Step 7: Develop M&A Integration Communication Plans

M&A communication planning is difficult because a merger is always a fast-breaking story.  Every day brings new developments. The truth is a moving target, and often dead on arrival.

Rumors start to fly as soon as people pick up the scent that a merger is in the works.   This is high drama.  Hot stuff.   Everybody has an opinion, and all the rules of gossip prevail.  In this tense environment, it is easy for messages to be misinterpreted, twisted, or exaggerated.

Communication planning requires much more thought in a merger than it does during more stable, less stressful circumstances. Yet, most key managers receive little education on what to say, and just as importantly, what not to say. There is little opportunity for them to make an insignificant remark. Practically everything they communicate is taken seriously, studied for innuendo, or held up to the light for subtle implications. Just because a comment from an executive is well-intentioned doesn’t mean that it is effective.

When merger difficulties develop, 75 percent of them have their roots in communication problems. In fact, at the very time company communication needs to be better than ever, it’s often at its worst. And the trouble is that communication problems never seem to remain just communication problems. They end up causing productivity and morale declines and—eventually—profitability problems. Work becomes more frustrating and stressful for everyone.

A well-crafted communication plan can help reduce employee anxiety and cynicism, protect the acquirer's credibility, and prevent top management from being accused of reneging on its promises.

In this section, we list the questions to expect from different constituencies and the proper information to convey to each. We also provide playbooks, agendas, and guidelines for conducting announcement, day one, and benefit meetings. Plus, our presentations and articles (more than twenty) explain M&A communication planning best practices. And our eMerger software offers step-by-step instruction on how to develop an integration communication plan.

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The 15 Most Common M&A Integration Communications Mistakes
Internal and external communication blunders.
Expect These M&A Questions
Common inquiries from employees, customers, vendors, the community, and the media.
5 Things you should never say
Just because a comment is well-intentioned doesn't mean that it works.
Executive Post-Merger Communication to Employees
Example of executive email to troops 90 days after close.
Noise: The Communication Crisis in Corporate America
What we have here is failure to communicate.
Top 10 Reasons Why More Employee Communication Is Necessary When Merging Companies
Managers typically underestimate the communication effort required.
Make A Sales Pitch For The Deal
An integration initially produces more problems than solutions. This is the “it gets worse before it gets better” phenomenon. And it’s totally predictable.

Day 1 M&A Playbook: Customer Communications
Day 1 M&A Playbook: Customer Communications - $1.6 Billion Acquisition
Free Sample

Easily customized Word document that includes answers to FAQs, sample letters to customers, and critical talking points and messages.

Customer Communications M&A Integration Playbook
Customer Communications M&A Integration Playbook - $2 Billion Acquisition
Free Sample

Guidance for customer-facing employees and teams to help them communicate effectively with their customers about the acquisition. Includes communication tips, talking points, letter and answers to FAQs.

Employee Communications Playbook - $3 Billion Acquisition
Employee Communications M&A Integration Playbook - $3 Billion Acquisition
Free Sample

Includes communication tips, talking points, letter, and answers to 45 FAQs. Makes the job of sharing accurate, timely, consistent information with employees easier.

Day -1- Employee Comm-thumbnail
Day 1 M&A Playbook: Employee Communications - $1.6 Billion Acquisition
Free Sample

Sixteen page document that includes answers to seventy-five employee FAQs, plus communication guidelines, and important talking points and messages.

Contents Page
Communication Guidance 3
Key Messages for Employee 4
Employee Talking Points 5
Employee FAQs 7
Integration Approach 10
Impact on Operations 11
Compensation, Benefits, and Incentives 13
Sales Professionals FAQ 15
Question Specific to New Employees 16