BORN works to reposition a lacklustre pharmaceutical brand

BORN works to reposition a lacklustre pharmaceutical brand

The BORN team has recently completed the rebranding of a highly effective topical treatment for cold sores.

Herstat is sold in 12 countries across the globe and is the best-selling cold sore treatment in several markets. While the brand assets have been variously tweaked and updated during the course of the past decade or so, the presentation has remained largely unchanged and looked tired, outdated and, if we’re being honest, indistinguishable in the market place. It certainly didn’t reflect the efficacy of the treatment, the provenance of the product or the core values of the brand.

Probably the best cold sore treatment on the market… pretty awful packaging

To define our direction on a project like this we use a tried and tested formula of brand workshops to help us identify the important factors for positioning. The responses drive decisions relating to fundamental issues such as colouring, use of fonts, tone of voice and, later, the important fine tuning of the brand proposition.

Our brief was to position Herstat globally as a highly-efficacious, premium product within the cold sore market space, a product which the target audience, chronic cold sore sufferers, could more confidently view as the best available over the counter (OTC) treatment across several markets.

We like a challenge

Herstat has yielded impressive results in several clinical trials. The key ingredient, Propolis ACF (a purified extract of propolis, a natural substance produced by bees to protect their hives) is unique to the product and is a potent virucidal agent providing Herstat its significant capabilities in combating the herpes virus.

Plus, Propolis ACF possesses an incredible back story in its discovery by a Polish pharmacologist and biochemist, Dr Zenon Sosnowski, who dedicated decades of his life to researching this amazing bee by-product.

With these attributes singing in our ears, it didn’t take BORN long to realise the origins, and the man behind the creation of Propolis ACF, were key components to the brand and should be highlighted accordingly. This was manna from heaven for our creatives.

Out with the old… in with the new

The original Herstat packaging drew similarities with many other acyclovir-based cold sore ointments on the market and did not utilise its distinguishing USPs as focal points. A barrage of messaging on the front of the original packaging created a cluttered and confused feel. The logo was nondescript and devoid of character or impact.

Our designer decided it was appropriate not to conform to conventions often seen in competitors’ branding and, instead, to create something simple yet sophisticated: a lightened, reassuring tone, incorporating the key ideas coming out of the workshops. We wanted to move Herstat away from the well-worn branding of similar products and make it a stand-out brand which looks and feels high-end, perhaps closer to a beauty product than a clinical treatment.
Our goal was the creation of a simplified, highly-authentic visual identity that conveyed all the brand attributes with a style otherwise missing in the marketplace.

Shifting the alignment

During the research process, the team considered a variety of successful high-end brands of skincare products, including Kora Organics and Pai. These brands put their use of pure, organic ingredients at the forefront of their marketing and packaging and this appears to drive some of their success in another crowded market place.

For Herstat, we opted for a minimalist design, using mostly one colour to bring out the brand’s best attributes. This approach yielded a distinctive feel, which sets the product apart from the somewhat samey cold sore product competition.

By stripping back the text and distilling the core messaging, the rebranded packaging has become more aesthetically pleasing while still communicating the essential information. And our content creatives devised a range of taglines that fulfil requirements for numerous markets across the globe.

The font chosen is ideal for the sophisticated look we wanted to achieve. It exudes confidence but is also delicate due to the serif style and ligature of the ‘e’ and ‘r’ letters. This stylish font helps to create a beautiful logo that can proudly stand on its own without any additional visuals and the product packaging now bears the hallmarks of a strong brand that customers are more likely to feel confident in purchasing.

Choosing a warm yellow as the main brand colour strongly implies the link to bees, honey, hives, and nature – and is not too far away from the colour of the product itself. The combination of one main colour with white keeps the brand clean and modern. These colours move away from the clinical blue of the previous design and instead evoke a clearer sense of positivity and optimism.

And another thing

As part of the project, BORN also created a logo for Propolis ACF to feature on most of the packaging. The small graphic of a bee over the name, to signify the natural origins, completes what could otherwise be an unfriendly, utilitarian logo. Below the logo, the new strapline for Propolis ACF alludes to the extract’s origins in nature and the scientific research behind its discovery: ‘Nature and Science in Harmony’. This strapline encapsulates the new direction of the brand, while the incorporation of Dr Sosnowski’s name in further text elements highlights the brains behind the science.

The overarching logo of a bee combined with a test tube offers a perfect visual representation of Herstat’s core values as a whole. It further alludes to the combination of science and nature at work within the active ingredients.

Another key factor in BORN’s rebranding project has been the reworking of website content to refer to Dr Sosnowski and the production of Propolis ACF, while a series of social posts are also lined up to be released alongside the rebranding launch. Written by our social media experts, these posts will take viewers on a journey to discover how the raw substance collected from hives becomes the extract.

The effect, as a whole

Overall, the rebranding now communicates why Herstat cold sore ointment is an effective treatment and acts as a celebration of how the natural ingredients provide unique healing power, thus instilling faith in the product. By showcasing Propolis ACF on the packaging, we give customers a stronger idea of how Herstat is distinct from other cold sore brands on the market, elevating it above its competitors as a premium cold sore care product.

We’re pretty chuffed with the final results.

Enlist the creative minds at BORN

If you’d like to see how our brand creatives can help you increase your brand awareness by creating assets that convey your company’s values in an original and visually interesting way, get in touch with BORN.

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