Icagen is an early drug discovery partner with deep scientific capabilities and expertise, including integrated early discovery, computational chemistry, ultra high throughput screening, and ion channels / transporters. When we were introduced in 2016, the company had been through some significant and rapid changes. In its recent history, it had been acquired by Pfizer and served as an internal resource, and then it was subsequently spun out again. Then, as an independent entity, it acquired a facility in Tucson from Sanofi in 2016, changing the face of the business with an expansion akin to a doubling in size.
With the changes the company had gone through, independent research and collaborative brainstorming understandably identified that the market was not aware of the scope of the expanded offering, nor was general awareness of the brand particularly high. Where the Icagen brand did resonate, it was for the legacy portion’s expertise in Ion Channels. The goal in evolving the brand, developing a new messaging platform, and building assets and marketing tactics was to establish better awareness and a more accurate market perception of the expanded entity and its capabilities.
The two sides of the business that had come together through the acquisition each brought distinct elements of expertise and specialization. However, there were also great synergies, such as respective long group tenures at both sites, the fact both groups had matured under a Big Pharma banner, and the complementary perspectives and approaches to Target-2-Lead focus in early drug discovery. Our goal was to build on these synergies in representing a unified, single brand with a very rounded capabilities position in terms of early discovery.
Among a traditional research and strategy process, we hosted a combined brainstorming session in our New York office, bringing together equal representation from the teams at both sites. This was a productive method of laying the foundation for consensus thinking within the organization, led by executive leadership vision, and it helped in the process of building positioning and a messaging platform.
As with any exercise focused on brand recognition and recall, consistency is key. So a rollout phase began to see a more all-encompassing and very customer-focused message projected. Icagen is a business full of highly experienced, knowledgeable thinkers, so the positioning of the company is inviting and approachable, reflecting the fact that it doesn’t just offer a menu of services. Prospects can engage with Icagen and share a particular challenge they have, and the multi-disciplinary minds within the organization will look at it from a number of angles, optimizing potential avenues of solution. This is not a cookie-cutter approach and requires careful strategic branding, while also allowing for the potential of further M&A growth.