Three moves private equity can make to strengthen their brands

Article Chris Erickson 5m read

People start companies driven by passion, while private equity partners with companies in pursuit of growth and impact. As a PE partner, you recognize this distinction and appreciate how that shift in purpose and perspective impacts high-potential business.

While the transition from founder to scale can be exciting and meaningful, it’s a path paved with familiar challenges:

  • Success is critical

  • Mistakes are expensive

  • Time is of the essence

  • Staff are on alert

  • Nothing is a sure thing (despite your diligence)

You’re driving toward harder, better, stronger, faster. And as you do, internal and external communication are two primary drivers of change. This transition period is the perfect time to double down on the best parts of the business while retooling and refining areas with the most uncapitalized potential. 

Our experience working alongside private equity investors has revealed some universal truths that deliver more reliable returns at exit. This is how you cut and polish that diamond in the rough.

  1. Put the right pieces in place from the jump.

    1. Among the inflection points many businesses encounter , PE investment has the most transparent expectations and outcomes, all bound by a tight time frame. As such, getting everything in order at the outset is job number one.

    2. You’ve done enough deals to know that no matter how much research you do or how many spreadsheets you have, your ultimate success comes down to people and partnerships. If you don’t have the right team, your investment will never be successful. That’s job number one—putting the right people in the right positions.

  2. Get the internal machine aligned.

    1. The best brands aren’t aesthetic veneers, but genuine extensions of their respective businesses. Your team should know exactly what you’re setting out to achieve, why it matters, and how they should behave. How is it different from before? How is it the same? How do they fit in the bigger picture?

    2. That requires processes and documentation that allow your departments to read from the same playbook. Your brand, product, operations, and financial decisions must be precisely aligned.

    3. No more ambiguous directives. No more distracting sidequests. No more half-dead, zombie PowerPoint decks. The era of the CEO/founder chasing yet another shiny object is over. You need one source of the truth.

    4. Establishing that single source of truth takes time and effort, but an experienced partner can help you speed up the process. With company-wide alignment and clarity, your team will make better decisions in less time and accelerate execution.

  3. Square-up the outward-facing external brand.

    1. As a partner, you are an official brand steward. You are responsible for ensuring your brand aligns with and extends the company’s purpose, vision, and culture.

    2. That starts by making sure your brand identity is on point. It’s your most powerful tool in communicating that significant change is happening. Your identity should also reflect the quality of your products and your team’s hard work. Amateur hour was so last year. It’s time to level up.

    3. Without solid brand strategies, your investments are susceptible to quicksand. A clearly defined strategic positioning should undergird every decision the brand makes. Otherwise, you risk diluting what made this an attractive acquisition in the first place.

    4. Any changes should reinforce, not undermine, existing brand equity. That starts with alignment on core brand identity and purpose. Once that North Star is established, informed choices can be made on where to invest time and resources.

    5. Internal teams, vendors, and partners need the tools to execute your brand consistently. With foundational frameworks in place, a robust brand platform with an appropriate level of quality can be developed.

Proper preparation makes for stronger execution.

All private equity acquisitions face challenges and uncertainty. Getting the right team in place initially gives you greater confidence to execute the critical internal and external communications you need to succeed. Your investment is too valuable to leave these elements to chance.

If you want to learn more about how Parliament works closely with private equity firms to make the most out of their partnerships, let’s find time to talk .