Bloomberg News “As chief executive officer of Unilever, Paul Polman transformed the sprawling maker of Dove soap, Knorr stock cubes, Cif cleaning sprays, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise into a test bed for the idea that companies can benefit from affiliation with social causes, such as improved hygiene or better access to toilets. While investors and analysts were initially skeptical, Polman was ultimately lauded for redefining the corporation as something more benign than a purely profit-driven enterprise, even as margins edged up slightly from the midteens to almost 20% during his tenure. Now, Alan Jope, the Scotsman who succeeded Polman in January, is amping up the strategy. Article here.
Read more with Yahoo Financial.
From Yahoo Financial:
Dean Crutchfield, a New York-based branding specialist, struck an even more dire tone than Kerris.
“The first thing they have to recognize is that brands, like people, get sick,” Crutchfield explained. “Uber needs to admit it’s slightly broken. This was a cool, game-changing brand, and now it’s an arrogant behemoth. It sort of lost itself in its success. One has to respect customer and driver’s emotions, and I think they’ve forgotten about that. It’s a problem not just of their business, it’s a problem of the leadership. That leadership reflects poorly on the brand.”
Crutchfield pointed to United Airlines’ (UAL) recent controversy, in which a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight. United CEO Oscar Munoz exacerbated the public backlash by initially blaming the passenger for the brouhaha. United subsequently issued several apologies and promised a sweeping review of policies, particularly around crew behavior and passenger incentives.
“[T]here was a real arrogance where the CEO did not recognize their weaknesses and faults,” Crutchfield said.
Uber, for its part, knows it has a serious problem on its hands. Kalanick told employees in March he planned on hiring a COO “who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey.” Uber board member Arianna Huffington, meanwhile, is helping lead an “urgent” investigation into one engineer’s sexual harassment claims against the company.
But while that’s certainly a start, it’s clear company-wide changes to Uber must go far deeper. Full article.
Twitter Inc.’s disappointing fourth quarter and confusing comments by its executives about increased usage further confirmed its user growth has stalled, putting the company at the center of takeover chatter again.
What’s the Point? The overriding problem with the vast majority of M&As – even after thousands have been made – are that most M&As fail, by 50%, 65%, 73.374%…..whatever number it’s not a good batting average and it adds up to trillions of dollars in lost value. Yet the reasons for their failure are many, disastrously obvious and surprisingly easy to avoid.
The purpose of paper is to stimulate your thinking about the issues. Demonstrate how brand based transformation can drive top line growth & internal integration. Explore possibilities to ensure M&A success. Finally illustrate how the strengths of The Dean Crutchfield Company helps you achieve growth by tailoring brand-led techniques that are uniquely participant centered to guarantee results. Whether it’s a merger that requires a believable strategy that can translate across the business, or better internal understanding, encouragement, winning new mandates, ambition planning or a better communications platform, you will find our fee in your success within weeks.
Secondly, post deal communication is not handled well. This is often caused by the differences between the heady aspirations of the deal team on Friday afternoon and the fact there’s still business to be done on Monday morning.
The soft side is the most neglected as it’s ignorantly believed by so many not to be that vital in the deal making process and consequentally management find out to much to their chagrin that culture, problems of retaining key personnel and cross state M&As clashes as a result of pay conditions, pensions, become rife.
Remember – there are no mergers of equals. The obvious truth is that management’s in a hurry to grow and complete integration is necessary to typically:
- Cut costs
- Combine back office systems
- Release synergies
- Merge sales forces
- Blend product lines, etc.
In these scenarios the enterprise that has the strongest culture & practice will dominate! It’s as simple as that and obvious examples like Coca-Cola, GE, IBM, Google reign supreme.
There are two determinates of value creation. The first is how tight the ship is run and typically the successful ‘acquirer’ are those with a history of cost control and productivity. In this scenario the ‘acquirers’ culture will be the more successful in directing and getting the most out of the deal. The second is the closeness of relationships inside and outside the business. In M&A, soft is hard and the closeness of relationships with employees, customers, suppliers, partners is crucial. The business that has the deepest rules wins and the challenge is to embed the benefits of their
knowledge/approach. Brand architecture plays a huge role here: is it to be logos, labels, layers and lawyers or worlds shared by employees and customers?
1. Tough keeping business performing when everyone’s attention and concerns are projected on outcomes and the potential fall out at a personal and professional level whilst managing the acquisition.
2. Not addressing victor & vanquished attitudes. It’s surprising to learn that most companies end up spenting most of their energy on the vanquished. A natural reaction given the anguish that the process causes on scared employees.
3. Loss of momentum caused by the attention on the M&A and the fiefdoms mindful to button down the hatches
4. Leadership struggles (diverting/devisive). From the tea lady up, who is going to be the boss? These traumatic struggles are not just happening in unknown corporations. They have been made famous in major corporations like Gary Wendt and his abrupt departure from GE.
5. Inability of managers to lead the people through the transition. To be a leader you need to know how to follow, but if the guardrails aren’t there, you find your self staggering in the wrong direction. An email ain’t going to cut it. How can you leverage and orchestrate knowledge inside and across the business?
6. Do as I say, not as I do is a key part of the aforementioned. A lack of role models leads to confusion, distraction and poor performance and a lot of resumes spinning around!
7. Internal opposition to new ways of working is an obvious hurdle and there is no magic wand. That said, the more inclusive the communications can be on what’s the strategy and how it’s going to unveil itself over the coming weeks/months is critical. At these early stages it is recommended to create an interim brand for the integration that can act as a rallying cry.
8. Resistance to the new structure. Small company or large, any M&A activity attracts resistance from both outside and inside the company. New structure often means big changes at the senior management level.
9. Not engaging the workforce, fear of job losses. This is when the need to have senior contact program running across the enterprise is called for; identifying people in the merged busineses that need to share information in the hope you can build some bridges and discover new opportunities for the merged entity.
10. Not addressing conflict and culture issues. This is about separating appetites from the real requirements of what needs to be done and being clear in your communications how you expect the company to behave. That’s just the internal needs.
1. Market share does not grow.
2. Confused brand identity. Working with GE’s Masterbrand architecture we found over 11000names, brands, products, services and entities that encompassed it’s 12 divisions with a brand architecture that was up to 25 layers deep in some of its businesses – some you didn’t know were GE! That’s a lot of money being spent maintaining things that shouldn’t be. Time for open heart surgery and there will be a scar.
3. Publicized promise is difficult to match on the inside. At the turn of the century Coca-Cola realized it was speaking with two mouths. One to its analysts about the huge 20% savings it was looking to make in operational efficiency and staff reduction whilst simultaneously, HR was communicating to staff how important they were.
4. Regulators (can) both hinder and help process. Do we want two banks, two airlines, etc? No, so regulation is good. Then there’s the other side where regulation is an imbroglio.
5. Existing customers/suppliers no longer remain loyal. Druckers ‘Force 5’ explains this conundrum as rivalry dominates conversations, the power of customers in the category, suppliers, new entrants
6. Shareholders doubt acquisition strategy: shareholder return is an action not a strategy.
7. How do you manage the absorption of the acquired brand(s) with its own values – operationally and culturally into one ‘family’?….or not? And if so, how should you manage it?
8. What is the best transition strategy and how are both brand’s affinity and performance being calculated, e.g., how do you absorb the acquired business/brand into your house style? And if so, how should you manage it? Do you permit the business to keep its name under a new holding company ‘group’ concept?
9. Do you manage the M&A as a transitional process, with an initial focus on product marketing and brand rationalization?
10. Do you communicate other dimensions to the added value of the deal beyond simply increasing size, scope and resources?
A Profitable Capital Management Program: Internal
1. Do not over reassure internal audiences by saying there will not be significant changes
2. Ensure regular and frequent communication using both face to face methods (for effectiveness) and digital methods (for timeliness)
3. Focus on survivors not on leavers
4. Do not pretend it is business as usual
5. Explain the business rational for the transaction (and repeat)
6. Do not approach integration as a phase, but as an on-going process
7. Be clear about the future and create a sense of direction (and brand it)
8. Do not be afraid to state that you do not have all the answers
9. Manage external and internal communications together
10. Have a communication (and integration) plan in place before signing the deal, which includes:
- Audiences (including unions and work councils)
- Key messages
- Activities and materials
- Approvals process
However, Transformation does not occur simply through somebody in a suit standing up announcing it. There must be a vision. Moreover, it has to amount to more than a few well chosen words. Here’s a check list that will assure you a more effective program:
- Contact program between management
- Key messages – internal and external
- External consultants – who, why and what
- Interim communication branding
- Integration tools
- Integration of communication terms
- Identify new vision, mission and culture
- Plan identity and communication strategy
- Reporting news – internally and externally
- Communication needs for transformation
- Process for feedback
In summary, energy and focus should be placed in 5 key areas:
- Announcements and pre completion
- Early post completion
Answering “why should I care?” for the CMO immediately changes the strategy of the approach and the interaction with them. CMOs are drowning in a myriad of media channels from direct to social, with platitudes of business models, ecommerce processes and a quarter to deliver – along with a connected public that can slam out opinions about their brand at any time. The CMOs charge is to build revenue and relevance, but this new normal in marketing brings with it distracting challenges:
- The explosion of touch points is resulting in a lack of control
- Standing out is harder as consumers take more charge and push back
- New, rapid global competition
- Grappling with social media globally with localized interaction
- Clarity on roles and responsibilities with the internal focus on business issues
- Demonstrating the value of procurement, brands and current marketing
CMOs buy ideas to make a gain or avoid a loss. To stand out a business needs to deliver its best case and the winning face that will solve a huge problem for the CMO by answering, “Why should I care?” The key is to make the CMO relevant by piloting the proposed solution with their funded initiatives and demonstrably reveal more value to their business faster. By connecting the CMO to revenue, convincingly showing her what problem you solve and how the investment will move the needle north, an invitation to answer their tough questions will be forthcoming:
- How will you help me demonstrate a strong ROI on integrated marketing?
- Does our ‘story’ and content strategy enhance the customer experience?
- When can we better optimize the purchase pathway and our customer data?
- Where can we get the biggest bang with our social and earned media?
- Are you able to help me balance creative with analytics?
- Can I trust you with my business and marketing strategies?
The old ‘sales funnel’ model where we (consumers) hold a large number of brand options and narrow our choices to an eventual decision aided by advertising has been deracinated. Repetition of old marketing strategies has caused the ouster of many a CMO as has throwing up new brand campaigns bereft of any notion of what the empirical measurement is for effective.
Therefore, what makes the offer different that can deliver ROI? CMOs admire it when there is adherence to their current strategy and how the proposition moves it forward. Ideas might be the currency of marketing, but to spray them without tying them to organizational goals will lose the CMO no matter if its technology or marketing. Pitching tons of ideas that are disconnected to their strategy is akin to saying one has no ideas at all: strategy is more about what you’re not going to do and how that connects to the business goals of their organization.
To get inside the CMO’s head, think like an investor and investors have one thing on their minds: ROI. For CMOs, their investment is the time, energy and resources they place in the hands of their ‘partner’ firms and their ideas. To win over the CMO, the idea needs to generate and show a return, provide data and enable you to ask how you can help them? Rarely are CMOs actually offered! How can the solution make the CMO’s life easier? Demonstrate it contributes to her inventory of alternatives and already her job has been made easier.
Anecdotal success measurement, however, can quickly turn off a CMO – marketing is not all about telling a great story – it’s about
telling a story that moves the needle: if you don’t know how to measure it quantifiably, resist the temptation. CMOs pilot new ideas constantly, but they need a valid and relevant way to measure the success of those ideas. CMOs generally do not desire to replicate the competition they demand you to know their customer. It’s easy searching what other people are up to, but the secret sauce is knowing the right questions, the ones that lead to unearthing the pain points and needs of their organization and customers, and then tailoring targeted solutions.
More than ever CMOs are vested in making the quarter and are primarily interested in the business outcomes of using services. Consequently sales discussions must focus on business drivers. For example, a true innovation needs a business model – preferably one that’s able to link to their business model i.e., know how they make their money! Products, services, and solutions must be linked to business benefits using the metrics the CMO cares about: footfall, ARPU, retention, online conversion, customer acquisition cost, lead generation efficiency, etc. To accomplish “Why should I care?” it’s critical to connect the offer directly to revenue and specifically show the CMO how the product will further aid her to prove marketing’s value – demonstrably and empirically – to the CEO.
Joined CNBCs Power Lunch for Apple’s annual conference. I didn’t think it was that “big”. We discussed why Apple has an obligation to innovate and needs the next big thing to stay relevant. Why, because it’s Apple. That’s their brand. They have a responsibly to be that and to do that. So this raises the question is Apple still sexy, where’s the wow and is the right man at the helm? Steve Jobs was a genius who had a very strong vision while Tim Cook is an operations man and I think at the moment it’s a little unclear.” Here’s the segment: http://snip.ly/srif6
We see the “right” direction you’re going in, but where does it lead and does it work? Thoughts with Alan Rappeport, April 14th, 2015. The New York Times:
This is far too simple a solution to holt the extinction of wild life – and surely this must be happening already?
Gates and Buffet have the 21st Century wrapped when it comes to power, money, fame, and world respect (and memory) of CEOs and billionaires. Therefore, apart from the spectacular lifestyles, sponsoring philanthropy and the arts, the remaining 398 Forbes billionaires will be forgotten and/or will have nothing in comparison to the legacy that Gates and Buffet have secured themselves.
When you’ve reached the .001% there’s a way that you can be remembered forever. Animals. It’s like a modern day version of Noah’s Ark and for a similar cause. Could Larry Ellison donate $1bn and save the “Ellison” Tigers, or the Koch Lions. The list is enormous and affords the donor (enforced in the sponsorship) incredible publicity and endearment for many years – if we can keep the animals from extinction – not the donor sadly.