Strategic communication is essential for M&A success
Communication appropriate to the target audience is crucial for the success of M&A transactions. A strategy must be developed as a basis for all communication measures. In practice, however, strategic communication in mergers and acquisitions often comes off badly. The most intensive need for improvement is in developing an explicit M&A communication strategy along with target audiences for tailored communication measures. We clarify the role of M&A communication for involved parties and are available during the M&A process as a competent communication consultant.
Various stakeholder groups in companies involved often have conflicting interests during an acquisition process. Latent conflicts, for instance in job security, become public in many transactions. This results in a high degree of individual concern, which can lead to an emotionally charged and unsophisticated debate. A rational view of the advantages and disadvantages of a transaction can slip from view.
It is impossible for many stakeholders to form their own, fact-based judgment on the transaction. Gathering information is shaped by rumors, emotions and emotionally exacerbated rivalries. What is required is an adequate measure between the integration and reference group-oriented differentiation of communication. This provides a basis for suitable measures to be developed which are then coordinated in terms of time, form and content.
Basic structure of M&A communication
The communication phases within a company takeover are geared towards the entire project process, where M&A communication is an indispensable guide for a smooth transition of phases.
Basic tasks such as preparing the communication strategy are part of the planning and preparation phase. This, in turn, is based on the preliminary scenario and stakeholder analyses and describes the strategic, organizational, content and instrumental design of measures. Among the most important steps at this stage are developing an M&A story, creating a Q&A catalog and formulating language rules.
The primary task of corporate communication in this phase is to collect transaction details and prepare it to be passed on to target audiences. To best retain opinion, professional communication should prevent speculation or at least be prepared for it, when transferring strategic information to the public in a quick and targeted way. In most cases, M&A deals have substantial organizational, cultural, human and financial consequences.
In the announcement phase of the transaction as well as for the enforcement notification, ad hoc publicity is obligatory for listed companies. The company management should use a transaction’s implementation report above all to express confidence and build trust. Language rules have to be developed precisely for the phase between the transaction announcement and the enforcement notification. These language rules, which we will also present as part of a workshop, can be used by those bodieswithin the companythat are facing requests from media or other stakeholders.
The enforcement notification means the work of communication officers is by no means finished. In the post-merger phase, it is necessary to mediate between company management and employees or customers and business partners.