Activating brand intelligence
Parexel, a trusted global research partner to pharmaceutical companies, decided to spin off its Informatics division from the larger company in 2019. The spun-off new company came to us with an opportunity to create its net-new brand, purpose and identity. Parexel had fallen behind competitors that had branded themselves as snazzy tech solutions. The spun-off new company needed to be intentional in showcasing not only its own tech solutions but, more important, how it helps its pharmaceutical and biotech clients get breakthrough treatments to market quickly and reliably.
Our challenge was clear: help the former Informatics division of Parexel effectively communicate how its decades of experience and deep bench of global expertise enables the new company to solve complex problems. The stakes were high. Backed by private equity, part of the spin-off’s challenge was legal and regulatory—it legally could not remain tied to the Parexel brand. Outside of the regulatory challenges, it also needed to make a splash in the industry as a fresh, new, and independent entity. It was time to leave the baggage of a parent company behind and turn some heads.
Through our conversations with stakeholders and customers, we realized that building a tech-focused, jargon-filled brand to echo others in the category wouldn’t work. Brands based around a specific technology will eventually outgrow themselves.
We decided to focus on the people, a plan that would set the company apart for the short term and long term while giving it room to evolve technologically. This led us to a core brand strategy of “activating intelligence”—the idea that intelligence wasn’t just something that lived in the data. Intelligence is activated to help weak treatments fail fast, ultimately getting the best therapies to market for the people who need them.
With the new brand strategy complete, we needed to create a name and visual representation that encompassed the purpose and expertise that the company could bring to clients.
We chose Calyx for the name. In nature, the calyx of a flower serves as the protective covering of the bud and the supportive underlying structure for the bloom. The team at Calyx (pronounced cay-lix) both incubates and nurtures the many dimensions of intelligence to solve complex problems every day.
The Calyx masterbrand logo leverages an angular typeface and letterforms that are reminiscent of mathematical symbols, reflecting the company’s problem-solving intelligence.
Inspired by our strategy and led by a bold ultraviolet color signal, we created a visual identity that told a rich story of natural, scientific and human intelligence and positioned the Calyx team as trusted problem-solvers for their clients, to firmly stand out in the category.
The client’s humanity and confidence radiated from every conversation—but that personality wasn’t reflected in the company’s writing.
The team were ready for a verbal identity to match their expertise and intelligence, reflect the experience that their partners should expect and help them stand out from the buzzword-laden, technology-first communications of their peers. We created a brand voice that bucks boring industry conventions and allows Calyx to express the full spectrum of its team’s dynamic intelligence. To make sure anyone writing for Calyx can bring the brand voice to life, our deliverable included specific writing principles and tactics, as well as brand-level and audience-specific messaging matrixes.