GSK on the strategy behind its rebranding

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GSK is on a mission to position itself as the pharmaceutical industry leader in science and technology, as it changes its name before spinning off its consumer healthcare business in July this year.

The spin-off will see Haleon, formerly GSK Consumer Healthcare, start a new life as an independent business in the consumer healthcare category, while GSK will become a fully focused biopharmaceutical company.

As such, the company today (June 9) changed its name for the first time in 20 years to reflect the transformation of the business and its strategy, which will emphasize research and development ( R&D) on the science of the immune system, genetics and advanced technologies.

“If we think of Apple or Tesla in their industries, that’s where we want to be. We want to be [seen as] the science and technology leader in the pharmaceutical industry,” Georgie Wiltshire, GSK’s brand implementation manager, told Marketing Week.

By renaming, GSK aims to signal to patients, customers and investors that the company has new ambitions, while respecting the brand’s heritage and ensuring it represents the diverse workforce of people who support it, adds Wiltshire.

“This branding is absolutely meant to bring our ambition to life and really signal that this is a new GSK,” she says. “Innovation, science, humanity”: why GSK chose Haleon for its new consumer healthcare brand

GSK worked with Wolff Olins on the new identity, after seeking a partner to “push us above the sea of ​​traditional pharmacy and make us the innovation leader”.

Rolling out across the company over the next few months, the identity retains the brand name and familiar orange color, but everything else about the logo and brand assets is new and inspired by imagery. found in the biosciences.

According to Wiltshire, the first step in the process was to “really understand” the equity the brand already had, which made it clear that the distinctive orange color needed to stay and provide a layer of “warmth”.

“But what we really wanted our brand to bring to life was our innovation, our science and our technology. It was a huge goal, to steer us towards that,” she says.

GSK is now a very different company than it was when it last rebranded two decades ago, while the digital world has also completely transformed, notes Wiltshire. Creating a brand image that could be flexible across all digital platforms was therefore also essential.

GSK’s highly recognizable plectrum shape has also been replaced with a new sustain shape, known internally as the ‘signal’, which aims to reflect the community aspect of GSK’s ambitions.

Careful attention has also been paid to accessibility, with all assets tested for readability on screen and in print. The identity also contains a series of adaptable 3D forms allowing GSK to shape environments that suit all users.

Wiltshire says the reactions from her colleagues so far have been “incredible”.

“The first thing is the relief that we’re still orange,” she says. “So absolutely people can see that we’re trying to be this science-tech leader in the pharmaceutical industry…but we also still have this warmth, that we’re there for the patients and the people. It really stood out too.

Purpose, strategy and culture

According to Wiltshire, the new brand builds on the transformation “momentum” already set by the company, reinforcing the purpose, strategy and culture set out last year.

GSK’s new goal is “to unite science, talent and technology to outrun disease together”. Or more succinctly, “Ahead Together”.

“It really reflects collaboration both internally – working with diverse people in teams – and externally. Our innovation partners are other academic partners, so unity is something we think is really important to GSK,” says Wiltshire.

“And uniting science, technology and talent is going to be huge for us. The way we focus on genetics and data analysis brings our science to life and enables us to achieve our ambitions.

That goal is “what gets us out of bed in the morning,” she adds — using science and technology to help patients anticipate their illnesses and lead somewhat normal lives.

If we think of Apple or Tesla in their industries, that’s where we want to be. We want to be [seen as] the scientific and technological leader of the pharmaceutical industry.

Georgie Wiltshire, GSK

GSK’s purpose fits into the company’s new culture, summarized as “being ambitious for patients, being accountable for our impact and doing the right thing”.

“Again, they’re really motivated people internally and externally,” says Wiltshire.

But beyond internal resonance, with healthcare professionals and investors, GSK wants its purpose, culture and brand to resonate with its patients. As part of its new strategy, the company has set an ambition to positively impact the health of more than 2.5 billion people over the next 10 years.

“While we don’t speak directly to consumers, we are absolutely a brand for our patients,” says Wiltshire.

” Its a question of confidence. Not only to be a trusted company, but also to be trusted as individuals and to trust the partnerships we select. So the culture really came through in all of our branding.

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