50,000 employees
become brand ambassadors

How do you communicate a new brand strategy and an attention-grabbing corporate design to 50,000 employees in 66 countries? How do you reach all employees, taking into account their different functions, cultures, ways of working and perspectives, and sensitize them to the brand? The answer: With a global employee campaign that gets them involved from the start and turns them into active brand ambassadors.

In the course of a worldwide recruitment program, 56 "Brand Ambassadors" were selected to describe the change of perspective from the "old" to the "new" MERCK brand with a personal statement about their particular area of activity. A team of photographers and editors traveled around the world, talking to lab employees, technicians, and CEOs about what they like best about the new look and how the brand and brand values resonate in their everyday work. The result is a campaign that highlights distinctive personalities and values in a new brand design.

Communication strategy, campaign design, brand implementation, employer branding

"Merck's new brand mission statement 'Fascinating, living science and technology' introduced a radically renewed corporate identity as well as a transformed self-image that also needs to be communicated internally - to more than 50,000 people in 66 countries. The quality of both the developed communication strategy and the resolve with which it is being implemented are impressive."

Employee campaign

"I'm not an assistant - I'M a manager manager." "I'm not just researching - I'M making a difference."
The statements, matching the respective area of activity at Merck, express strength and self-confidence and include a clever twist on the content. The "colorful M" and the characteristic Merck typeface connect all 56 motifs, which appeared in seven different languages, both digital and analog. Postcards and screen animations were also created for more exposure.

A coffee table book summarizes the entire campaign with all the different motifs and facts in a full-size illustrated volume.

Brand anniversary

Launch day for the "I'M Campaign" was the brand anniversary, celebrating the first year of the brand transformation. Posters were displayed around the world from small placards to gigantic wall wraps on the company's premises.
At the closing party, employees around the globe turned into brand ambassadors, both on-site and online. Accompanying the employees throughout the day were colorful cupcakes, desktop and smartphone wallpapers, videos and GIFs.

Social media impact

Over the course of the day, employees posted about the brand's anniversary under the hashtag #vibrantM. We bundled all social media posts into a single social wall, turning many small regional celebrations into one global-brand bash. With 909 mentions, more than 8,000 interactions and a total reach of more than 900,000 impressions, the brand anniversary surpassed typical internal events and was able to generate a social buzz with almost entirely positive connotations under #vibrantM (99.8%).

Brand Champion program

A further cornerstone of internal brand implementation is the global Brand Champion program, in which 250 selected "Brand Champions" around the world inspire their local colleagues with the new brand each and every day. We supported all Brand Champions with welcome packages and "brand espressos" and with offbeat promotional activities and giveaways that conveyed the special features of the new brand in a lively, brand-consistent way. Merck expressed its gratitude to team with the Brand Champion Award, which we designed.

Successful together

Thanks to the optimal coordination of all these efforts, employee referrals increased by 91% from 2014 to 2016. Brand value climbed by 10.1% to just under EUR 1.1 billion in June 2016 (source: Horizon, July 7, 2016).

The success of the internal brand implementation is not only borne out by Merck's motivated employees, but also by numerous national and international awards. Merck, together with Ligalux, fischerAppelt and Fork, earned gold at the German Brand Award and the GWA Healthcare Award, the gold prize at the BoB Award for the best B2B communication, and silver twice at the Transform Award.