A merger acquisition is fraught with all kinds of difficulties, from operations to HR, to finance. There's lots to figure out, even about how to do delivery. Not until all of this is taken care of do people usually begin to think about marketing, and then eventually, branding. I'd like to suggest that it should be done the other way around. Branding should come first. And then worry about your marketing, your advertising, your finance, operations and HR. Branding should come first, and for several reasons: 1. It's all about the big picture. And it's the big picture from the client's perspective. Why are we even doing this merger at all? Set the tone right from the start. 2. Because branding is about the big picture, it encourages you to think clearly about high-level topics, instead of focusing on the small details that are often complicated and hard. So, set the big things first. 3. Branding is very important because it's your customer-facing image. Chances are, you're performing the acquisition because there is some real benefit to your clients (if you are just doing it for financial reasons, branding does not matter very much for a holding company). And you're likely trying to get new clients, in which case you need to think very clearly about why it is they do what they do. Why would a client find the new products or services interesting or compelling? What do they care about? Branding answers these questions. So, when you are doing your acquisition, don't forget the branding. It will determine whether you're successful or not in the market place.