Emerging technology has reinvented the way PR professionals approach visual storytelling, analytics, and events. Considering the rapid evolution of today’s media, Richard Funess, Senior Managing Partner at Finn Partners believes that “PR professionals have become more important to the corporate soul.”
Mr. Funess recently joined PR Newswire, the Business Development Institute, and an exclusive group of senior-level PR authorities for a Communications Roundtable discussion. The conversation focused on the impact of technology on mergers and acquisitions and how to overcome the challenges of a business in transition.
According to Mr. Funess, the most successful mergers and acquisitions occur within mid-sized firms whose revenues do not exceed $1 billion dollars. Smaller MNA’s can be a smoother adjustment for both employees and business development, but there are some inevitable challenges along the way. “The ability to create teams is the toughest part of acquisitions,” says Mr. Funess, “We are interested in the culture of the company we acquire. If they don’t see it in the same way, it is a tough part of a successful acquisition.” Several solutions were offered throughout the discussion to manage the impact of MNA’s on businesses:
1. Assess the leadership integration and strength profile across organizations
Mr. Funess advises business leaders to have direct communication with key players of the rebranded organization. Discuss what makes them feel comfortable as employees and how their roles can be expanded. Additionally, arrange one-on-one meetings between employees of the same ranking to gauge what they can learn from each other and how to develop core messages together. Create an understanding that everyone is a vital part of the success of a new company culture.
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2. Bring in talent with skills you don’t have or who can improve the things you don’t do well
“Young people employed at Finn are opportunities to learn new technologies and work with employees to learn emerging parts of the business,” says Mr. Funess. Utilize the influx of advanced technical skills and creativity to bring in more opportunities for business growth.
3. Build the brand reputation through media stories
Media stories are a legitimate source for communicating the company culture to stakeholders and the public. Mr. Funess strongly recommends participating in industry awards programs to help build the brand reputation. For example, Finn Partners was recently honored by the Holmes Report as the “Best Mid-Sized Agency to Work For,” which serves as a testament to their company values.
Internal and external communications should be re-positioned to reflect the new company culture, which validates the role of PR as part of the “corporate soul.” Despite its obvious challenges, mergers and acquisitions are a valuable opportunity for organizations to connect with employees, re-evaluate their strengths, and apply newly acquired capabilities toward improvement.