So, You’ve Taken the Reins as Owner . . . Now, What?

So, You’ve Taken the Reins as Owner . . . Now, What?

Here are my five keys to a successful transition: Assess the brand. As the new owner of an existing company, you're not only going to make changes to business operations, but also to the brand itself. Think about how your company is viewed by both employees and customers. For my company, I found that maintaining its reputation was of utmost importance. To help your ambassadors better understand your brand, develop an internal campaign communicating to employees (and other stakeholders) how your vision might impact the brand and the culture. Continue communicating with customers. Every interaction you have with your target audiences is an opportunity to either advance or deteriorate the impression people have of your brand. Consider every touchpoint: your logo, office environment, the way you dress, attitudes toward employees and clients and every other detail in between; all are opportunities to reinforce your brand. Ask yourself: What does our brand say about us? Communicating any visual branding changes consistently across all media is also critical.

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So, You've Taken the Reins as Owner . . . Now, What?

From startups to Fortune 500 companies, Iíve seen it happen time and time again: new business owners struggling to establish their brand. Whether these owners have been with the business from the get-go or are stepping in to the company with fresh eyes, they often overlook the opportunity new ownership gives to refresh and revitalize the businessís brand.

When I made the exciting jump from employee to owner of GroupBaronet in 2006, I experienced this transition firsthand. I wanted to make GroupBaronet my own, so it was important to do more than just uphold the values that had motivated me to purchase the advertising firm in the first place.

I had to put my personal stamp on the companyís brand. By merging my name (Mason) with the original ownerís (Baronet), I found just the right balance between past and future.

The experience taught me what it takes to successfully implement a new vision into an existing company and, at MasonBaronet, we use those lessons learned to guide our clients through similar situations. Here are my five keys to a successful transition:

Assess the brand.

As the new owner of an existing company, you’re not only going to make changes to business operations, but also to the brand itself. Before making modifications, it’s important to assess the brand youíve just acquired. A successful assessment not only ensures your marketing investment will pay off, but also helps in long-term strategy development and prevents any doubt down the road. Think about how your company is viewed by both employees and customers. Ask yourself:

  • What are the current perceptions of your brand?
  • What do people value most about your company?
  • Where are the disconnects and opportunities?
  • Where is there room for improvement?

If you arenít sure of the answers, do some research with customers and employees to get clarity. As you take a deeper dive, you should gain a better understanding of where the brand has been and where it needs to go. For my company, I found that maintaining its reputation was of utmost importance. However, I also wanted to update the brand look to reflect my personality as the new leader.

Communicate with the team.

Your brand starts with your employees — they are the ones on the front lines with your customers, after all. For your brand ambassadors to fully live and breathe your new brand, you must educate them more than you think. In a study by Gallup, only 41 percent of employees surveyed said that they knew what their companies stood for and what made their brand different from the rest.

As brand developers, my employees were, and are, key contributors to developing our brand; however, not all companies have this advantage. To help your ambassadors better understand your brand, develop an internal campaign communicating to employees (and other stakeholders) how your vision might impact the brand and the culture.

Tell employees what changes to expect under the new leadership. This could be in the…

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