Read more with Yahoo Financial.
Read more with Yahoo Financial.
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:
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:
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:
In summary, energy and focus should be placed in 5 key areas:
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” said FDR. Fear is conquered by hope, but when all sense of hope dissipates like it did with the carnage in Newtown, fear can only be conquered by changing law. A law that focuses on sensible gun control while admiring the power of the constitution and the second amendment.
All the laws imaginable could not have foiled Adam Lanza’s plot. They might have limited the horror if only a pistol was available in the house, but how many pistols might there have been?
To live is to lose ground and each day we hang around waiting for a change, more than 12,500 people are shot to death a year die in this great nation. The nearest country to that number has under 2000 gun deaths!
To lead by example is the next President’s opportunity. Leadership is not about making friends. Do something now and enjoy the fruits of the nations heartfelt admiration. Newtown unified the American people and makes way for bipartisanship even as we face the biggest impact America could get from its next commander in chief.
Hope trounces fear. Now more than ever we need a rallying cry of ‘Hope’.
For many large brands item number two or three listed on the company’s Capex sheet says ‘Media’. Therefore, CMOs are constantly battling an imbroglio to demonstrably prove that marketing is an investment not a cost. Given the CMO’s charge is to build revenue and relevance, added value must be demonstrated beyond ROI and for this new normal in marketing there are new rules of engagement:
1. Answer the CMOs silent question, ‘Can I trust you with my business and marketing strategies?’ because succeeding target is not the only goal and pre determined goals undermine future success. However, that said, more than ever CMOs are vested in making the quarter and are primarily interested in the business outcomes of using services. Integrated marketing brings with it distracting challenges and by connecting the CMO to revenue, convincingly showing how the investment will move the needle north, an invitation to sit at the table will be forthcoming. Consequently sales discussions must focus on business drivers and strategy cannot be made from a sound bite nor can a single strategy work across the diversity of the business; simple solutions to complex problems are often simple, straightforward and wrong.
2. Follow the rules of engagement. How well you play in the sandbox might be a cliché question, but it’s often said that as a client needs more integrated marketing from its agencies, each agency’s competency grows, but their passion recedes. CMOs know they can create different vantage points for their business and achieve amazing results by approaching big marketing challenges as a collection of agencies who possess a willingness to participate and check ‘not invented here’ egos at the door. In the relentless pursuit of growth the simplest answer is to act by partnering with other agencies, client departments and taking a seat at the table, able to inform the CMO about their brand’s future.
3. Do not assume the brand idea is the agency’s, undertake half-baked efforts or simply not care enough about the bigger picture and all involved is a recipe for disaster. CMOs are determined, to the point, efficient, precise, careful, reserved and logical and need to be convinced because they’re highly suspicious of generalities – even the noblest of ideas sometimes do less for them than a siesta or an Advil. Therefore, in the world of creating and sustaining stories, clarity and a shift in thinking that recognizes the difference between truth and fiction is that the fiction has to make sense.
4. Much a do about nothing: the difference between expecting and inspecting lies in the execution. Therefore, avoid ocean boiling and conjuring up strategies out of sound bites; agencies need to create, fashion, execute or construct according to a plan that reflects the CMOs needs, e.g., shareholder value is a result not a strategy.
5. Failure to edit work. The CMO is vested in making the quarter so there’s constrained bandwidth for actionable insights that can move the needle north. The success of contrarian marketing strategies might require CMOs to table prevailing marketing theories and embrace experimentation, but it’s about short-term performance for the client not long form presentations by the agency. IQ is one thing – emotional conviction that comes from experience is another far more powerful and rapid component. To be erudite it’s best agencies apply Rudyard Kipling’s five honest men: who, what, why, where, when and then show the CMO ‘how’ it can be done.
6. Presenting other people’s work. An idea is as real as a bullet and great artists are famous for stealing ideas and extracting something unique – adaptive strategies are what’s called for, but making assumptions about a specific program’s success and the agency’s ‘role’ in its accomplishment is a mistake that can get a firm shot down.
7. Lack of follow up and a slow response like some species of corporate bureaucrat causes a morass. The more an agency wants to achieve the more it achieves. Agencies can find win-win solutions – but a majority of the time, they’re just arranging the budget, time, people levers around to accomplish strategic objectives. Therefore, viability and accountability are critical and prospective proposal writing by the agency is more an attitude than a skill. One consulting firm reported increasing their fee business with P&G by 50% solely by listening
to clients and proactively making suggestions.
8. Attacking a competitor. Agencies must avoid vituperative attacks on a competitor; it’s unoriginal and a somewhat sleazy course of conduct. For a CMO and his team it can feel like shoveling up road kill and leaves a bad taste. Agencies would do themselves a favor if they heeded, Machiavelli, the rapacious Fourteenth Century prince’s advice to deliver good news oneself and bad news through others.
9. Taking advantage of the CMO. Whether it’s bulldozing the CMO to make decisions in the agencies favor through to agency partners ganging up to twist the arm of an approach, many CMOs feel they’re paying too much. Therefore, once vaunted high switch out costs are no longer an agency advantage holding onto the client, as clients now view that as an opportunity to streamline efficiencies. Ultimately CMOs buy ideas to make a gain or avoid a loss so ‘Why should I care?’ is the client’s (real) question that agencies should be asking themselves before the big reveal.
10. Team Chemistry. For the elegant exchange of value in the client relationship fielding the right team is critical. CMOs sit through countless meetings with (supposedly) ‘the smartest team’ in the room, so the best approach for the agency is to work for applause with the team that’s going to do the work. The CMO needs to know there’s good chemistry as they have to spend much of their time with their agency partners – developing roadmaps, writing requirements and business plans, supporting sales and marketing, interacting with partner agencies – all depends on good chemistry. The better the agency is at knowing and communicating what needs to be done and why, the more they will add value and excel in front of the CMO.
At the end of the day, CMOs want actionable advice on growing their business that secures their role. Across the brandscape, CMOs are focused on generating organic growth and achieving innovation. These two are the key drivers for business growth going forward in 2013. Therefore, belief, optimism, courage and preparation might rule the day, but in this new normal in marketing, when it comes to building revenue and relevance agencies should remember what they say in the military, ‘amateurs focus on strategy while professionals focus on logistics.’
Marketing as a business and cultural force has been transformed. Whether it’s PR, advertising, branding, digital, CRM and social the world of earned, paid, shared and owned media is going to through a seismic shift that will impact the marketing:
1. New Revenue Models Generating Value.
Business models for digital content distribution are changing, with licensing and service-based delivery models replacing traditional sales-based distribution. Globalization, societal changes, explosion of platforms and channels, the end of spin and digital versus social is driving the need for change also. To optimize this need for value creation agencies need to create value and new revenue models by being promoters of change; whether TV, online or mobile.
2. Multiple Channels.
From cars to clothes digital media is exploding. Consumers consume more media, from more sources, and in a greater range of formats than we imagined — news websites, movie-streaming services, mobile apps, ebooks, live-streaming video, on-demand TV, podcasts, video-sharing services, audiobooks, news aggregators, blogs, social networks, music subscriptions and a plethora of formats yet to be invented. This means that managing and protecting brand reputation is becoming ever more complex with the expansion in how people receive information.
With the new buyer behavior that spans consideration, evaluation, purchase, use, enjoy, recommend and either bond or go back to consideration – marketing providers need to develop its skills to a whole new level to exploit the huge shift in post-sale behavior. Therefore, encouraging customers to interact, manipulate, and engage with the product by proactively taking part in sharing the brand is the holy grail. This along with the ubiquity of smart devices and the rise of social and digital marketing makes it easier to measure.
4. Changing Structure Of In-house Departments.
Businesses are constantly growing in their sophistication and hiring in-house more talent that can engage all levels of the marketing mix. This trend will require agencies to understand the new value exchange with their client and mirror these changes. The key for agencies is understanding what clients want and the need to review new structures to engage with the client, including strategy and creativity. Ultimately being better sparing partners to CMOs who are building complex in-house teams.
5. New Revenue Streams.
What is the future of marketing and what are the business models that sustain it including social and SEO. How do we create content that generates value/revenue without becoming a commodity amongst millions of free outlets? Can consumers be charged for the content? Which ad formats, techniques and innovations are working — and which are not? Can agencies help clients compete as content creators that generate new revenue?
These combined create new parameters surrounding the execution of marketing campaigns for the client and their agency partners. The first is the need for intelligence for both market knowledge and in the agencies team’s skills. The second variable is engagement which includes new revenue steams such as SEO. Third is how the team is structured to match the client’s needs and the fourth is better ideas and content through collaboration. Get those right and you’ll have an engaged client, a brand controlled audience and the optimization of the client’s marketing and media.