Telling the whole story
Addressing incomplete corporate perceptions
Allergan was a mature company with success in a wide range of specialty areas. However, Allergan’s blockbuster drug BOTOX® overshadowed the company’s leadership in other high-growth specialty areas. People began calling Allergan “the Botox company” and had no idea what other specialty pharmaceuticals and medical technologies they did. Though the company was composed of six distinct and valuable business units, narrow perceptions limited the company’s proper valuation within the financial community.
We were asked to rebrand the company and tell its story in a way that would highlight all of the successful units of the company while tying them together with shared core messaging. Our aim was to communicate Allergan’s position as a global leader and innovator in a wide range of high-growth specialty areas while maintaining cohesion and consistency.
“It is particularly important now, with Allergan a growing and dynamic company, to maintain a focus on the shared vision and values that form Allergan’s core, that guide us strategically and that distinguish us in the marketplace.”
Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, General Counsel and Secretary
Highlighting a cohesive vision
Asking, “what would the best of medicine look like?” we helped Allergan stand out from its competitors through a fresh creative approach. We used dramatically-lit and closely-cropped images to create an overall impression of bold character and rich storytelling. This distinctive photography became the basis for the company’s brand architecture, and we developed a compelling visual icon for each business unit. These distinct visuals reached far beyond typical industry stock photography to differentiate Allergan and underscore the company’s core positioning.
Hand-in-hand with these visual creative concepts, we developed the full brand platform, including a new positioning and tagline, messaging, design system and image library. By identifying what set Allergan apart, we gave the company a framework for articulating its distinct vision, culture, strategies and business model in a way that resonated with its audiences.
Allergan’s “best of medicine” positioning leveraged the company’s small pharma agility and big pharma resources, as well as its dominance in each of its specialty categories.
Allergan’s superb reputation as a specialty pharma leader, coupled with its distinctive and well-defined culture, helped to shape the company’s brand personality — smart, dynamic, involving, sophisticated and genuine.
Given FDA regulations on pharmaceutical messaging, we knew Allergan faced a particular challenge developing a tagline that would not pose any compliance issues. “Our pursuit. Life’s potential.” reflected the company’s guiding vision — to develop products that help people enjoy life to its fullest potential. At the same time, it avoided making any clear claims that would create issues with the FDA regulations.
Designing a scalable website
We designed a new website for Allergan as a key vehicle to help the company tell its story. In light of a recent acquisition and Allergan’s vision for expansion, we designed the site with a scalable framework to easily accommodate acquisitions. Dominant narrative threads derived from the brand platform all worked together to tell Allergan’s comprehensive story; these included the “best of medicine,” Allergan’s specific definition of “quality of life” and the conceptual idea of “diving deeper.” A rotating banner at the top of the homepage — featuring striking images and statements about each of Allergan’s business lines — gave a quick, comprehensive view of the breadth of the company. The site effectively delivered Allergan’s positioning and key messages to the company’s diverse stakeholders, including physician partners, patients, prospective employees, the investor community and the media.
“An important goal for the website was to make it a true reflection of Allergan’s mission. For example, the site spotlights our focus on patients by including their personal stories and the ways in which Allergan’s products have made a difference in their lives.”
Manager, Corporate Communication
Creating tailored storytelling vehicles
In alignment with the brand platform, we created targeted storytelling vehicles — including annual reports and a corporate brochure — that defined the company’s unique interpretation of “quality of life” for its patient audience. Key components of the brand story focused on Allergan’s history, specialty areas, international presence and guiding principles. The overarching intent was to demonstrate how the company’s products and treatments enabled people to see more clearly, move more freely and express themselves more fully.
Becoming an employer of choice
Allergan also needed to extend its fresh corporate story to its recruitment efforts. We identified the benefits of working at Allergan, defined its internal culture and articulated the breadth of products and opportunities to potential candidates. The recruitment program included messaging, advertising, a trade show booth, collateral, employee referral elements and a candidate kit. For more details, visit our Allergan employee communications case study.
Standing the test of time
The cohesive brand program was embraced company-wide. It promoted the shared corporate vision and helped increase the valuation of the company. Seven years after the rebrand, Allergan continued to use this brand program and was acquired by Actavis for $66 billion. The brand program’s ability to stand the test of time served as evidence that the program successfully captured what the company stood for.
Brand audit and assessment
Brand positioning and platform
Messaging and voice
Brand photography library
Employee and recruiting communications