June 13, 2014

Private equity firms should add brand implementation experts to their strategic partner list

Private equity firms want a high return on investment, which often requires bringing in outside experts during the due diligence, acquisition and integration stages. Speed is of the essence during M&A activity, whether it be to keep customers happy or to meet regulatory deadlines. How do private equity firms remain nimble? By focusing on core competencies and outsourcing noncore activities, like bringing in accounting firms to handle financial issues.

So where do private equity firms go for brand management expertise? Sadly, that area is often overlooked, hurting the bottom line. While the company being acquired might have high brand equity, who within the company manages the brand? Does anyone actually know where all the branded touchpoints are? Is it one person, a department, or are there branded assets scattered around the country with no one keeping track of them?

A key component to brand management as it relates to M&A activity is brand implementation. While brand development firms are fairly common, brand implementation firms are rare. Brand implementation experts don’t create brand identities or strategies, but get down in the trenches to make sure brand identities are put on signs, vehicles, buildings, uniforms…whatever the company needs.

Here are 4 reasons why brand implementation experts should be added to a private equity firm’s cadre of strategic partners:

1. Execution: If the private equity firm decides to change the corporate identity of the company it acquires, employees may lack experience rolling out new brands. They may also lack motivation if their job is being eliminated.

2. Speed: To realize their ROI ASAP (why waste time writing out “return on investment as soon as possible”), private equity firms want to work with partners with specific skill sets. The right brand implementation firm uses quantitative methods for planning and specialized technology to execute brand rollouts quickly, precisely and under budget.

3. Reputation: Upgrading the brand management efforts of a portfolio company can send a signal to the market that the private equity firm is focused on long-term growth. Brand implementation firms help leverage all branded touchpoints to spread the word, through new corporate identities or taglines, then quantify impressions generated by the branded touchpoints.

4. Complexity: Private equity firms that specialize in certain industries can end up with complicated brand architecture, which adds a new level of complexity to brand management. Brand implementation firms can combine detailed brand standards guidelines with sophisticated data collection and analysis, leading to a streamlined method for ordering and maintaining brand-complaint materials on all touchpoints.

If your private equity firm needs brand implementation help right now or wants to brainstorm ways to improve ROI ASAP for your next acquisition, give us a call at 1.888.831.2536.