In the last 18 months, there has been significant merger and acquisition activity in the HCM space. That part is not a secret. What might be more of a mystery is why we view merger and acquisition activity in general much differently than an industry analyst or investor would.
In what’s probably a surprise to no one, mergers and acquisitions are rarely done for branding reasons. In the best situations, complementary brands are a happy accident that comes from an acquisition driven by finances, legal wrangling, customer acquisition, or product integration.
For customers and prospects, though, the brands and resulting changes are important. A few issues that come up during the merger and acquisition process that can drive perception changes in the market include:
- Brand misalignment — When two companies with very different brands merge, everyone wonders which one will come out on top. When Sprint merged with Nextel, Sprint was seen as plodding, Nextel as agile.
- Brand baggage — When one company brings some seriously bad brand juju to the table, it can impact the resulting acquisition. If your organization is willing to partner with a company with that bad of a brand, your customers and prospects can question their own perceptions.
- Merger success — A brand can be burnished — or tarnished — by how successful the merger is deemed. When AOL bought Time Warner, the deal ended up stinking for everyone, and it impacted the brand.
Mergers and acquisitions have a huge impact on the resulting brand and make an already volatile situation even more difficult to manage.