In the commercial pharma space, there are currently a couple of (once small, but now) rapidly-growing companies that are gaining heft by making lots of acquisitions.
One is Valeant. Maybe I’ll take a look at them another day.
The other is Actavis. Which was once Watson (mostly generic drugs). They bought up several companies with branded products including Forest Labs, then recently acquired the better-known Allergan. Now the combined companies have re-branded with Allergan as the new flagship name (the “Actavis” name will remain with the generic drug portfolio).
I do have some interest in financials and operations, etc.; but I am at heart a branding guy, so when these M&A activities occur, the top thing on my radar screen is the new branding and positioning. I want to see the logo and the messaging and the on-line presentation.
Today, we’ll take a look at the re-launched Allergan. Here is the new look/feel, portrayed on the updated website:
A few reactions:
1. The new logo is…OK. Some logos hint at (or vividly portray) the company name; this one is more on the abstract level. It feels pretty clean and modern. However, from a graphic design point of view, it most likely won’t scale well to small dimensions (see above image, top right).
I always get the biggest kick out of the psycho/creative/marketing babble that is enlisted to describe new logos – these can be some of the most amusing contortions of explanation you’ll ever see – and this load of branding b.s. doesn’t disappoint:
The new icon in the logo speaks to the strength of the Company’s unique capabilities, the energy and passion of its people and its forward momentum. The circular shapes personify movement; purposeful paths of change and growth; growing spheres of influence and ideas; and achievement across brands and generics. The result is a new, momentum-building and accessible visualization that celebrates Allergan’s emergence as a Growth Pharma leader. Together, all united, all moving, resulting in an evolving, growing Company focused on a singular purpose – to power bold ideas in healthcare for people around the world.
(yep – exactly what I was thinking when I first saw the visual!! ;>)
2. The new company descriptor is…all right – even if it’s meaningless. They’ve made up a new category (Growth Pharma) and are planting their flag on this appealing-sounding term. Now, I am all-in on the idea of creating a differentiating niche – but when you see the description of what this growth pharma label purportedly means, it’s all sizzle, not much steak. Nice try, though – an”A” for effort. Better than saying, “Just Another Pharma.”
3. The visual impact on the website home page is…impressive and on-point. Allergan is best known for products that are in the cosmetic area (Botox, Juvederm, etc.) and the depiction of the model (see above) touching her face with a look of great joy is a fantastic choice for their primary market presence. That graphic panel in the center also rotates among other visuals with key messages – it’s quite pleasant and effective. The rest of the site navigation and content is garden-variety decent. But I’m all about putting forth a memorable and pleasing first impression on a major company website, and this one nails it nicely.
The designers counter-balance the touchy-feely aspect with investor-centric info on the bottom of the page, because that’s a critical component in any company re-launch – 9 months from now, that can probably be buried in a sub-section.
The site has good use of white space, and it employs responsive mobile design so that the appearance and navigation work properly on a range of devices. Well done.
What I like about how Allergan did the visuals is that they kept it simple. They focused on their historic sweet spot. As a diversified company with a whole range of products, it would have been far too easy to try to jumble 28 messages at once onto the website – always the kiss of death for effective communication and differntiation. Allergan is far more than Botox. But they’re absolutely correct to boldly go feel-good on the home page.
Branding lesson: lead with your thoroughbred offering and occupy a discrete space in the mind of your audience.