First impressions matter. Most bank CMO’s might manage one or two merger programs in their career. Managing bank merger communications IS our career. Bank mergers present unique communications challenges that can make a merger succeed or fail. It’s not a job for first-timers. While every merger is different, we’ve learned that each merger impacts audiences that share common concerns and opportunities. To succeed, your messaging must resonate with each audience.
Employees of the acquired institution are THE most important audience to influence since they interact with the customers you just bought. They become your ambassadors for the merger’s success. Adopt an employee-first methodology for optimal messaging management during a bank merger.
When banks announce mergers, hundreds of questions emerge that do not yet have answers. Messaging needs to be proactive, honest, and timely to optimize retention. Address the informational, emotional and financial needs of your new customers and members.
Business entities impacted by mergers represent the dominant share of the acquired bank’s profitability. And these customers typically experience the most disruption if and when systems convert, branches close, or relationship officers change. Communications need to support the diverse operational needs of customers and the bank personnel that strive to please them.
Bank mergers impact communities as well. Long-standing landmarks suddenly display new branding and some locations might close. Leaders of non-profits that rely on sponsorships or grants worry about future funding. Municipal leaders also express concern. Bank community relations officers need up-to-date information to ensure a positive experience for community stakeholders.
Our employees (front line staff) were able to use the communication pieces as a roadmap to help with customer questions. We had our training team use the pieces in the face-to-face training, and all staff had access to pdf’s of each communication piece that was sent out. The employees appreciated not only the information necessary to understand what would be happening during the conversion, but the actual pieces that the customer would be seeing. Very useful tools to communicate all around!
South Shore Bank
They were proactive and insightful, guiding us along the way. There were many moving parts that they kept track of without letting anything fall through the cracks. They were on top of the schedule. We communicated through routine weekly status calls, email, and tracking progress through spreadsheets.
Chief Marketing Officer at Investors Bank