That’s a fairy tale many little companies wish to hear and it’ll most definitely happen - during bed time, that is, in your dreams. And we know also of many well established
ad agencies, little ones in the talks with conglomerates Big Daddies, hoping to get taken up picked up.
Last year we held a marketing peer briefing where we invited Jane Hoban from the Body Shop to speak. One of the topics that was brought forth during the Q&A was the acquisition of the
Hogan gamely replied that it has not affected the values of the company and in fact Body Shop has been trying hard to influence L’Oreal’s policies internally and that its delay in hitting the booming China market was due to - the non-conformity of the motherland’s policies with its own on not testing with animals.
Fair enough. Good try.
A few days later I met up with a lady that was familiar with the Mag’s peer briefings because she had been to a couple previously. I asked her about her non-attendance this time and she replied, “After the acquisition, I don’t think I can stand alongside their values any longer.”
So herein lies the question do mergers and acquisitions necessarily work for brands? For any company you wish to create a connect with your target audience. But what if you do well and agree to a merger or nod your heads at being acquired?
Like Lonely Planet to BBC, Hallmark to CNBC, You-Tube to Google, Reebok to Adidas.. and now possibly Yahoo with “the-highest-bidder-wins”.
Have they or will they fare well?
Some are too premature and will need a longer incubation period to see the effects but its seems to be that if you’re the one being eaten, you will insist that nothing will change and it will be for the better. However slowly but surely, intrinsically you’ll start to lose your identity till perfect merger occurs and you’ll be remembered only with a wistful smile and a wave of the hand as your past-fans wax lyrical about your glorified past.
Well I suppose if Body Shop did ask L’Oreal for a comment on a merger they’d probably answer,
652 million pounds that is.
But as a marketer or even as a consumer… how do you feel when your pal seems to have sold out and moved on to the darker side? Share with us your thoughts.