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“There are some challenges that literally push you very close to the edge. You keep on going until you beat them because you cannot let anyone down” BENU / Guerilla Communications

by on August 10, 2012 in Latest News, Lead story, Northern England, Retail, Retail News

Guerilla undertakes international pharmacy rebrand

Madeleine Griffith of  Guerilla Communications writes  ..  There are some challenges that literally push you very close to the edge. You keep on going until you beat them because you cannot let anyone down. Described by some onlookers as euro-mission impossible this is the story of Guerilla’s biggest ever challenge, a battle that lasted a year and one that took us all over Europe in search of the solution.

In June 2010 the call came in from the PHOENIX Group headquarters based in Mannheim, Germany, “We would like you to pitch for a pan-European branding project.  When can you visit us and present your credentials?” The PHEONIX Group, as it transpired, is one of Europe’s largest pharmaceutical wholesaler and retailers with a turnover of €21 billion. The group supplies 70,000 pharmacies, doctors and hospitals in 22 European countries.

The mission was to pitch against five European branding agencies and the winning agency would create a single umbrella brand name and identity solution that would work across all private label product categories, marketing communications, in-store designs and online. We soon found that the task of naming the brand was challenging for several reasons including that the name and identity had to be:

•     memorable and easy to pronounce through all countries with no negative cultural connotations.

•     trademarked in each separate country and URLs needed to be available.

•     applied to a huge and diverse range of private label packaging including skincare, commodities and OTC categories.

•     translated to tri-lingual packaging in which there was pressure on designs due to small pack sizes and legal restrictions on copy.

•     adapted across a wide range (shape/size/age) of pharmacy chain interiors for each country.

Finally, the brand name and identity needed to be distinctive and differentiate from competitors across Europe.

With the scale and complexity of the challenge, the team had to develop the name, identity, trademark searches and linguistic checks all at the same time. Over a gruelling three-month period, the team generated over 1000 potential names and over 10 brand identities.  Most failed to make the short-list because of trademark clashes and cultural nuances that were derogatory. A dark moment came when our fifth name option was found to literally mean “without knickers” in Norwegian.

Eventually we were ready to pitch our ideas to the management team in Mannheim and fortunately our favourite name and identity was chosen as the winner – it was BENU.

The rationale behind the BENU naming strategy linked to the existing PHOENIX Group brand. Our research had identified that there was a mythical bird called Benu, which had many commonalities with the familiar Phoenix. Like the Phoenix, the Benu is a bird of the sun and a symbol of life, energy, re-birth, renewal and regeneration – a perfect symbol for a strong healthcare brand. To complement the name, a graphic representation of the Benu bird was created and housed within a holding device based upon the universally recognised pharmacy cross.

A tri-coloured uplifting bar was introduced to hold information in up to three languages and international pharmacy rebrandwas chosen to deliver a distinctive and versatile family of fonts. Once the brand marque was defined, Guerilla travelled to, and worked closely with, the different country’s pharmacy chains to ensure that the roll-out plan and adaptation of the brand would work seamlessly for each of the countries.

Following this consultation process we developed brand guidelines complete with the brand values and later provided a corporate identity tool-kit and templates to help each country’s respective agency launch the brand. The tool-kit included illustrated examples of all touch points including; stationery, merchandise, packaging, internal communications, training packs, loyalty cards, store fascias, internal store designs, press adverts, DM, point of sale, and consumer facing newsletters.

A large and important part of the BENU launch was the creation and art-working of the tri-lingual packaging, which involved the team working closely with linguistic companies and the legal representatives from the different countries.  The digital team also provided an additional BENU online identity guideline and designs for the individual countries’ websites to ensure that they applied the brand consistently to their own websites.

The Guerilla team continues to work closely with the PHOENIX Group to further develop the BENU brand across all media channels, countries and additional ranges of private label packaging. It has been challenging but, at the same time, a truly rewarding project to be involved in.

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