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Peter Brett Associates

Engaging teams and retaining cultural identity throughout acquisition

“Delighted – dragonfish captured requirements based on our existing culture and supported us
to achieve our project objectives.”
Sarah Cook, PBA People Director

The challenge

Major development and infrastructure consultants Peter Brett Associates (PBA) are successful - with great operating figures, client relationships and a unique culture that’s been central to this performance. To drive their business to the next level, discussions culminated in serious acquisition interest from Stantec, a large Canadian firm.

Concerns about retaining the PBA identity through an acquisition of this size is why they contacted dragonfish for support. PBA wanted to highlight the importance of culture, proactively manage and protect it during the integration, and make it a positive experience for all employees.

Naturally, great communication was important for getting this right, as well as partner and leadership alignment to drive cohesive messages.

What we did



1. Our Communication Planning Workshop focused on five things to really get under the skin of the best, most impactful story to tell:

  • Understanding, sense checking and stress testing key messages

  • Capturing both rational and emotional messages

  • Highlighting risks and mitigating actions

  • Mapping and validating key audiences and their nuances

  • Defining a communications approach and principles


2. We developed core messaging pillars and narratives to communicate the acquisition story in an impactful, inclusive way to not only all employees but partners, clients and the press.

3. Having clarity of the audiences also enabled us to segment and map the highly considered acquisition communications journey across due diligence, through announcement, sale and on-going employee engagement.

4. To lay the foundations for authentic, unified conversations from leaders during the acquisition, we designed and co-facilitated a leadership workshop.

Our interactive workshop to align leaders on the key messages, communications approach and their role included explorative exercises, a guest speaker to encourage the mindset of being the most authentic version of themselves as well as plenty of time to practice having great conversations.

Stantec purchased PBA in September 2018 and PBA’s culture remains an important factor
considered as part of their day-to-day decision-making process.

*Mercer Research Report 2018: Mitigating Culture Risk to Drive Deal Value

If you'd like to understand this project or our approach in more detail,

email or call 023 8082 8505

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