The Essential ‘Top 10’ Checklist for Telecom M&A Communications
To keep up with our rapidly growing clients, we put together an essential JSA checklist for M&A communications
One thing we can all be certain of: change. In the telecom industry, 2017 is turning into a hallmark year for mergers and acquisitions, with AT&T and Time Warner heading the list of potential deals. AT&T wants to sell more video content while Time Warner needs new wireless distribution channels to accommodate the younger audience’s preference for media via smartphones. So, an often sensible solution is to merge and diversify, to achieve better economies of scale.
As the leading PR firm for telecom, JSA has been privileged to draft and promote some of the largest B2B M&A announcements in recent history, including: Zayo and AboveNet.
To keep up with our rapidly growing clients, we put together an essential JSA checklist for M&A communications, both leading up to the “big announcement” and immediately following. Here are some of our best communications practices, that may help with your next big M&A deal:
1. Define the moving-forward brand (including what’s the new company name and logo, and who are the moving-forward decision makers within the company). This includes establishing key messages, such as compelling customer benefits and ‘the story’ of the combined new entity.
2. Once the above is addressed, begin with
updating all of your printed collateral and signage (as this takes time to approve, print and have ready for distribution/hung on launch day). This includes door/building signage, brochures, banners, exhibit stands, data sheets, and all corporate templates, such as business cards, letterhead, PowerPoint backgrounds, etc.
3. Next, what will the new combined network look like? Illustrate the complimentary reach in an updated network map. Once completed, make sure the new map is included in the ‘launch’ materials, such as the press release, website, social posts, digital ads, blogs, videos, infographics, presentations, brochures etc.
4. Then, conduct an online audit—where is your old logo currently posted? Reach out to all sites as launch day draws near, provide the embargoed new logo with clear instructions to update on launch day. If the website is not a trusted, well-known partner, reach out post launch.
5. Prepare your webpages, microsites, social sites and blog sites to refresh with the new logo and messaging on launch day. If your site(s) are powered by WordPress, you can have the pre-approved pages timed to publish on a set day and time. Also update the metadata with new key messages as well. If easier, have the old site point to the new site.
6. Will the new brand affect your email extensions? Chances are it will, at least for some. Make sure you work closely with IT to have a clear plan (including a specific launch date and time) as to when the new emails should be in use, the old emails redirected to the new mailboxes, and the updated email signatures utilized company-wide.
7. Although this may change from company to company, (and often depends if the company is a public entity or not), our JSA preference is to line up internal communications before the official press release hits the wires. Have key decision makers hold an ‘all hands’ meeting, prepped with potential questions and answers, to announce the news before it goes public. No one likes to hear they are either out of a job or operating under a new name by a Google Alert. This is particularly key if the team is required to continue with the same great customer service post M&A. And don’t just review the new look & feel; talk operations, escalation procedures, billing and customer service, too.
8. Prepare the press release; this includes potential FAQs to help prep for big media interviews. This also includes your new company boilerplate and new key messaging. If possible, get approval several days in advance to distribute the embargoed release to the company’s top 10 publications. Line up interviews ahead of time with these top 10 to ensure great press pick-up on launch day.
9. Launch Day! Ensure external communications are ready for release with the press release on launch date. This includes letters to all customers, investors, partners and vendors. Include new messaging and new payment directions in invoices to reduce confusion/delay in payments. Also keep the reassuring messages going out to your team, to keep morale high. Update any intranet/portals as well, particularly with new presentations and collateral. And of course, pitch the release to a larger set of journalists, analysts, bloggers and social influencers, and line up the interviews with your key media-facing thought leaders. If management’s time is limited (as it often is), invite the media to one large video webinar, maximizing your c-levels’ time. Record the webinar for additional marketing collateral and pitching material.
10. Once the announcement is out and the launch day has passed, the work is not over. Keep the news going strong with video, digital ads, event attendance/sponsorship, promos/giveaways, new lead generation campaigns, social promotions, and additional positive press releases – all strengthening the new brand. And of course, let your reporting metrics guide your next steps.
That’s our fast ‘top 10 list’ for Telecom M&A Communications. What does your company or agency do to help get M&A news out? Let us know at: email@example.com