In spite of COVID-19, healthcare mergers and acquisitions (M&As) continued at a strong pace in 2020. The strategic advisory and investment banking firm Hammond Hanlon Camp LLC reported a year-over-year increase in healthcare M&A transactions from 2019 to 2020.
Healthcare executives predict that strategic partnerships will only continue to increase as a result of the pandemic.
While healthcare organizations have a lot to think about when joining together — like merging technology, policies and personnel — maintaining a consistent brand voice must remain top of mind. After all, it’s your brand voice that distinguishes your organization from others online and helps you stand out from the crowd.
During an M&A, how do you recognize your differences but keep your brand voice consistent?
Best practices to keep a consistent brand voice
M&As don’t happen overnight, and neither should brand work. You’ll want to consider creating both short- and long-term plans that support your immediate needs and move you closer toward your desired future state.
Here are five things you can do during your M&A planning to ensure brand voice consistency isn’t an afterthought.
1. Consider what to combine and what to keep separate
During an M&A, some in your organization may push for a quick merger of logos and language. Brand strategy, design and experience firm Siegel + Gale cautions against just slamming two brands together.
Many M&As bring together similar organizations and create the need for a combined identity and brand voice approach. But some M&As combine two distinct services that are better served by maintaining separate identities and personas.
It’s important that you first consider whether your M&A creates the need for an entirely new brand message. If you decide a unified brand is needed, be thoughtful in your approach.
Siegel + Gale says to review each brand carefully to find synergies and determine how each brand creates value.
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2. Build a solid framework
Once you know what elements of each brand you’ll merge, develop a brand content playbook for all to follow. Be clear about changes to tone and voice. This will help your content creators maintain a consistent brand voice as they develop internal M&A communications as well as consumer-facing content pieces like blogs and social posts.
3. Review your current content
If you are merging two brands, chances are you’re also joining the online presence of two organizations. Take time to audit online content to determine what should stay and what should go. Be sure to update pages and posts to reflect brand voice changes.
Consumers will need to know about and understand how your M&A will impact them, so strategic communication is critical. But consumers aren’t your only audience — and early on, they’re probably not the most important one.
Employees are your best brand ambassadors. Clear M&A communications to employees can help them understand organizational plans, alleviate uncertainty and help them become champions of new brand messages.
Branding and marketing firm Hinge Marketing emphasizes the importance of getting everyone moving in the same direction. The firm suggests communicating with and listening to key internal stakeholders early in the M&A process.
Early involvement, Hinge says, will encourage buy-in and help create representatives within your organization who speak in a unified and consistent brand voice.
5. Take advantage of your fresh start
An M&A can be stressful, but it can also offer a fresh start for organizations already in need of branding updates.
For example, suppose you aren’t already focused on becoming more inclusive in your brand messaging. In that case, an M&A is a great time to review and update your approach.
While their partnership wasn’t new, Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota made inclusivity a focus during their recent rebranding of The Mother Baby Center.
The Mother Baby Center’s updated visual and written communications better reflect the community they serve and their own internal work to create a more inclusive and equitable environment.
While it takes work to ensure a consistent brand voice, the more time you spend early in the process, the better off you’ll be. Keeping brand top of mind throughout a M&A can pay off with improved reputation and growth.
Need help matching your content to your brand voice? WriterGirl can help. Our team of healthcare writers can freshen up existing pieces or create new content that aligns with your brand and strategy. Reach out any time to learn more.