A new branding
Reveals the true spirit of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, launched a completely new and unique brand design in autumn 2015. Appealing to people’s emotions, the new branding symbolizes the company’s transformation from a traditional supplier of pharmaceuticals and chemicals into a global science and technology company. But what exactly does this mean?
How does a company such as Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, manage to reveal so much of its DNA at a glance? Through its brand design, of course! This refers to everything that emerges from the company — ranging from products and packaging to letters, brochures, image libraries, business cards, websites, and social media marketing. Branding is the complete world of shapes, colors, symbols, and language that represents a company both internally and externally.
Just as every fragment of a hologram contains the entire image in a lower resolution, every module of successful branding also reflects the convictions of the entire company. The brand thus becomes valuable in itself. An example of this is Apple, which has a brand value of approximately US$ 250 billion and topped the list of the brand value rankings “BrandZ™ Top 100” for 2015, which was compiled by the market research company Millward Brown. This is only possible if the brand design encompasses every aspect of the company and corresponds to its aims.
Branding reflects the company’s transformation
The last time Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, redesigned its branding was in 2001. That branding reflected the traditional pharmaceutical and chemical company Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was at that time. Cold, distanced images were meant to appeal to people’s intellect rather than their emotions. Most of the other companies in the sector were taking more or less the same approach. As a result, to outsiders, the brand identities of all of these companies appeared much the same, dominated by laboratories and technology and featuring a modest color palette. These companies were anything but different.
However, there were also other reasons for Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to show that it is different from other companies in the sector. That's because it has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. It is now a science and technology company that has established itself in global high-tech sectors through its highly specialized products such as biopharmaceuticals, drug delivery devices, filter and analysis systems, and display materials. As a result, the company’s mundane and matter-of-fact image no longer accurately reflected the ways that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, products help, affect, and inspire millions of people every day. In addition, it offered only a very pale impression of the enthusiasm with which all employees drive the company forward and benefit its customers.
The “Vibrant M” embodies everything that the company is
However, this commitment and enthusiasm are now visible thanks to the new branding. It is a creative emblem of the company’s identity, and its message is “We are Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a future-oriented company that improves the lives of people through technological progress.” This message is reflected in all the elements of the new branding — not only the logo and color palette, but also the cells, strings and mercrobes that were inspired by the colorful and multifaceted shapes seen under a microscope. The cells form the design of a page, a poster or a shape. They are connected with one another and sometimes layered as well, while individually shaped colored strings are the visual expression of playful energy. And the mercrobes, which recall the structure of diatoms, are large three-dimensional objects that bring the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, brand to life. They express our culture of exploration and discovery.
In addition to the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, logo, the company has introduced a striking "vibrant M". It indicates that businesses and products are part of the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Group, irrespective of company names and regions
© Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
All of these elements — combined with an image library that appeals to the emotions — make every appearance of the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, brand unique and clearly set the company apart from all other companies in the sector throughout the world. Finally, the “Vibrant M” unites on a global scale everything that the company is and that is associated with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. It not only represents the company’s six businesses, but also distinguishes Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, from the U.S. company of the same name, which only operates in the pharmaceutical sector. The latter company was a subsidiary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, until just before the end of World War I. At that point the company, including its name and trademark rights for the United States and Canada, was expropriated.
Since 1955, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has no longer been permitted to operate in the United States and Canada under its brand name. However, it can do so in all of the other 191 countries of the United Nations. Conversely, the U.S. company, which is based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, is permitted to call itself Merck only in the United States and Canada. In all other countries, it operates under the names MSD or Merck Sharp & Dohme. However, this distinction is not always clear to the public. In this respect as well, the new branding of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will create the necessary transparency.