VLOG – Preparing for a Website Merger

January 18, 2013 John Simpson

Welcome to One North’s VLOG! In this series, we’ll connect you with the ideas, trends and issues our strategists, technologists and creatives are discussing each week.

In this week’s Vlog, we identify the top five things firms need to be thinking about when going through a website merger.

VLOG – Preparing for a Website Merger from One North Interactive on Vimeo.

Don’t have time to watch the video? Here’s a recap of the discussion:

A recent Hildebrandt Institute article, The Return of the Mega-Merger, inspired us to identify the top five things firms need to be thinking about when going through a merger, and how a merger might impact their web strategy.

Launch a scalable brand platform.
Mergers typically happen very quickly, and legal marketers are often tasked with establishing a brand just as quickly. We at One North recommend taking a step back. Don’t paint yourself into a corner by rushing to create a brand when you’re not ready. Dare we say, your brand and visual identity can come later. What’s most important is that your clients, employees, alumni and the press understand why the firm is merging and how that’s a benefit.

Consider the data migration, integration and hosting aspects of a merger.
This is a great time to take stock of the ecosystem that surrounds the websites within both firms. For example, many law firm websites today integrate with CRM systems, registration systems, HR systems, etc. It’s important to determine what those integrations are and start the process of deciding which of those integrations will live pro forma in the merged firm. Merging data sets into one format can also prove to be challenging. Finally, be sure to take data privacy into consideration when deciding where the new website will be hosted.

Prepare Your Content.
This is a great opportunity to look at your content critically. Get rid of the content you don’t need, and be sure to edit the content you decide to keep to include the merged firm’s name and positioning.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the go-to-market strategy.
We’ve seen stand-alone firms really struggle with their practice group structure and how they want to represent that to clients online. Throw in another firm, and things can get a little sticky. Deciding how to overcome naming and structure differences when going to market can be challenging. Tackle this early!

Go back to target marketing.
Make sure you have a clear message for your:

  • Clients, who are going to want to know you’re still around and want to know about the expanded capabilities you can now provide.
  • The press, who want to understand the implications and why this merger actually occurred.
  • Alumni, who will want to know how this might impact financial investments they have with the firm.
  • Employees, who need a rallying point for why this merger is a positive change.

The web can tie all these groups together, but you have to think about all of them and tailor your message for each group.


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John Simpson Chief Executive Officer

John Simpson is one of One North’s founders and serves as the Chief Executive Officer. For more than 20 years, John has been helping professional services marketers engage with their clients and grow their organizations through brand-based digital marketing experiences. He is a frequent author and speaker as it relates to relationship development, digital strategy and marketing innovation.

  • Favorite season: Summer. Summer makes everyone feel like a kid again.
  • Super power: Positivity. A psychology professor once told me that humans are predisposed to be positive. His logic was that the cave man faced so many challenges – sabre tooth tigers, starvation, cold weather, disease – that they had to be positive just to survive until the next day. I can’t say whether or not this theory has scientific merit, but it’s good enough for me!

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