Buying a pre-existing brand? The three things to look for

There are numerous upsides that can make buying an existing business more attractive than starting one up from scratch.

For one, there’s less risk and less work. Buying a pre-existing business gives you instant access to an income, a customer base, a client list, contacts and a trained workforce. From the moment you come in, you can start to focus on growth.

One that is particularly attractive, especially in today’s social media-driven business world, where companies are expected to be more communicative and engaging than ever, is acquiring a company with a well-established brand.

Buying into a solid brand not only gives you contacts, copyrights, trademarks and websites, it gives you a social media following, an online presence and, perhaps most importantly, the cache of a known and trusted name.

So, what should you look for in a brand? Here are three key things that we’d recommend considering before buying.

1 – A well-defined mission:
A well-defined mission gives a brand purpose and direction. Simply put, it’s the foundation upon which a brand is built. Not only does a strong brand mission tell the world what a company’s mission is, it provides a shared, aspirational vision around which to build a workplace’s culture.

It defines what a company does, what it aims to do and who it serves, letting people know the impact a company wants to have on the sector it works in and the world at large as well as the value that it delivers to customers.

A brand with a strong mission statement is likely one that has a strong brand overall. So when buying a company, always look for one with a clearly defined mission that is presented in a strong, confident manner. This can set the tone for the rest of a brand that is instantly noticeable and recognisable.

2 – Knows the target market:
One of the primary features of a strong brand is one that knows its audience, knows what they want and can speak to that. There is no business without customers, let alone a brand, so a good brand will always have people at its centre.

Whatever the company you’re thinking about buying does, its brand must tap into that sector’s customers. So, whether it’s fashion, food or sport, it’s vital that the brand engages with the people most interested in these sectors and communicates itself in a way that speaks to these people.

The key thing here is that the brand has a specific idea of who its core customer base is. Based on demographics such as age, income, interests, cultural background and so on. Of course, a brand should also aim to be inclusive and attract people who may not fit into these niches, but if you want to buy a strong brand, buy one that clearly knows its key audience.

3 – A defined identity and tone of voice:
In previous posts we’ve spoken about the importance of identity and tone of voice to effective brand-building and engagement so it of course follows that if you’re looking to buy a brand that is already established, these are key things to look at.

A brand identity and tone of voice defines a company’s visual aesthetic and how it comes across in its communications. Clearly, these are two key factors in a brand that stands out and communicates effectively.

So, when looking to acquire a brand, consider how strong their visual aesthetic is. Is it noticeable, consistent and appealing across the board? Simply put, when a company puts something out, whether that’s a social media post, an email, or even just a logo, does it look good and is it recognisably “them”?

The same with tone of voice. If you’re considering buying a certain company, think, do they have a strong tone of voice? And is it consistent across all their communications? A solid and engaging tone of voice communicates confidence, reliability and trustworthiness.

Overall, a visual aesthetic and tone of voice function by determining a company’s look and feel for customers. They are both vital elements in how a company communicates and, if you’re looking to buy a company, they are crucial things to look for in their brand.