Case Study: Most Effective Agency Collaboration at the 2017 ICE Awards

Case Studies
20.03.2018 11:12

In the past the perception, particularly in Bayer UK amongst its employees and stakeholders, was that they were primarily a pharmaceutical business. The strategic decision made by Bayer, to acquire Monsanto resulted in them repositioning themselves in the UK as the world’s leading crop science business. The launch of the collaboration manifested itself as the Bayer Life Sciences: UK Conference 2017.

most effective agency collaberation
bayer life sciences: uk conference 2017. our passion.
our legacy

The Partnership 
The external agency, Ashfield Meetings & Events, was appointed to collaborate and deliver the creative, production and content solutions.

Objectives The objectives of this collaboration were to build on the brand repositioning as a life sciences business, to communicate what it means to be part of a life sciences business to outline the benefits of being a life sciences business and highlight the difference that it makes to people and animals across the world.

The team also wanted to connect emotionally through a physical experience that motivated and inspired people and to link the Life Sciences theme into the wider Pharma strategy. In order to achieve this they needed to develop a brand theme beyond the conference, which would really engage both the hearts and minds of their target audience.

Considerations In order for the new positioning to be successfully introduced externally it first needed to be clearly communicated, with a sense of unity, across the internal global business. As a UK affiliate the team needed to address this at a local level, communicating what it meant for their staff, what changes they needed to make individually and collectively in order to deliver against and reinforce the new business positioning. They wanted to reinforce the importance of all operating divisions and demonstrate how they could combine and collaborate to help create a world leading life sciences organisation.

Response The team developed a theme for their event: “Our Passion, Our Legacy,” as they wanted to immerse the attendees in the experience to really demonstrate the global challenges and societal needs for humans, animals and the earth. 450 delegates were divided into 5 groups, who were taken directly into an auditorium for an introductory video presentation. The video showed inspirational images, which demonstrated the beauty of nature. Earth was presented as a gift and the script was written to introduce the concept of life sciences and the Bayer’s intention of protecting the future. Following this calm session, the delegates were lead into a tunnel depicting the uncomfortable realities facing mankind. The darkness, oppressive soundscape and flashing images were all designed to make the delegates feel uneasy. The tunnel then led to an experiential zone themed on food, humans and planet earth, which provided the solutions to the challenges depicted in the tunnel. The solutions came from across the Bayer’s portfolio of pharma, consumer, crop science and animal healthcare. Following on from this immersive experience, Ashfield Meetings & Events provided a simple staging solution with crisp, strong imagery to reflect Bayer’s divisional services. The conference agenda was constructed in themes, building on the life science experience lead by a panel comprising the UK division heads. The first day concluded with a poignant legacy activity, which asked delegates to think about the time they had left and what legacy they could leave as individuals.

The Outcome Bayer UK had already built a strong relationship with Ashfield Meetings & Events from a venue sourcing perspective dating back to 2012 where they secured a five-year contract with them forming the launch pad for numerous successful collaborations together. Ashfield Meetings & Events are now a trusted strategic partner adding substantial value to the business.

With regard to Bayer Life Sciences: UK Conference 2017,only 44% of the audience had an understanding of what it meant to be a ‘Life Science’ business before attending conference. After the conference 92% of the audience knew what it meant to be part of a life science business, an increase of understanding by 109%. In addition 87% of the audience agreed that ‘Our Passion: Our Legacy’ made them proud to work for Bayer and 90% left the conference feeling very well informed about the company’s business performance and future.

The Judges Comments Our panel decided unanimously on the winner due to the excellent submission standard that was consistent throughout and the team should be highly commended on the superiority of their entry.

The market background particularly struck a chord with its honesty and directness – the language was powerful in its simplicity and the section was succinct with a measured explanation of the brief with the clear directives and an obvious sense of expectation.

They quoted both the passion that drove them forward but also made clear reference to the requirement for a “legacy”. This was obviously not just a single event but there was a need for a lasting impression, reaching long after the conference.

Evidence of this was detailed while not being over explained – like the entire submission, it was felt that there was a focus on giving concise and well-constructed dialogue that led you through their journey.

To finish, the organising team reacted on historical attitudes and opinions and showed the impact of the content with some amazing ROI statistics. Additional information and documentation cemented any doubts that not only was this event a success but it would lay the foundations for a change in corporate identity and working practices.

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