Max Frey Headshot
Max Frey
Sr. Marketing Professional
The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
business development
Navigating an Acquisition and Planning a Rebranding Effort
By Max Frey, CPSM

magine this: you are going about your daily professional life as an A/E/C, or Architecture/Engineering/Construction, marketer, maybe working on a big internal project or perhaps a short-fuse, high-profile proposal. You have your head down, focused on the objective. Out of the blue, you hear your firm is being acquired and your organization will be fully adopting the new company’s brand. This is where I found myself in the spring of 2020, when my Alaska-based company, PDC Engineers, was purchased by a firm out of South Dakota called RESPEC.

Over the past two tumultuous years, our industry saw dramatic slowdowns during the height of the pandemic, with equally dramatic upticks as the lockdowns have eased. This extraordinary resumption of activity led to an increase of 34 percent in A/E/C mergers and acquisitions, according to Morrissey Goodale, meaning many marketers were having the same experience.

Where to Start?
The first and best action to take is to get more information. As a member of the communications team, other employees will be looking to you for answers. Talk to your direct manager, or an executive if you have that type of access, and gain the answers to some key questions:

  • Are we fully adopting a new brand or creating something new?
  • If it is a new brand, will there be an intermediate logo we’ll need to use?
  • What is the timeline we have before we need to roll out the new brand?

Craft your communications to internal and external stakeholders based on the answers you get.

Easy-to-digest information should be provided to all employees, letting them know what the future holds. Encourage project managers and executives to get the word out to your clientele. Finally, be sure to send a press release to all pertinent news media and stay in frequent touch with your stakeholders on the topic throughout the rebrand.

Survey Your Needs and Develop a Timeline for Changes
Evaluate all the marketing collateral your company currently maintains. Make a list of all the items you and your team will need to update. Some of these may include:

  • Templates
  • Business cards
  • Resumes
  • Banners
  • Signage

Price out the large items, such as signage, and develop a budget. Your leadership will find this especially valuable in planning the many other changes to your company, beyond marketing updates alone. To keep you on track and to aid in keeping other employees apprised of changes, create a rebranding roadmap or timeline document displaying what will be changed when. Email this to employees and be sure to post it in public spaces.

Web Media Mergers and Closures
Depending on the size of your company, deciding what to merge and what to lose in your web presences may be a heavy lift or relatively simple. This will again require more conversation with leadership. Consider the following questions:

  • Are we bringing new services or products to this company?
  • What project descriptions do we want to share on their site?
  • What key personnel will need to be listed on the new company’s site?

At the very least, you will likely need to close your old website. Be sure you communicate this to staff and consider using a webpage banner telling visitors the site will be coming down at a
certain date.

The closures won’t stop at your website; old social media pages should also be mothballed or deleted as well. Communicate this to your followers and thank them for their support.

Sunset the Old Brand and Promote the New
It’s important to remain sensitive while changing brands, but, in the long run, pulling off the Band-Aid quickly is easier on everyone involved. Set the date for the brand to be completely removed and request all employees leave their old company swag and attire at home after that date. Ease the blow by providing new company-branded swag to employees and explain in your messaging why removing the old brand is important. While promoting the new brand, communication is again KEY. Get out to society events, produce advertorials in business publications, send emails to clients, stock the marketing closets with new swag, and light up those new signs. No matter how much effort you put into getting the word out, there will be those who haven’t heard about the change. You can’t shout the news from the rooftops enough.
Get Involved from the Onset
Lastly, what is the best thing a marketer can do to plan for an acquisition-related rebrand? Get in on the ground floor. This could involve a simple conversation with leadership in a time where no business deal is even being planned. Explain the steps that are needed for a complete rebrand, the costs associated with it, and request if ever a merger or acquisition is planned that you be brought in to inform decisions from the marketing perspective before the information is released. This ensures a smoother rollout, greater efficiencies, and of course, saner marketers.
Max Frey, CPSM, is a Senior Marketing Professional at RESPEC. Based out of Palmer, Frey has over eleven years of marketing experience paired with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He is a proud Society for Marketing Professional Services Alaska Chapter board member and can be reached at 907-531-7893 or at This article first appeared in the July/August edition of the SMPS Marketer Journal.