Telling a Complex B2B Story With Two Words

Contributed by:

Andrew Schultz, VP, Brand Strategy, AmerisourceBergen and Matt Webb, VP, Marketing Strategy, AmerisourceBergen

NOTE: The content below contains the first few paragraphs of the printed article and the titles of the sidebars and boxes, if applicable.

The journey to a complete ad campaign taught us that we need to think differently about ourselves in order to allow our customers to think differently about us. We took a four-phased approach and sought the counsel of agencies partners and perspective from our associates along the way.

The average medicine cabinet contains many brands. AmerisourceBergen is rarely among them yet often plays an important role in filling the cabinet. While AmerisourceBergen does not prescribe the medications or manage a patient’s treatment program, our work is critically important to the healthcare industry. To continue to demonstrate how AmerisourceBergen is shaping healthcare delivery, we took our complex organization and created a cohesive way to describe the essence of who we are, what we do, and the value that we provide to our customers.

Our essence is interconnected stories about the layers of our business with vibrant, human examples that show there are two sides to every coin. We used the innovation and creativity we bring to our customers every day and told a complex, B2B business story in a simple, relatable way.

The objective for our first enterprise advertising campaign went beyond awareness to understanding of the breadth and depth of our services and solutions. We set three goals for developing creative content that captured the tone, style and personality of our brand while representing our dynamic business:

»    Tell a clear, compelling and consistent story
»    Define the value that AmerisourceBergen, as one company, provides to our customers and partners
»    Get outside of industry-speak and make our brand relatable to everyone

The journey to a complete ad campaign taught us that we need to think differently about ourselves in order to allow our customers to think differently about us. We took a four-phased approach and sought the counsel of agencies partners and perspective from our associates along the way.

Phase 1: Discover

»    Finding the hidden stories. We fully immersed ourselves: people, services, solutions, challenges, and opportunities. By mapping the verticals and horizontals, deep expertise within the verticals exposed story gems that would allow us to talk differently.

»    Challenge what you know. We had one-on-one conversations with associates — those with 20 years of experience and those with 20 days. Multiple perspectives helped define the “who we are” and “what we do” and how our businesses can work together to serve a customers’ variety of needs.

»    Go outside. We had discussions with our customers. What did they think? What did they already know?  Where are our opportunities? These conversations were critical for thinking and reaching them differently.

Phase 2: Design

»    Invite transparency and support. By design, we involved stakeholders early and often to build support and ambassadors by educating them about what we were doing, how we were doing it, and why it was important. We also determined whose input was needed, how often, and in what form.

»    Set parameters. Everyone’s opinions needed to be heard but not all requests could be addressed. Our creative parameters helped us focus on thinking differently about developing a campaign that would increase awareness.

»    Align to all communications disciplines. A key consideration was “how will we use the advertising campaign beyond advertising?” Our internal and external communications, event marketing, human resources and recruitment, legal, and investor relations teams were invited to leverage the campaign to meet their goals.
Phase 3: Develop

»    Stick to your truths and mission. There were certain truths we stuck to: patients are at the core — our mission is to improve patient lives. We allowed the creative process to flow around our core truth and not confine it to a linear streak.

»    Back up every example. Many of the stories we heard and included in the campaign came from individual business units and our associates. Each execution had to demonstrate how connected and integrated capabilities create powerful enterprise solutions.

Phase 4: Deploy

»    Bring it to life. We recognized a dynamic that captured the full spectrum of our business. The campaign graphically shows how a diverse range of services, skills, and qualities combine to improve patient lives.

»    Reach your audience where they are. We identified the trades our targets read, and also targeted media buys in locations relevant to our target audiences.

The campaign used slightly abstract images that still offered meaning. The content was purposefully selected and artful in its composition and execution. The type presents a point and counterpoint. One is a statement about what people might think they already know. The other is a reflection. It’s a little less obvious and invites the viewer to look closer — not to discover something, but to see what was there all along.

In the end, we combined words like horsepower and brainpower, computers and compassion, and hindsight and foresight to create a campaign that conveyed the dynamism, the duality, the scope and breadth of the skills visually and verbally. We brought people something they hadn’t seen before; gave them a reason to pause and to take a second look.

AmerisourceBergen is driving innovative partnerships with global manufacturers, providers and pharmacies to improve product access and efficiency throughout the healthcare supply chain. The company provides a range of services from product commercialization and distribution to pharmacy, provider and manufacturer solutions to enhance patient care. For more information, visit

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