Public Relations before, during, after acquisitions and mergers. Fascinating lessons from Poznan, Poland!

Ok… it took me more than 20 hours by van to return to Italy, while an Icelandic dust closed all of Europe’s airports… courtesy of two young polish drivers (found via the Internet the evening before by one of my benefactors Monika Bogdal from Poznan’s University of Economics… the power of social media…)… yet I was thrilled, honoured and inspired to have been granted the privilege by Prof. Ryszard Ławniczak to participate to the EconPr conference (challenges for communication management and public relations in international mergers and acquisitions) see

Above all I was fascinated by Ryszard’s own presentation (poznan reverse) on ‘reverse globalization’s acquisitions’ which deals with how BRIC countries address communication challenges when they move into traditional western economies.

But very inspiring was also Anne Marie Soederberg from the Copenhagen Business School presentation on the communication/multicultural challenges in international M&As and her colleague’s Martine Cardel Gersten’s one on the case study on Carlsberg’s global campaing winning behaviours.
For some strange technical reason I am not capable of uploading their presentations to this post but readers can alwasy read Martine’s abstract on the conference website and, hopefully, they will both send me uploadable versions of their presentations so that I may post them later on.

Other stimulating contributions came from the French scholar Alain Caussieux on internal strategies of influence as a factor of employees resilience in international post merger crisis (cassieux 1 and cassieux 2) as well as Indiana University’s Owen Kulemeka who spoke of using social media to promote and oppose international mergers: the case of Inbev and Anheuser Busch. (kulemeka)

My takeaways?

Organizations should always conduct ‘cultural due diligence’ studies before they decide to move towards and acquisition or a divestment. By doing this (and of course the two processes are quite different in terms of methodology) they will greatly reduce the present average of failures of these operations in their first two years, which is more than 60%.

As BRIC organizations increase their buying power in Europe and the US -besides Africa, Latina America and Asia- their public relators should be very cautious in advising them to do things ‘their way’. If they adopt the generic principles and specific applications paradigm we have often illustrated in this blog (see), they would certainly be more effective increasing their ‘licence to operate’.

Intercultural communication understanding, knowledge and practice is essential as ever in today’s increasingly global economic behaviours and, again, the generic principles and specific applications paradigm, coupled with the global stakeholder relationships governance approach (see here) can support and coach our colleagues around the world.

If and when an organization gets caught or decides to enter into a social media clash with activist groups this does not by default imply that it loses the battle. To the contrary, if ideas are clear and the digital space is well governed the often confused and contradicting agendas of the various activist groups actually can greatly help, and this is one hell of a problem for our colleagues working on the other side encountering many difficulties in trying to make some coherent sense out of conflicting agendas.

Poznan is surprisingly interesting and warm, its University of Economics seems excellent and, said by an old buzzard like me, let it not be gender biased, the students are really interested, come up with excellent questions and are generally highly attractive…

I once more express my gratitude for this opportunity and special thanks to Ryszard (truly a master in thought, knowledge and perspectives) and Monika (very promising scholar as well as a wonderful companion..).

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