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Merger communications

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Communications is a vital part of preparing for, managing, and moving on from a merger between two or more organisations. This short article relates to a free downloadable guide to merger communications from Amazon PR, charity communications specialists. Download the guide at www.amazonpr.co.uk/introductions

Good communications, both internal and external, is vital to the smooth and effective working of any organisation, but perhaps never more so than in a time of merger and change. So here are a few tips to help you on your way. 

Take time to plan

Although things can always change, right up until the last minute, a detailed plan for how information can best be cascaded to your audiences throughout the process, at the earliest opportunities, will allow you to minimise speculation, misunderstanding, and the inevitable fear of change.

Get your messaging straight and stick to it

You’ll need as much buy in and support from your staff and stakeholders as possible. In order to win that support, you need to give them a real understanding of the reasons for the merger, and what it means for the future of their role, and the organisation as a whole. Develop a set of clear messages for use from day one. Tailor them to each group so they are told what they need and want to know, in a language they’ll find easy to understand

Once you’ve started sharing information, you’ll need to remain consistent at all times throughout the merger process. Consistency will help you ensure your position is made clear and will build confidence, whereas any hint of confusion can easily suggest you might not be telling the whole story.

Work together

Regardless of who is the lead organisation in the merger process, it’s important that both work closely together in planning and delivering communications. Timings and messaging must be coordinated and care must be taken to ensure that any overlapping audiences receive information in the right way – don’t double up without knowing it, and don’t let anyone slip through the gaps.

Put senior managers in the lead

Senior management should front all communications, to demonstrate strong and confident leadership and a clear vision for the future. You may want to arrange training in face-to-face communication, as well as media training so they are able to handle tricky questions and stay on message at all times.

Don’t just talk – listen

Once the communications process is underway, don’t stay chained to your desk. It’s vital that you are actively listening to people’s responses and engaging in real conversation with them. Monitor the way communications are being received and the questions being raised, so you can adapt and supplement later phases of your communications plan accordingly. Don’t ignore issues internally or externally; tackle them head on to avoid escalation.

Post-merger communications

You still have a lot of work to do after the signatures are on the dotted line. You’ll need to reinforce the future vision for the organisation and make sure that any changes to the brand and messaging are fully bedded-in. Get positive stories out to your external audiences as quickly as possible, to reassure them that it is either business as usual or that things have changed for the better as a result of the merger.

You can download Amazon’s free guide to merger communications.

About the author: Amazon

Amazon is a team of specialist consultants communicating on social and environmental issues. Drawing on expertise gained within the voluntary, public, private and social enterprise sectors, we create and deliver campaigns that engage and inspire communities and help to deliver real change.

Follow us on Twitter: @amzpr

 

 

Page last edited Jul 25, 2017

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