On January 1, 2013, I combined my company, Legalpeople, with another company that I admired greatly, The Partners Group. This merger was the culmination of nearly 15 months of phone calls, emails and meetings, discussing the pros and cons of bringing the companies together, or pursuing other opportunities, or just standing pat.
Completing the corporate formalities to bring the companies together was just the beginning of our work. While the companies are combined in a legal and structural sense, together we now face the somewhat daunting process of integrating the companies operationally and culturally. Formal merger was straightforward and kind of static. Integration is a dynamic process involving real-time operations—streamlining and looking for best practices while at the same time conducting the same business that kept us all occupied full-time before we were trying to integrate.
There are a million facets to integrating, including accounting, personnel, management structure, back office stuff, but for this blog entry, let me mention the one everyone asks about: Branding (or, as usually put to me: “What are you going to call the new company?”). Branding is a simple word but a very difficult concept. The best decision we made about branding was to take our time. Our “good problem” is that both companies have strong brand names in their markets and nationally. But, we’d like our brand to reflect our unified structure. So we have to find a way to maintain our strong identity while letting our brand evolve to reflect our new company.
Our new website is a first step in the process. We have updated both company websites, and the two sites are very similar to each other, to reinforce the relationship. We have also introduced the “LegalPartners” name, which is the company that holds Legalpeople and The Partners Group (clever name, huh?).
We are continuing to bring the brands together slowly (while pursuing all of the other aspects of integration as well). We have brainstorming sessions, draw up cool looking org charts, and look at similarly situated companies. We have lots of good ideas, and we are excited about our future together.