Should you Rebrand Your Acquisition?

Branding your acquisition

A rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet! What’s in a name? Do names matter? In the world of branding, a name may matter more than you think!

Are you thinking about acquiring a competitor or a company with a complementary offering to your own? One of the most difficult decisions is whether to rebrand the company and/or its products.

While there are a no hard-and-fast guidelines, there are some good rules-of-thumb that may help you think through this process

  • Changing their Name to Your Own – When should you fold the new company in under your current name or brand? In general, if your company is larger, with better name recognition, then you should change the name of your acquisition to your own. The exception being if the acquisition is a largely unrelated industry, with few over-lapping customers; in which case you may want to wait a period of time before rebrandingYou must also evaluate the degree of good will the brand has accrued in the market. A popular, well-loved brand may have more value in its name than the value of the customer base.
  • Keeping the name – If the company is larger; has great brand recognition and/or greater brand loyalty or a significant portion of the marketshare you may want to consider keeping their name or possibly combining names (you frequently see this with accounting, attorney and financial services firms.) This can be a good compromise to make newly acquired employees feel welcome and valued.
  • Creating a new name – This works well when two smaller companies merge to become a fairly significant player in a market. This is a good option when you are entering new geographic markets and one or both of the companies have a brand name with a negative connotations.
  • Other considerations – The name may be negotiated as part of the acquisition process, which settles the situation quickly. If you are financing the acquisition, your investors may have a great deal to say about the name. As they say, “Everything is negotiable.” and the name can be contested regardless of what the investor(s) want.

Names can have strong emotional meaning to consumers and employees alike, but getting a company or product name right is critical. If you’re not sure what to do about your next acquisition, let’s talk!