HEALTHCARE M&A BACKGROUND
The healthcare M&A train (led by health systems) isn’t slowing any time soon. But if history is a guide, the majority of these corporate branding initiatives won’t achieve their expected outcomes. According to research led by Harvard University’s Clayton Christensen, up to 90% of M&As fail to live up to their planned potential. After working for many years with health system and hospital leadership teams throughout the country on healthcare M&A’s and related healthcare branding initiatives, we know how to navigate the process, mitigate the pitfalls and grow brand value through proper integration planning and execution. Here below are eight tips for maximizing a healthcare M&A corporate brand:
EIGHT TIPS FOR HEALTHCARE M&A SUCCESS:
1. Acknowledge The Intangibles
For employees joining into an acquisition, they’re likely anxious, skeptical, confused and therefore resistant to change. Acknowledging and addressing these realities will help smooth the long process of creating a coherent organization-wide brand culture.
2. Structured Team-Led Process
While it might feel like the event is a long way off, it quickly creeps up. As early as feasible, create a cross-functional team to oversee the operational and cultural aspects of the integration: prior, during and post event.
3. Strong Communication
Meaning clear and often. From organization-wide leaders who need to collaborate in setting clear expectations, building confidence and trust. Of note, proactive and appropriate transparent communications strategy was one of the clear differences in transactions that created value and fell short according to a 2017 survey from Deloitte.
4. Me Vs. We
Recognize that whenever people hear messages about the organization, they quickly translate that to “what does that mean for me.” So be prepared. For every statement about “we”, leaders need to be ready to address “me.”
5. Brand Strategy & Business Strategy Alignment
Brand strategy must be aligned with organization business strategy to support strategic objectives and intent. This begins with purpose and extends to culture, strategy, design, communications and experiences.
6. One Corporate Brand
Consistency is key to building credibility and a strong brand-led culture. Teams need to work together under the guidance of chief communications and experience officers to coordinate communications and activities to avoid a schizophrenic brand experience – which is confusing and debilitating both internally and externally.
7. One Brand Portfolio
Following above, the integration of brands and the building of a forward-looking, strategic brand architecture is one of the key components that most often gets relegated for later discussions. The result is that organizations end up with a confusing mix of brands and product/service lines that make little sense internally or externally. Your new combination of corporate brand and product/service level brands need to work together in a way that tells your new, and complete story.
8. Think Beyond Today
Once one M&A is in place, more are usually in the pipeline. So think beyond current “events” to strategically and creatively accommodate future healthcare branding related initiatives.
Founded in 1999, Trajectory is the specialist branding and marketing agency partnering with clients across the health + wellness continuum to grow better business. Reach us at 973-292-1400. trajectory4brands.com.