(Managing) Great Expectations

The outcomes of transaction announcements can be shaped by external factors. Outside groups can torpedo or bolster a deal, so managing their reactions is critical. 

Whether it’s customers concerned with continued availability of products, vendors concerned about loss of clients or business partners concerned with changes to management structure, it’s important to identify who is going to care about your deal and develop an external communications strategy tailored to their needs. 

For each constituency you hope to manage, there are a number of considerations that will affect deal messaging, deal tactics, materials and rollout. Here are some initial questions to help guide your strategy

  • What are the external audiences impacted by this transaction? Are there certain segments most/least impacted?
  • What do these parties value most about their current relationship with your company? How will that change as a result of the deal?
  • How does your company typically communicate with its external stakeholders?
  • Who are the key decision makers at external audiences? Or influencers that could impact their perception of the transaction?
  • Who are the most credible messengers to those audiences? Who do they go to for questions?
  • What is the overlap between buyer and seller?
  • What are the key vulnerabilities/sensitivities regarding the existing relationship?
  • What commitments will your company be able to make on day one (e.g., strategy, current contracts, products, charitable giving, etc.)?