31 March 2021

Musings on mergers

by Kate Johnstone

Below are a few observations we’ve had on the recent spate of Superannuation fund mergers

From a strategic perspective

– The experience of the member should be at the heart of a merger
Whilst the rest of the fund is dealing with the compliance and logistics of a merger, it’s the role of marketing to ensure the members confidence is maintained throughout the process. Decisions about what comms they receive, how changes are explained should be made through the lens of the member experience. Members will speculate on the reason for the change, this will create doubt and could be seen as an opportunity to consider other funds. 

TIP: Consistency in comms and messaging will help maintain the trust. Let members know when changes will happen to their experience of the fund, to the website, portal and collateral.

– A migration strategy is crucial to consistency
Mergers can cause a marketing headache. Sometimes multiple brands have to be maintained in parallel, one might be absorbed, or they might both be discarded in favour of a new brand. Which ever approach, having a well researched migration strategy will help guide the marketing team. This roadmap will give visibility on timings and milestones, how long certain marketing activity and collateral will stay in market, how new pieces will be deployed. 

TIP: Make it visible! Actually having a map or framework that can be updated and shared, one clear map of what to expect will help all internal stakeholder feel confident about the path forward. No-one wants to be left in the dark.

The operational part

– Trim the fat
This is an opportunity to audit and interrogate the member collateral. Each of the merging funds will have marketing strengths. Work out what these are, discard the collateral that doubles up, and rebrand the pieces.

TIP: Align tone of voice. Cherry picking the best collateral can mean the tone of voice could become a bit piece meal. Run each comms through the tone of voice criteria to ensure each piece of comms, feels the same.

– Same same but better
The member needs to know they will benefit from the merger, no matter which fund they belong to. Remind them of your shared values, of new benefits, that scale can provide security or more innovative tools. Fundamentally the member wants to know what the merger means for their retirement, and if they have to jump through any hoops. Make it clear to the member what is required of them, what to expect. 

TIP: Using infographics, explainers and journey maps are key ways to simplify complexity for the member. If there is transparency about what will happen in the future, in an easy to understand format, through a familiar channel  they are more likely to view the merger as a positive action.

Acquisitions and mergers can be complicated for the fund and for the member – But if you view it as an opportunity to reinforce your shared values, and create more meaningful experiences for the member, the change can be managed to create an enduring relationship. It boils down to: Consistency = Trust.  If you have this, then you can focus on business as usual.


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