When reflecting the fact that just one in four mergers result in success, TRA’s head of strategy Colleen Ryan told NZ Marketing earlier this year that culture—or two cultures and the failure to leverage the value of two businesses because of cultural differences—is a major culprit of failure.
“Company culture is an amalgam of its accepted tacit rules, habits, values, customs and norms, and these create a rhythm and cadence that govern behaviour – there is a sense of ‘it’s the way we are and the way we do things here’,” she said, later adding that due diligence of cultural issues sets up a new culture with common agreement.
With that in mind, Frucor Suntory, formerly Frucor Beverages, is a great example as its acquisition by Tokyo Stock Exchange listed Suntory Beverage and Food Limited in 2009 was a coming together of comparable cultures.
Looking back at the two companies first meeting, group chief executive Jonathan Moss says the first thing to strike both parties was that despite being culturally different in terms of Japanese and Kiwi/Aussie, they were otherwise incredibly similar.
“The best way to highlight that is that we have a core value called ‘Go for it’ and Suntory have a value called ‘Yatte Minahare’ which has an indirect translation of ‘go for it’,” he says.
With those similarities, it’s no surprise the relationship between the two companies has since evolved from one of Suntory owning Frucor, to one of Frucor being a part of it, Moss says, adding that was the motivation behind adding Suntory to Frucor’s name.
“We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved together, and see the linking of our names as a representation of our combined strength as well as the unique entrepreneurial spirit of both Frucor and Suntory.”
It was late last year that Frucor proposed the idea to make its name Frucor Suntory and Moss says Suntory was excited and supportive of the idea so it set about designing the new look with Voice brand agency, which was all unveiled last week.
He says the brief was to give the Frucor element a contemporary look that tied it into the Suntory logo, which has remained untouched.
Previous logo, now logo
Despite a new look, Moss says there won’t be any changes to the company’s ownership structure, the staff of almost 1000 employees or portfolio of 30 brands, including V, Just Juice, Fresh Up, Sparkling Oh, Gatorade and Pepsi. However, he does say it marks a new direction that will see it pursue a health and wellness agenda.
“What we said when we got the team together on June 27 was: ‘We can see consumer trends in our industry changing really quickly and there’s quite a strong drive towards health and well-being and we want to get to the front of that trend.’”
Already since the name change, it's announced it endorses and supports the New Zealand Government's Healthy Kids Industry Pledge, an initiative set up in 2015 to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity.
In its announcement, Frucor Suntory said it wants to be part of the solution and gave examples of its efforts in previous years, including replacing sugar with stevia in its h2go flavoured waters, reformulating the G-Force range to have 50 percent less sugar, launching Sparkling Oh! with less than one gram of sugar per 100ml and launching a Just Juice 50 percent less sugar range.
With the Frucor company founded in 1962, rolling out a name change and making it known is not a task to be taken lightly and Moss says as well as making it clear through the new website, the leadership team has been sharing commentary and photos with their networks on LinkedIn and all digital communications, like email addresses and signatures, are also communicating the change.
It's an effort that's no doubt been aided by the response of the team internally when the announcement was made, which Moss describes as being of huge energy.
“The feeling since June 27 internally is one of positivity and that it really is symbolising what we’re trying to do, so I’m really thrilled with the way it’s been received.”