Bristol Myers Squibb unveils new branding

The company is also planning to phase out the Celgene name.

Kathryn Metcalfe, EVP of corporate affairs at Bristol Myers Squibb
Kathryn Metcalfe, EVP of corporate affairs at Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb has unveiled new branding elements as it integrates Celgene into the company.

The rebranding, with a new logo and website, is meant to unify the BMS and Celgene brands and reintroduce the company to the market after BMS’ purchase of Celgene.  

“We realized that the deal with Celgene was so transformational that we were starting 2020 with a new company, a new BMS,” said Kathryn Metcalfe, EVP of corporate affairs at Bristol Myers Squibb. “We needed something that was fresh, more representative of who we are and who we will be in the future. So we started from scratch. We didn’t try to put new wheels on to fix something that wasn’t working, we started from ground up.”

The BMS team began the rebranding process last year. It convened focus groups, interviewed employees and met with stakeholders like patients and payers to determine how they saw the brand and what they want BMS to represent, Metcalfe explained.

The new branding includes revisions such as a color change to purple, a stylized hand in the logo, a new font and the removal of the hyphen in “Bristol-Myers.”

Those combined elements reflect the new BMS, Metcalfe said, representing the company’s focus on patients, passion and precision. The team also hopes it helps BMS stand out from other pharma companies and their traditional “corporate blue” logos.

“It’s a personality that is very appealing, human and reflective of who we are,” Metcalfe said. “The color purple is very important to us, it conveys a lot of passion and combined with the hand we’re showing a lot of compassion. We’re excited to have something different than many other organizations in this industry that have more classically leaned into variations on science [in their brands], instead of the human side.” 

BMS is spreading the word about the new brand through its employees, social media ads and other digital efforts. The company is also sharing its message through paid, earned and owned media.

The previous BMS logo was designed in the 1980s, Metcalfe said, when BMS was “a very different company with very different businesses.” Now that it is combined with Celgene, its focus has shifted to innovative medicines.

It’s a bit unusual in the pharma world to do away with a big brand name after an acquisition. Other acquired brands have stuck around for many years after the initial deal, like the Novartis-Sandoz merger in 1996 and Sanofi’s acquisition of Genzyme in 2011.

With the rebrand, the Celgene brand will be phased out. BMS hopes it will unite its employees and present a unified company to the market.

“If you look at the new BMS today, we really are an entirely different company because of the Celgene acquisition,” Metcalfe said. “The new look helps us project our very intense and focused position in the market, it differentiates us in our first year together, and it helps unify our employees behind a single vision.”

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