May 14, 2014

Acquisition strategy for top global brands

A brand-driven acquisition strategy looks at how buying a brand will make a company stronger. When top global brands are involved, there is an increased focus on leveraging brand equity.

When you’re one of the top global brands, it would be easy to assume the best strategy for the brand is to gobble up lessor known brands, right? Not always. There are a lot of factors that go into an acquisition strategy. Top brands are always looking at the relationships between corporate brands and product brands. In some instances, the corporate brand architecture may call for the corporate brand, business unit and/or product brand to appear together on marketing materials and branded touchpoints.

As I mentioned before, I’m an M&A junkie. I’ve been intrigued by what has been happening with GE, currently #6 on Interbrand’s Top 100 List of Best Global Brands. From what I’ve read, GE has been busy over the last several years acquiring companies to support its healthcare business line. I found 28 sub-brands listed under GE Healthcare Life Sciences on the website. Looking at recent press releases, the acquisition strategy continues with two new acquisitions over the past couple of months, CHCA Computer Systems Inc. and Thermo Fisher’s HyClone businesses.

This type of aggressive acquisition strategy triggers brand management decisions and corresponding brand implementation strategies. For example, how quickly can GE integrate the newly acquired brand into the GE brand architecture? One example of GE’s healthcare brand architecture, which combines the corporate brand with a business brand, is GE Healthcare Centricity.

With such an aggressive acquisition strategy, the level of complexity during the brand implementation process calls for discipline, coordination, and the right resources. Having both financial and human resources in place is key to a fast, effective brand rollout. For most top brands, the right people resources include an internal branding team and outsourced specialists to help the branding team complete brand implementation activities and meet deadlines.

When a corporation’s strategy includes acquisitions, the acquisition strategy must have brand management high on the to-do list. Top brands understand that brand equity can be lost if the acquisition process is mishandled. Regardless of the industry, and whether the company is B2B or B2C, keeping popular brands in front of customers is one part of a corporate acquisition strategy that never changes.