Firm acquisitions are one of the major growth strategies for Financial Advisory firms. In these two posts, we look at how you organise the brands for maximum benefit in such a situation. As a result of the acquisition you want to get as much leverage as possible from the existing brand and reputation, but then you could end up with a significant amount of duplication with two sets of brands to manage or more depending on your acquisition strategy. This is something we are regularly coming across and we are seeing different approaches work.
They are equally effective but are very much tailored to the business. However, it really does depend on the reputation and power of the brand and knowing your clients too. In this first blog, we look at when the acquired brand takes on the identity of the existing brand.
One approach has involved acquiring retiring IFAs to buy their client base. In this approach, the retiring IFA does a handover for a specific period of time with the clients and the new team, so that is more about personalities and sharing qualities. There is typically a brief period where the retiring IFA operates under the new brand and visits all existing clients with the new terms of service and gets them to sign up. In many ways, this is the easiest scenario.
Simply speaking, two separate brands that are absorbed by the dominant brand. The company looking to expand deliberately acquires retiring IFA firms with a small marketing presence as the initial communications of the handover are the key to success. This uses the acquiring companies brand but they haven’t bought the IFA’s reputation or marketing material and as part of the acquisition.
Another similar approach is to buy retiring IFA’s practice in a new geographical location and keep the existing companies name. Additional offices are added in the same location to build up the resources in the location and servicing the existing clients. In terms of the brand, the name is retained but visual elements of the brand are added, which are in keeping with the main brand so there is consistency and there is the appearance of a group brand.
This strategy uses a group approach allowing the use of one brand with a series of offices. The goal with the branding is ultimately to drop the company names and use the overarching logo, which incorporates individual brand names where appropriate. Therefore, two separate names are sharing a brand identity and propositions. This is ideal for building a group brand with the sub brands sharing an identity and is communicated to the customers of the acquired brand.
In the next post, we look at the circumstances when the new brand is used.