Bristol Myers Squibb Rebranding Signage Around the World

Bristol Myers Squibb

The Situation

Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS), the biopharmaceutical powerhouse, planned to update its brand. Management wanted to better communicate BMS’s mission to transform patients’ lives through science. Through collaboration with Siegel+Gale, the global branding company, BMS produced a striking and modern new identity. This new brand had to be represented in a high-quality, consistent way around the world. So, even before the new brand was finalized and announced, BrandActive was brought on board to help scope, plan, and launch the rebrand rollout, with an emphasis on exterior and interior signage. For life science companies, signage is a key branded asset—and it’s both complex and expensive to plan and implement.

The Challenge

BMS operates 180 facilities in over 50 countries and faced myriad challenges. Among them:

  • The company last rebranded in the 1980s, so no one at BMS had ever estimated the cost and effort needed to rebrand all signage.
  • BMS had already announced the acquisition of Celgene, a major competitor, so the rebrand program had to include its operations as well.
  • The striking choice of material for BMS’s monument signs – specially-cut tempered glass – was tested to be proven under extreme heat and freezing conditions. In areas of frequent earthquakes, the signs were re-engineered using materials other than glass.
  • While the timing was tight from the start, the disruptions of the pandemic put extra pressure on the team to deliver this highly visible initiative.

BrandActive helped BMS hit every mark for quality, completeness, and timeliness, all around the world.

The Solution

BrandActive knew the best place to start and exactly how to go about this project. We were able to plan and manage key workstreams related to rebranding global signage, from pre-planning through installation.

Create detailed sign standards, technical specifications, and sign families: Working with BMS and Siegel+Gale, BrandActive refined the details of the sign standards and families, then created detailed specifications for each sign type.

Prototype signs: We spearheaded prototyping for specialized signage such as the unique tempered glass monument signs. During prototyping, we solved tough challenges including illuminating the purple color palette consistently in both daylight and nighttime hours.

Scope branded assets and estimate costs: We gathered data and computed a comprehensive cost estimate including everything from sign manufacturing to local permitting and installation. Our knowledge of global signage paired with high-level location data from Celgene made it possible to accurately estimate costs for Celgene sites as well.

Align the global team: Implementing the program locally required BMS employees’ input at most locations. We designed work and approval processes to help this extended team work together.

Craft a vendor strategy and global RFP: To ensure quality and cost control, we created a global RFP, inviting large national and regional vendors. Based on our analysis, we developed a specific vendor strategy for each global region. The global RFP required potential vendors to submit detailed cost estimates by region, which helped BMS better manage the budget.

Establish timelines and prioritize efforts: BMS identified priority locations for signage. We created temporary signage at some locations and fast-tracked manufacturing and installation of permanent signage at larger, prioritized sites. While the pandemic was disruptive, BrandActive innovated techniques and applied workarounds to hold to the timing.

Manage and report on sourcing and installation progress: BrandActive assumed day-to-day tasks including managing vendor activities and reporting progress via a real-time dashboard.

The Results

BrandActive helped BMS hit every mark for quality, completeness, and timeliness, all around the world. Implementation at the sites started in October 2020 and within one year the installations were already 90% complete. Despite the disruptions of COVID-19, all signage was rebranded within 18 months. During the project, even the CEO of BMS commented favorably on the signage. BMS appreciated BrandActive’s deep expertise, meticulous planning, and responsiveness. The BMS team was able to focus on their regular day jobs knowing that the signage program was meeting and exceeding expectations.