One thing we can count on in business is change. Sometimes these are small changes—minor tremors that shift the balance and other times they are seismic shifts like in the case of a company merging with another company or being outright acquired by a company or investment firm. When times are A-Changin’, your PR team can be your best ally in helping to keep the transition smooth with both your internal and external audiences.
First things first
We’ve stressed this before in our blog: Five Ways to Strengthen your PR Relationship, but it bears repeating –the earlier you engage with us on big news the better. We are under NDA. We will not share or leak or do anything that could jeopardise the announcement of your news. We will NOT do this. So please call us as soon as possible and give us as much background and details as you can. While your internal team is working on the FAQ documents, customer communications, etc., we will get to work drafting a press release. Often times nailing the press release messages can be the best way to approach your overall communication strategy. It forces everyone to stop and think about how you want this news conveyed to your public audiences and the words your executives will use to deliver key messages.
Working with the other side
Once we have a solid press release draft, it’s time to begin coordinating with the other company both their marketing and PR teams so that everyone can get on the same page in terms of what messages will be communicated to the media, who will be the spokespeople and how you’ll team up or support each other in press briefings. For example, will both company spokespeople jointly do press interviews or will one company take the lead? We can then create press talking points for the designated spokespeople. It’s important for the PR teams for both sides to be allowed to collaborate on the announcement to ensure there is no double pitching to key media targets and the PR outreach is shared effectively to maximise the PR placements. To ensure a successful outcome (aka positioning this news event positively), it is imperative that competition (and we do appreciate at times we are actually having to cooperate with competitor agencies) and egos do not interfere. There should be a shared feeling of ‘we’re in this together and we all want the best outcome possible.’
Post news announcement
Once the press release has been issued and the day-of press interviews have taken place, it’s time to take stock of how the news is being received with the media, your customers and your internal teams. Your customers and internal employees are your primary audiences following the initial news announcement as they will long-term feel the biggest effects of this change. The worst thing you can do is go dark while you figure out how to bring two companies together or work with a new company overseeing your brand and product direction. Keep announcements you had in queue rolling and be sure to actively update your key media targets with any news.
At TechComms UK, we have extensive expertise helping clients masterfully prepare for and execute successful PR strategies related to mergers and acquisitions. Please contact us to learn more.