La Confraternita del Geco (The Brotherhood of the Gecko)

(original post is here, in Italian)

I met all of them years ago, when I started my MBA class, in Milan. It was the end of 2003.

One year later Confraternita del Geco (Brotherhood of the Gecko) was created by 8 brave MBA students. One left (was forced to leave?) a couple of years later. They established a solid friendship. A statute was created. It was established to have a dinner-meeting every third Wednesday of each month (Gecocena, the Gecko-dinner) in an unknown osteria in Milan. Each month organised by a different member of the brotherhood – il Grangeco. A couple of them created the first sushi factory in Italy. Recently, a Whatsapp group was created – Confraternita definitely knows how to use the latest technologies.

After 10 years, Confraternita is still alive – and kicking. Next meeting, all together, will take place this weekend, in London. We will celebrate 10 years of our friendship (and 10 yrs of our statute!). A full photo report will be featured – on this blog.

Languages for communicating acquisitions

Once we started our comms plan for Day 1, the day of the public announcement of the acquisition, we had the challenge of the languages. Which languages should the assets (letters, social streams, newsletter and web contents, etc.) be localised to? Both companies are international and act in more than 50 countries around the globe.

So we decided to go with more than one language… and we ended up with 11 languages! Specifically: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Italian, Dutch, Korean, Japanese and Russian.

Choice of the languages is dictated by existing presence and business potentiality of the territory for our specific field (Energy and Automation). So it might change, sector by sector.

The recommendation for critical communications as an acquisition could represent is always to go with several languages. This is what I call “reaching the last mile”. We are closer to the customers if we speak the same language.

Using social for M&A communications

We decided to use social media for both internal and external communications on Day 1, in addition to other channels. You might remember that “Day 1” is the way we call the day when the acquisition will be formally announced.

We use SocialCast, internally. VMWare SocialCast is a social network and collaboration tool for the enterprises. Few days ago I have created a group – it works like the LinkedIn groups – to answer all questions from employees and to post news about the acquisition/integration process.

Externally, we have created a full comms plan as you can expect from acquisitions of this magnitude (we agreed to be acquired for £3.4b). We will use social media as well, to communicate to customers, partners and external stakeholders. Joint plans (= from both companies) are already in place to secure consistency with the message and to align the communication streams on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook.

More to come.