Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are common growth strategies in the financial services industry. Last year, M&A activity was at an all-time high across all global industries – and there is no sign of a slowdown. As a result, it’s more important than ever to optimize your M&A strategy with public relations (PR). With the right PR strategy, consistent messaging, and proper execution of tactics, an M&A announcement can be a positive driving force for your brand.
By optimizing your M&A strategy with PR, you can earn no-cost visibility through aggressive media and public relations strategies with local, regional, and industry media influencers. Because your news is presented by objective third parties, PR opportunities significantly impact brand awareness, perception, and improve your organization’s credibility.
When expanding your credit union, community bank, or wealth management firm through M&A, a member of your marketing team should have a seat at the table well before the deal is done. The marketing team is responsible for communicating your growth (and the excitement around the news) to all internal and external stakeholders, a vital piece to any growth strategy. In addition to the more traditional approaches to communicating the news – updating your website, mailing a letter to current clients, etc. – the marketing plan should be optimized to also include PR. This casts a wider net to share your message, retain and recruit new business, and enhance your brand.
Read on for some key insights into how to best plan for PR around your next M&A announcement.
Identify the “why”
Why are you merging or acquiring? Is it to add a new service line? Enter a new market? Grow your lineup of in-house experts? Once you identify the “why,” develop key messaging and ensure it’s leveraged across all marketing and public relations activities. A consistent message across all communications platforms creates the repetition necessary to reinforce the “why” to your audience, build brand awareness and enhance the credibility/reputation of your organization.
Identify your audience
Do you want to be known as an M&A leader in your industry? Do you want to inform consumers of the excitement of your M&A announcement? Want both? Once you determine your target audience, develop media strategies to reach them effectively.
Develop a PR plan
PR strategies include pitched stories, bylined articles, speaking opportunities and other thought leadership activities. To optimize your M&A strategy, consider the following:
- Create a media list that includes all local, regional, and industry media contacts that you want sharing your announcement.
- Identify those on your media list that will help make the most impact and consider an embargoed announcement. We do this quite often for our clients and have seen success in getting great coverage. Under embargo, you can select journalists to target in advance of the announcement so they have time to interview and develop a larger story that will be published at an agreed upon date and time. The advantage to an embargoed announcement is that you can guarantee coverage in advance.
- Develop a press release that includes your messaging and quotes from key leadership. The press release should be developed early on since it will need to be approved by all parties and compliance. Once approved, use this for the embargo announcement, pitch to those on your media list, and consider a news distribution service like PR Newswire or PRWeb if you also want to reach a much broader audience.
To gain better coverage and placement in news feeds, never send the press release without offering journalists the opportunity to interview key spokespeople. Make the email personal to the recipient for better response (don’t just send one email and bcc all your media contacts) and follow up the next day if you don’t get a response.
Hire a marketing agency with M&A experience
Talking with a full-service communications agency that has an expertise in PR and M&A can help you gain the coverage you deserve in the markets you serve, the industry you represent and significantly impact brand awareness, improve credibility, and build new business.
At Chartwell Agency, our financial team specializes in communications and public relations for credit unions, banks, and wealth management firms. We have experience in leading PR efforts for M&A announcements throughout the country for various clients. Do you want to optimize your M&A strategy with public relations? Connect with our financial industry public relations experts today.