Five Tips for Successfully Communicating a Business Deal

November 26, 2018

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Whether it’s a merger, acquisition, spin-off, IPO, or divestiture, business transactions — and their resulting corporate transformations — almost always require complex, even painful, changes that can impact the success of the deal. Timely, accurate and transparent communications are essential to reaping reputational and financial gains in the long term.

These five best practices from FleishmanHillard‘s Mergers & Acquisitions experts can help you position a deal for success:

  1. Start with the right deal team. If the communications team isn’t at the table from the beginning, you’ve put yourself at a disadvantage. Global merger and acquisition data reveals most deals fail because of inadequate or absent communications. In addition to developing the communications strategy and core materials, communicators often serve as the connector for the various deal workstreams— ensuring the team is aligned around strategy, risk assessment, communications approach, messaging and channel decision-making.
  2. The business rationale is the most important message. All stakeholders — including investors, employees, customers, vendors, suppliers and the public — need to understand why your business is pursuing this deal and how it will not only benefit your business, but help achieve your mission.
  3. Understand and explain the impact to all your key stakeholders, especially employees. A stakeholder analysis can help you understand how the deal will impact each group — showing which communications you’ll need to tailor to secure buy-in and ensure a smooth process. Employees can be champions of or liabilities to a deal. Make sure they feel included and heard throughout the process.
  4. Develop a robust traditional and social media strategy. Your traditional and social media strategy should account for any regulations that limit communications and must include a comprehensive leak plan to address potential risks. It’s also crucial that you align external and internal messaging, particularly about how the transaction benefits or impacts your employees.
  5. Remember, Day 1 is just the beginning. The real work begins after the deal closes. That’s when a company must implement new structures, integrate cultures and reestablish its identity and reputation with external stakeholders. But studies show that less than half of major change initiatives succeed. To set yourself up for success, start by listening to your employees’ concerns — then use those insights to preempt any potential hindrances to the long-term success of your deal, like productivity or turn-over issues.