Recently we had an interesting argument in the office. It all began with a scoff from one of the ladies. “What’s up?” I asked. “Someone has hyphenated her husband’s name, LOL,” she answered. Then the argument got into one of those mini surveys where you ask any random lady walking into the office whether they would change their name, in essence their identity, when they get married. It turns out that it is not so popular to change their names. In fact, in our biased sample, no one wanted to change their name. Would you?
This got me thinking of mergers and acquisitions and the branding that takes place thereafter. I would surmise the ladies view the hyphenation more of a merger and name change more of an acquisition.
A good example would be the recent acquisition of Giro Bank by i&M Bank. As soon as the process was complete, all the branches were given i&M’s existing brand identity. This of course comes with its advantage of making i&M a stronger brand. This is often a good growth strategy especially in a market that is hard to penetrate. I don’t know if the ladies would agree to such a strategy – unlikely.
A merger is more of a game of equals. Mergers normally involve players in the same industry coming together whether up or down the supply chain or across the same space. The new merger could take up an entirely new brand identity which would take time to pick up. In other instances, the brands simply combine their identities in this case hyphenation. While there’s no hyphen in KenolKobil, it is a good example of a horizontal merger i.e. brands pursuing growth in the same industry by combining resources.
Inasmuch as the ladies in our survey did not want to change their names, one fact remains, your new-found merger represents a combination of resources. Resources that must be put together to ensure growth of the new brand!