With its Vision 2020 strategic plan, Sunovion had its eye on the future — a future that includes global recognition as a pharmaceutical innovator and leading employer in the industry. The Marlborough, Mass.-based company needed a brand that could help get it there, and make good on its promise to lead the way to a healthier tomorrow.
Sunovion is a relatively new brand, launched in 2010 following Japan-based Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma’s (DSP) acquisition of Sepracor. The company, which specializes in psychiatric, neurological and respiratory therapies, has high-profile brands including the anti-seizure medication Aptiom and the bipolar depression medication Latuda. By elevating its corporate brand, Sunovion would further boost its product brands; it would also raise awareness among doctors, patients, employees and the sea of biotechnology talent congregated in Cambridge, a mere 30 miles east.
Among the most pressing brand concerns Sunovion had to address was its visual identity. The company had outgrown its current system, which was staid and clinical. The task was to reflect the modern reality of a dynamic, approachable, deeply human organization that challenges conventions, pushes scientific boundaries, and recruits some of the most talented people in its therapeutic areas of focus.
At the onset of the project Sunovion — and DSP in particular — made it clear that any changes to certain design elements, all inherited from DSP, were off the table. This included its symbol, primary color, and logo, with its sharp, uppercase logotype. But if one of the strategic imperatives for the project was to signal a transformation in the business and the culture, wouldn’t a refreshed logo represent a powerful device to signal change? The core Monigle and Sunovion teams worked shoulder to shoulder, gradually chipping away at each internal stakeholder with the goal of permission to explore alternatives. The teams correctly anticipated that once leaders saw an evolved logo option side-by-side with the existing one, that the decision would be easy.
More streamlined and legible for a global audience than its predecessor, the customized logotype has curvilinear forms and tapered ends that visibly connect to the symbol, referred to as a prism. The lowercase signals a modern, progressive approach that’s a little less corporate, and a little closer to the patients.
Sunovion did retain its symbol, which served as the foundation for the entire design system. And to complement the refreshed logo and visual identity, Sunovion’s new brand voice conveys encouragement and hope without over-promising. Upbeat, dynamic language and ample use of personal pronouns put the focus on the patient rather than their condition.
From the start, the Sunovion brand team was looking for more than a creative agency. They were looking for a partner to push them to think about aspects of the brand they hadn’t considered. They were also looking for guidance on how to manage the brand once the visual and verbal identities were complete. With a strategy in place to facilitate the consistent application of the brand, Sunovion employees around the world would be able to apply the brand to its intent — and thereby amplify it.
A new brand center, built on the BEAM platform, provides Sunovion with a tool that makes it easy for employees of all levels to learn about the brand and use it. Key highlights of the brand center include:
- A showcase featuring best-practice examples of the brand in action
- Training videos, produced in conjunction with Monigle, on how to apply the brand across a myriad of applications
- A dynamic collateral builder that allows employees with low design skills to self-serve and customize their own on-brand materials including posters, flyers and sponsorship ads
- Assets that connect to the Vision 2020 goals
In addition, a brand champion program ensures that not only do select Sunovion employees stay up-to-date on latest best practices, but their peers also know who to turn to whenever they have questions or need assistance on anything brand-related. The foundation of the program was built throughout the initial strategy and creative work, thus ensuring broad buy-in from the start.
“Monigle lead Sunovion to a modern corporate brand. The team was excellent at guiding us throughout the project.”Zachary Randles-FriedmanDirector, Corporate Branding and Digital Communications, Sunovion
The brand refresh has helped to elevate Sunovion to play a broader, more prominent role relative to its product brands. The company’s marketing and communications employees are now working toward a shared goal. And the company has launched its brand to the world in a big way in the form of a partnership with the Boston Red Sox — the brand prominently featured on the center field wall at one of the world’s most iconic sports venues. This is just the beginning for Sunovion in its quest to establish global awareness and reinforce internal pride and perception, all in service of leading the way to a healthier tomorrow.
Based on sales, Sunovion is the second-fastest-growing pharmaceutical company in the U.S.
In acquiring Sepracor, DSP not only gained its drugs and other intellectual property, but also an avenue for the Japanese company to market its drugs in the U.S.
One in four Americans over 18 suffer from a psychiatric disorder, including bipolar, schizophrenia or ADHD.
Six months after launch, it was evident that users around the globe, across all levels and functions, were engaged with and using the new expression of the brand.
“Sunovion could not have been happier with Monigle’s work on the corporate rebranding project. The feedback and reaction our company has received about the end product Monigle produced exceeded my expectations.”Zachary Randles-FriedmanDirector, Corporate Branding and Digital Communications, Sunovion