‘Innovation, science, humanity’: Why GSK picked Haleon for its consumer healthcare rebrand
As GSK Consumer Healthcare prepares to split from GlaxoSmithKline and make its own way as an independent business, CMO Tamara Rogers explains how the business decided upon its new brand identity.
For Tamara Rogers, CMO of GSK Consumer Healthcare, developing a new corporate identity for a global business operating in as many as 100 markets was both a “massive responsibility” and “the best job ever”.
After 11 months of testing, retesting and rigorous legal processes, the consumer healthcare division has settled on taking the new name of Haleon when it demerges from pharmaceuticals business GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) later this year.
Haleon will encompass a portfolio of international brands including Sensodyne, Voltaren and Panadol. The demerger is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
“We wanted to make sure we came up with a new corporate name, but also an identity that truly represents who we are and what we want to set out to do,” Rogers tells Marketing Week.
While the business wants to be known for its credentials as a provider of consumer health products, it also wanted to be known for the “guiding” purpose it unveiled last year –“to deliver better everyday health with humanity”.
Rogers explains: “We wanted a name that has all the power and the authority of being the global market leader, but also has the compassion and the curiosity of a company that operates with humanity.
“I think we’ve really struck the balance well with Haleon.”
GSK confirms marketing leadership of new business
Working with branding agency Interbrand, GSK Consumer Healthcare kicked off its rebranding process with 2,000 potential names.
Then, deciding to do something “a bit different”, the business created several communities encompassing its most important stakeholders, including colleagues, consumers and health care professionals. Digital platforms were developed where Rogers and her team could engage with those communities and share different names, content and the brand’s purpose.
“With all these different names we wanted to know what were their meanings and what were the negative things, because understanding negatives is just as important as the positives,” Rogers explains.
[Consumers] want to make sure they’re buying brands that they feel share their values and they almost want to know the people behind the company as well.
Tamara Rogers, GSK Consumer Healthcare
Through these conversations the list was whittled down to just 20 names, which then went though a “very rigorous” legal process. Creating a new name is “really difficult”, Rogers points out, as finding something that is unique and can be legally protected and trademarked globally in a competitive category is “no small feat”.
Eventually, the business got down to its winning name. Pronounced ‘hay-lee-on,’, the name has been created by merging the words ‘hale’, meaning in good health, and ‘leon’, which is associated with strength. The etymology therefore had a “strong connection” to the brand’s purpose of everyday health and humanity, Rogers says.
“In the naming processes I’ve been through in the past, the one you fall in love with at the beginning never makes it through. In this case it did, which was just fantastic,” she adds.
“When we put it in front of different audiences, we got back that it was full of innovation, as well as real optimism and science. But also a real sense of humanity.”GSK Consumer Healthcare to be renamed Haleon after demerger
According to Rogers, the speed of the process posed one of the rebrand’s most significant challenges, with the legal team particularly feeling the pressure. However, keen to avoid distracting the business by starting too early, the business allocated just 11 months to the project.
As well as the name, GSK tested as many as six different designs on its digital stakeholder communities. According to Rogers, one of the key aims was to create a design which made people feel the “ambition” behind the business.
“Whether it’s our consumers, whether it’s our colleagues, whoever we touch with this brand, we want them to feel like they’ve got to sit up a little bit and live up to this ambition,” she says, adding that colleagues have already told her they feel like “even more is possible now”.
That sense of ambition comes through on a number of the design elements, she explains, particularly the green “baseline” in the middle of the letter E. When in animated form the baseline moves dynamically, which “really signals the positive steps forward we want to take on everyday health journeys”, Rogers adds.
Altogether, she believes the logo is “strong, sincere and authentic”. An additional design element for the visual identity is a metric graphic, which points to the science of tracking, assessing and improving.
“I think both those two things together really inspire a sense that we want to do something really fresh, different and with high ambition,” she adds.
Rogers and her team have also created a new piece of sonic branding for Haleon to replace the GSK “heartbeat”, which currently appears at the end of all communications across the portfolio of brands.
The future of the brand
Earlier this month, GSK confirmed Tamara Rogers will retain her role as CMO of Haleon after the demerger and would take a seat on the executive team alongside CEO designate Brian McNamara.
Rogers oversaw last year’s introduction of the consumer healthcare business’s new purpose-driven brand strategy ‘Brands with Humanity’, which sought to bridge the gap between selling products and solving problems by using what GSK described as a more compassionate, data-driven approach.GSK unveils purpose-driven strategy as it moves away from functional messaging
As this strategy was devised with the split already in mind, it will remain the purpose and strategy of Haleon as it rebrands. But there will also be a renewed focus on building a new culture and behaviours within the company.
“Culture makes a company. What is our strategy, our culture and our behaviour? Those are the really key elements that will fill Haleon up with even more meaning,” Rogers says.
“Deep human understanding and trusted science combined is a real strength of ours. So that was something we wanted to make sure we carried forward.”
Rogers describes three behaviours the new business will ask of its employees – “do what matters most”, to “go beyond” and to “keep it human”.
We got back that it was full of innovation, as well as real optimism and science. But also a real sense of humanity.
Tamara Rogers, GSK Consumer Healthcare
This week’s rebrand announcement brings together the different “jigsaw pieces” set out across the last two years in strategy and culture under one new corporate identity, she explains.
Moving forward, the priority will remain investing behind Haleon’s portfolio of brands, although the business is planning a corporate communications programme for healthcare professionals who are closer to the parent brand.
However, Rogers argues that consumers are increasingly looking to align their values with the companies behind the brands they buy. As a result, Haleon is developing a messaging strategy for consumers as well.
“They want to make sure they’re buying brands that they feel share their values and they almost want to know the people behind the company as well. So actually having meaning in your corporate identity really matters today, as well as being really clear about what your values are,” she explains.
In the short term, Rogers’ priority is to “calm everybody down”. Within the business, excitement has been such that colleagues are already asking to change their email footer and post content with the new branding.
“It’s super exciting to be here, but we are not Haleon until we split,” she adds.
“The immediate priority for now is to continue building the brand and continue sharing it with all our colleagues so they understand what it is. But then we have to refocus back on the day job and make sure we’re building meaningful brands with humanity.”