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What’s in a name? The art of rebranding post-M&A

by James Phillipps on Jun 27, 2014 at 11:14

What’s in a name? The art of rebranding post-M&A

The slew of M&A activity over the past two years has seen a number of new brands come to market while several others have been consigned to history.

So how should firms approach the often emotive issue of branding?

For some companies the decision is straightforward. Both Investec Wealth & Investment and Rathbones routinely bring their acquisitions under their own banners, which has seen such long-standing names as Williams de Broë, Rensburg Sheppards and Taylor
Young discarded.

Others have preferred to conjoin the two merged companies’ names in a bid to double up on their recognition in the market.

Quilter Cheviot marketing director Jane Seymour said the combined company decided on this route with both brands being ‘well-known and respected in our target markets’.

‘It made sense from that perspective. Perhaps not uniquely, the decision was not marketing led, but business led. Both parties in the merger were keen to preserve their identities,’ she said.

‘You could say that this was an egotistical decision, but in fact the decision was based on a solid understanding of the importance of brand recognition to our clients, and the reassurance that the merger would cause minimal disruption to the all-important client relationships the investment managers oversee.’

Retail recognition

Tilney Bestinvest took a similar approach, albeit for the reason that Bestinvest has the retail recognition and Tilney the discretionary history. Beneath this, Bestinvest will continue to be the branding on its direct to consumer platform, while the newly badged Tilney For Intermediaries’ will service the IFA market.

‘We were very keen to get the value of both brands,’ said Bestinvest managing director Jason Hollands. ‘We have put both together at the top company level but the emphasis is different in different parts of the market so there is no confusion.’

Hollands is a veteran of corporate activity and has seen a number of different approaches to branding. Friends Ivory & Sime was rebadged as Isis Asset Management after it acquired RSA Investments back in 2002 with the new name later dropped when Isis merged with F&C, where Hollands then worked, in 2004.

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