Dept. of Learning & Clinical Integration

Brand Strategy, Naming, Visual Identity, Team Training, Web Design, Presentation Deck, Newsletter

In the past, when clients would over-think or get too emotional about a branding decision, we would say (with a respectful smile, of course), “We’re not curing cancer here. Just make a decision and we’ll assess/adjust when we get more information.” For the first time in the existence of our company, that phrase no longer applies. When your client is literally trying to ensure patients are receiving evidence-based cancer treatments to improve quality of life and at times stop the recurrence, every decision matters and time is no longer a luxury.

When the Medical Education and Research Grants division of Genentech contacted us, we were chomping at the bit to dive in. We knew from the first phone call that this team was a different breed. They had an aggressive deadline and we had a lot to learn before helping them build their approach to a new team structure and rebranding strategy.

Genentech by the Numbers:



Genentech is a large organization with approximately 13,000 employees. The department who hired us has a long tradition of being the group who manages allocating resources to approved grant recipients for independent medical education and non-product driven research. In the recent years, however, their team has been restructuring themselves to address the demands of a changing healthcare marketplace and the way it now learns and so did the depth of their services. The problem? Both internal and external partners needed to better understand their full capacity was and how it effectively impacted communities.


Our job was simple: Clarify the group’s message, give them a new name to accurately reflect their work, and create a fresh and consistent visual experience.  We started by gathering information from every team member in order to assess the reality of the brand’s perception from the people who mattered most. Homework was sent out so that we could come to San Francisco prepared to lead a conversation in values, key messaging and goals that would serve to inform our naming suggestions and build consensus with all lead team members on a clear learning and integration strategy. We then spent a half day going through the data and walking through our guided Brand Therapy process. The six lead team members offered opinions, feedback and anecdotes that led to final decisions on what the brand needed to communicate.

On our way back to LA, we crafted a document that gave a summary of the meeting highlights as well as naming suggestions they needed to discuss for final approval.  We then spent a week developing their brand strategy and submitted it to the leadership team for revisions and final approval.

Dept. Name


Dept. Slogan


While even the naming process can take several months as an industry standard, we were able to complete this entire rebrand in 2 short months. The success can be attributed to a collective effort to communicate clearly, work proactively and accommodate in-person meetings. All three elements streamlined the process.


While our Creative Director began work on the foundational identity, our CEO worked with key team members on a didactic format meeting designed to unveil the new brand and train employees on proper execution of the brand’s promise. Training the team was critical to the success of the brand as their understanding would further reinforce the message at every touchpoint.


Once the logo concepts were complete, a team meeting was set on Google+ and we conducted our signature live design presentation. As the team members weighed in on the concepts, we modified the designs accordingly and ended our first presentation with two solid concepts. An agreement was made within 24 hours and we packaged the design for the team’s internal use.





The second piece of this experience was to tackle their online experience. Since Genentech uses an internal portal system for security purposes, we were not able to receive access to the backend of their system. Our solution was to meet via video  conferencing to run through the portal with their IT personnel. We wanted to get a sense for what was possible and design a web experience within the defined restrictions.

We were then flown out to San Francisco to build the portal on-site under the supervision of their secure network.  Our ability to be adaptable and find plausible solutions to deliver a holistic brand experience was possible because of our nimble team and willing clients.

While our Creative Director worked with the IT team to load the portal, our CEO worked with lead team members to craft and format their first newsletter. The all-hands-on-deck approach from both our team and theirs made the launch of their 4-page portal possible within 8 hours.


Part of what we love about our work is that we get the opportunity to meet the real people behind large brands. Going into this relationship, we knew there was a public perception that Genentech was ‘big pharma.’ This industry carries a lot of baggage, some positive… some not.

Throughout the process of working with the Learning and Clinical Integration team, we learned a lot about medical education and the efforts taking place to make sure money is being allocated to learning initiatives and research initiatives that gets information to patients faster. We learned that there is a small group of highly skilled, ultra intelligent individuals within a giant corporation who think it’s absolutely criminal that patients don’t have access to information and are doing everything they can to advance breakthroughs in the areas of oncology and non-oncology diseases. They are some of the most dedicated and passionate people we’ve ever met and we couldn’t be more honored to have been invited into their world.

For more information about how to work with us if you’re a division of a larger organization, please contact us.