A successful merger or acquisition (often called M&A – Mergers and Acquisitions) can give great advantages through for example increased power on the market and new products, services and channels. But there is also a risk that existing values are hollowed out. Here the right communication can make a diffference – both before and after the actual merger.
The right communication
There is often a lot of secrecy around a merger or aquisition. At the same time as the affected companies need to be able to get the chance to know everything about each other in a so-called due diligence, no information about the planned merger or aquisition is allowed to leak. There are always a lot of stakeholders to take into account, for example clients, suppliers and employees. Information leaks can lead to rumours being spread and unneccessary worry. All companies can gain something by thinking through and coordinating their information flows.
Think and act strategically
The most important thing to succeed with communication in connection with a merger or a company aquisition is to take an active grip on communication. Firstly you ought to define the general goals with the communication. One goal can be to make the employees feel security after a merger. Another goal can be to attract more clients. Often there are many goals, but it’s important to identify them and make priorities. Next step is to define what target groups can be reached with the communication, for example employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers or union representatives.
Choose the right information channels
To get the information to the different target groups there are a range of channels that can often complement each other. Some examples are broadcasting on the company’s webpage, large meetings and press conferences, social media, business and trade press. If any of the involved companies are a large employer in the town or city it can be a good idea to communicate also in local media. Other factors that contribute to a successful process are having clearly defined messages and spokespeople. Therefore think through what words and expressions that are to characterize the merger or acquisition. Choose and train the people in management who are going to epress themselves, but even external people can be used. For example politicians and union representatives can contribute to giving a positive image of the change.
Think and act with a long-term perspective
A merger or an acquisition is a long-term process and the need of communication is strong for a long time into the future. That’s why you need to define also long-term goals and continue communicating with the chosen target groups. It’s especially important for the company’s employees to know what the new situation means and what is expected of them. All to create a positive spiral that gives power to the new situation, and to avoid a downward spiral where worry is created and energy is used up for the wrong things. The time and work it takes is a very good investment to reach a very good result.
Some easy tips when you are contacted by journalists
- Note down the journalist’s name and contact details, ask what the journalist needs to know
- Buy time, ask to get back to them, always call back
- Who is the right person to be interviewed?
- Define target groups and a number of messages
- Prepare the interview by collecting facts etc.
- Do a mock-interview with a colleague
- Show understanding and empathy
If you would like to know more about how Navigator can help you with your right communication, you are very welcome to get in touch.