The 5 A’s of M&A Communications
23. Juli 2015
While no two deals are the same, the communications plan that helps support – if not propel – the transaction before, during and after it closes share the following traits:
AWARENESS – Despite everyone’s best efforts to maintain confidentiality, leaks about the proposed deal are all-but-inevitable. Therefore, it is critical that communications elevate its efforts in monitoring social media chatter and marketplace speculations, filtering salesforce intelligence and analyzing stock trading activity to ensure the company is not caught off-guard if/when the deal springs a leak.
ANTICIPATION – M&A activity creates significant uncertainty, both internally and externally. To help lead stakeholders forward, well-designed communications plans anticipate the areas of likely concern and confusion so that management can proactively address these items before misinformation or rumor gain value-damaging momentum.
AUDIENCE SEGMENTATION – Transactions come with a wide range of vested interests. Careful segmentation of this soon-to-be-expanded audience – from new employees to legacy customers and suppliers to post-close investor targets, among many others – enables the company to engage its disparate audience in an effective and efficient manner.
AUTHENTICITY – In order to build the requisite level of trust necessary to capture the full potential of a business combination, companies must be consistently authentic in their words and actions. It’s okay not to have all the answers on “Day One” so long as your answers ring true when you do have them and you keep them up to date in a timely manner.
ADVOCATE – In many ways, companies are asking all stakeholders to take a leap of faith when engaging in M&A activity. Therefore, it is critical to not only communicate the facts of the transaction but to champion the long-term, strategic merits of the transaction (well within the lines of SEC compliance, of course). People are generally more likely to embrace the unknown when they understand why they are being asked to do so and how they will be impacted by the outcome.
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