Pfizer, the company behind Advil and so many other well-known over-the-counter medicines, has recently rebranded itself to reflect its mission as a trusted pharmaceutical research company. This rebranding comes in step with its development and release of a vaccine for COVID-19 after 70 years of branding consistency. The new-look reinforces Pfizer's focus on science and research, styling itself as a leader in medicine and immunology rather than as a quiet but trustworthy vendor of common analgesics.
What are the new brand elements that contribute to this message, and what does it mean for the future of this pharmaceutical behemoth? We'll discuss the relevant branding practices at work here, as well as how this change is likely to affect the Pfizer house, including all of its subsidiary brands.
Who is Pfizer?
Pfizer has held the same branding for 70 years. Their primary branding element is their pill-shaped logo, which is common to most of its subsidiaries, including the iconic Advil.
At this point in time, Pfizer has released a vaccine for COVID-19. In step with this shift in mission priorities, their corporate visual identity has changed to reflect their strength as a pharmaceutical research institution rather than as peddlers of an innocuous over-the-counter pill.
Current Branding Practices
The Pfizer house of brands currently employs a very simple pill-shaped container around a crystal clear logotype of the brand name. As the main branch in this house of brands, Pfizer follows this very straightforward strategy.
Until now, this consistency in their branding has afforded them a lot of cross-brand awareness from their customers—that is, users of Advil will easily recognize Robitussin as having the same straightforward reliability that the Pfizer brand signals.
Pfizer's new branding does away with the pill shape altogether and adds a double helix as part of its logo. Their new mission lies within the realm of immunology, which calls for a more serious visual vocabulary. The double helix is a longstanding symbol for the medical field, and this endurance is reflected in Pfizer's stepping up to the challenge of COVID-19 with their many years on the forefront of medicine.
Pfizer has chosen blue as the color to represent itself in the corporate arena. In fact, it's doubled down on blues with a vibrant second tone to show the vitality of its new endeavors. Blue is a very stable color, one that's preferred by medical, financial, and security industries to represent a baseline of sorts to their clientele. It's a color of a calm collection in the face of our daily worries surrounding the novel virus.
The typeface chosen by Pfizer was NotoSans, a font developed by Google on its web fonts platform. It was chosen as a clear, direct, and trustworthy option that is instantly recognizable and readable by the general public.
There is not a shred of confusion, inconsistency, or doubt about Pfizer's new branding. The whole operation seems to be vacuum sealed for freshness, preserved to endure for view. It's the perfect strategy to get customers on board with their new vaccine, which some people might shy away from while it is still so new.
What Will Pfizer Rebranding Means Going Forward?
For Pfizer, this rebrand will mean a slew of new customers who may not have been aware of their vaccine. It will also mean increased awareness of their subsidiary brands (which have not taken after the parent company's branding, in this case). Because Pfizer is opening up as a research company, there will be opportunities for them to start new lines of vaccines or other drugs for over-the-counter purchase.
Because Pfizer's subsidiaries have not taken on after the main house's logo, in this case, there probably will not be a significant change in the customer base of products like Advil. However, if customers who are familiar with Advil catch on to Pfizer's rebrand, there is good potential for them to try other products in Pfizer's portfolio. This is an example of the flexibility of the house of brands strategy: a change in one brand will not disruptively ripple over into others.
There is a lot to be gained by Pfizer from this rebrand, and it all comes with the slightest change in their visual presentation. In the future, you are likely to hear more about them, especially depending on the success of their COVID vaccine (which boasts a 95% efficacy rate so far). Although the company boasts a 171-year long history and 70 years of brand consistency, this change puts them in a strong position among the pharmaceutical world, one which is evolving constantly. This is just one example of the power of branding to change business direction and promote growth.
“Pfizer unveils its first major logo redesign in 70 years" Fast Company Magazine .com
"Pfizer rebrands to mark a “new era” of science and research" Design Week .com
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