The Power of PR in M&A

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.” Seth Godin – American author, entrepreneur and marketer.

The above quote summarises a significant change in how consumers and businesses procure goods and services. It is no longer all about price and quality; instead, it’s about something much more difficult to identify – the story that brings the inert, all-encompassing feeling with the purchase of a product or service.

Take the craft beer revolution as an example. Carlsberg Export 4x440ml retails for around £4.00, BrewDog Punk IPA 4X330ml retails for £6.00. This year Carlsberg announced a 4% sales slump in a market that, as a whole, dipped 2% in size last year. In contrast, BrewDog reported that sales were up 130%, with turnover growing 52%. The independently-owned BrewDog’s marketing budget will no doubt be dwarfed by that of Carlsberg Group, but the BrewDog brand has been boosted in recent years through sustained media and marketing exposure, riding the increased popularity of craft beer in the UK. BrewDog’s outperformance of other new craft competitors may, in part, be attributable to its identifiable brand. We only have to look at Steve Jobs’ Apple revolution to show that consumers are buying the brand as much as the product.

This value of branding also applies to those looking to purchase a business. It is worth remembering the old adage – “you have PR, whether you like it or not”. By taking steps to manage the message around your business, you can ensure that potential threats to it are anticipated, giving you greater control over perception of your business – a key variable likely to affect the sale of business.

Before

Considering the PR implications associated with selling a business is best done before you make the decision that a sale is right for you. Ensuring your profile and reputation match the strength of your products and services is vital. To this end, simple messages communicated throughout your business, including references to future growth, succession, planning and young talent progressing through the business, can be very effective.

During

Once the sale process has begun, there are a range of potential risks surrounding the deal and the PR associated with your business. First and foremost, PR objectives must work within the constraints of a deal, particularly with regard to legal accountability and the ability to disclose particular information.

Fortunately, it is likely that there will be little conflict between PR and legal concerns, precisely because the message you wish to communicate will not be focused on the deal, but rather the important characteristics of your business.

Equally, the importance of internal communication should not be underestimated. The process of a deal may be particularly sensitive for a business, so those looking to sell should make sure that any communication strategy reflects this aspect of PR. Often, the most important thing is to emphasise the “business-as-usual” situation, which will reassure current employees.

After

A successful sale or exit through M&A is a cause for celebration, so a PR strategy dealing with the positive outlook for the business post-completion should be in place. If specific targets are set following the exit, such as meeting particular metrics in key performance indicators (KPIs), driving a consistent PR message will help support the commercial objectives of the business.

With representation throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia, Benchmark International can connect you with the right opportunity. To find out more, visit http://www.benchmarkcorporate.com.

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