Preparing your brand for acquisition

When we look at repositioning and rebranding projects for our clients, we start by looking from the outside-in, from their customers point of view. And what they need. But not always.

Because increasingly, organisations goals aren’t to just sell more of their products or services to a target audience of end users. They have bigger aspirations. For one big entity, to make one big purchase, and acquire their company.

And they want to ensure their brand is ready.

When we look at repositioning and rebranding projects for our clients, we start by looking from the outside-in, from their customers point of view. And what they need. But not always.

Because increasingly, organisations goals aren’t to just sell more of their products or services to a target audience of end users. They have bigger aspirations. For one big entity, to make one big purchase, and acquire their company.

And they want to ensure their brand is ready.

A record-breaking surge

As Covid restrictions and lockdowns have eased globally, organisations have been trying to navigate their way through the ‘new normal’.

Businesses have been reimagining how they do things and what they offer. And we’ve seen an incredible surge in mergers and acquisitions as organisations join forces or acquire other brands, to better adapt and meet consumers evolving needs.

The third quarter of 2021 has broken all Merger & Acquisition records globally as the pandemic recovery sparked a deal craze worth $1.52 trillion from July to September. (rte.ie) Up 38% and higher than any other quarter on record.

In Ireland, this surge has seen a total of 106 deals recorded in the first half of 2021 alone, at a value of €19.6 billion – more than 8 times that of the previous year. (rte.ie)

An insight from the experts

At TOTEM we recently had the privilege of helping accountancy firm, Fitzgerald Power, with a refresh of their brand and website.

They are the experts when it comes to mergers and acquisitions in the pharmacy space. And have huge experience in supporting SMEs through the acquisition process. We spoke to CEO, Stuart Fitzgerald, on the important role branding and positioning plays. Here’s what he had to say…

Valuing a company for sale, can be as much art as science.

You are looking to identify and unlock intrinsic value – by which I mean the actual value of the company based on a consideration of all underlying factors: tangible and intangible.

The tangible factors are the more obvious elements like stock, machinery, buildings, cash and debt.

Whereas the intangible factors can include things like goodwill, trade secrets, systems & processes, software capabilities, client / customer contracts & order books, networks & relationships. And critically, in many instances, your brand reputation.

There is often a lot of value tied up in brand.

When you have a strong brand, it adds a level of certainty and confidence to future cashflow projections because companies with strong brands tend to be better at growing and retaining their customer base.

But more than that. Your brand is your reputation. It’s impacted by everything you do. Having a strong brand, means your business is running to the best of its ability.

That it has etched out a clear position in the market. That it has a clear identity and consistent messaging. That it has something unique to offer, that makes it stand out from competitors in the mind of consumers.

And all that brand equity can often be what makes you worth buying, over another business. Or over a buyer building the same business themselves from scratch.

How to start preparing your brand for sale

So, how do you go about preparing your brand for sale? What do you need to do to put yourself in the best position to take advantage of this post-covid deal surge?

It’s simple. Or rather, it’s about simplicity.

Even though acquisition is the focus, our branding workshops still look from the outside-in, from a customer’s point of view. We’d look at your positioning in the marketplace and your overall brand personality – refreshing it if necessary.

And apply the same approach as we do to all branding project – of cutting through all the complexity and noise, until there’s clarity. To help you build the strongest reputation you can. And empower your organisation to be the best it can be.

But we look at you through another lens too. From the outside in, from a buyer’s perspective. We facilitate you through a process of examining your brand and unique proposition from these prospects’ points of views. And making sure you’re investing in the right things.

What if they won’t be keeping my brand?

You may know that those looking to acquire your business, are unlikely to keep your name or brand identity.

Your brand will just be consumed into their larger one. And you may rightly ask yourself, is there a point in investing in your brand in that case? Won’t it all go to waste? Not necessarily, for two reasons:

1. Making your brand appeal to a buyer

Investing in your brand may not involve a big B2C marketing campaign, or a refresh of your identity, in these cases. But may critically involve addressing any inconsistencies in your messaging, tackling things that are brand damaging and getting clarity on your ‘why’ and what you uniquely offer. All things that could be key in attracting and closing a deal with the right buyer.

2. Showcasing your business running at its best

When it comes to valuing your business, as Stuart emphasised, you want it to be running at its best. You want strong sales, top staff and good retention – this will have a key impact when a firm, like Fitzgerald Power, is projecting your future cash flows to try and determine a figure for what your worth. Investing in your brand is key to all of that.

Does it feel like just a pipe dream?

You may be reading this and thinking you’d love to be in this space, but right now, it’s just a pipe dream.

But even if your goal to sell out your business is a 10-year, or even a 20-year retirement plan by investing in your brand today, you’ll be getting one step closer.

The stronger you build your reputation, the more you differentiate yourself and carve out a niche in the market and the better you run your business – the more likely a buyer will be knocking on your door down the road.

If you’d like to talk in confidence or book a session with our strategy team to get clarity on where your brand is going, contact our marketing manager Clodagh on +353 58 24832 or email [email protected].