most challenging part, however, is convincing everyone to get on board. So, how do you make sure your executives, employees, board members and more importantly the customers of the business your buying don’t lose faith? You can start by strengthening your brand and building the right brand structure.
Here are the 3 most common branding structures that drive customer loyalty and are guaranteed to support your business as you grow.
1. A Strong Corporate Brand
In this structure, brand equity is maintained through a powerful corporate brand that extends to multiple product lines and entities. If your company started out small with a makeshift logo, and you are now acquiring new businesses to level up, then now is the time to refine and strengthen your brand. The Apple Logo is one of the most popular examples of strong corporate branding, as every branch of their company comes with the Apple Logo, colors and fonts attached. What are the key components of a strong corporate brand? The first thing you will notice is that the logo is developed by highly skilled professionals that engineer the shapes, so it is immediately recognizable to the consumer.
Marketing campaigns will also be launched to ensure the core values of the company are associated with the new or refined brand. Fonts may be custom developed or individually selected for use in-house and on the web to ensure all the branding collateral from the business cards to billboards, and Social Media to Television Ads looks the same to the consumer. During the brand development process, the branding agency will also identify a specific color or group of colors — usually identified by a PMS or hex number for matching purposes — that reflects the company’s core values. Finally, a brand guidebook is developed and distributed to each subsidiary or branch that provides specific direction as to how the logo is intended to be used in different formats (vertical vs. horizontal, white background vs. black background). The guidebook will also include the PMS #s for print, and hex #s for web, Font names and weights will also be listed to ensure all the advertising text looks the same. Corporate branding is the solution for companies who have an excellent reputation and are looking to command greater customer loyalty or capture a larger segment of the market through product line, service offering or geographical expansion.
2. An Endorsed or Sub-Brand
In an endorsed or sub-branded structure, the logo of the parent brand is utilized more like a seal of approval. You’ll notice it is always present, but the design of the parent brand commands much less attention than the first structure and allows the branding of the product to be the most visible. Therefore, the branding of a sub-branded or endorsed product will have its own colors, fonts, and logo. However, the parent company’s logo will be close by, usually appearing in a neutral color and/or off to the side. An endorsed, or sub-branded structure is often used for product lines that aim to capture a specific demand in the marketplace, and also tend to target a specific audience or market segment. Rather than pushing a product to maintain individual brand equity, sub-brands are launched separately, which allows them to dissolve or evolve as the market changes. Sub-branding is an excellent solution for companies who do business in rapidly changing markets whose goal is to leverage their good reputation and existing brand equity to promote a new product or service to a specific target audience.
3. Individual Product Brands
In this structure, the individual product brands must stand on their own without any visible assistance from their parent company. If you have just purchased a company that has a great reputation but their brand is weak or unprofessional, now is a good time to consider refining or strengthening their brand. Note: To further improve your relationship with your expanded consumer base, and to avoid backlash experienced by companies like Google and Olive Garden, many companies are turning to social media which allows interested parties to voice their opinions and even help make design decisions before the final logo is chosen. To create a strong individual product brand structure, you’re going to want to make sure it is strong enough to create a connection with the customer. Some key components are an immediately recognizable individual product logo, unique fonts, and colors that reflect the feeling of the product and appeal to the product’s target audience. On products that have been successfully individually branded, like the Dove soap brand, the logo of the parent company (Unilever in this case) is printed in tiny lettering on the back of the product label. The emphasis is on creating a strong individual product brand while the parent brand is pushed into the background. This is an excellent solution for companies who are looking to maintain a relationship with customers after purchasing a well-known business with a great reputation. It is also an excellent solution for companies who purchase a wide variety of businesses where it becomes difficult for the parent company to visually represent such a wide range of products or appeal visually to a wide range of consumers.
If you’re ready to start building your brand equity or need further assistance deciding which branding strategy will work best for you contact us. Intelativity is a Highly motivated branding agency that specializes in developing individualized creative solutions to achieve protein packed customer loyalty. By applying design thinking and expert art direction, intelativity creates high-impact visual communication (i.e. websites, print collateral, corporate branding) to build the fan base you deserve.