The global rebranding that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) has been unveiling in recent months today reached Israel. The company reported the launching of its new positioning and visual identity in Israel, including replacement of its logo on all of the company websites and redesigning of the packaging for its drugs. Teva says that the measure is an integral part of its reorganization, to enable it "to operate as a united company, achieve a better business focus, and increase its proximity to the markets, while creating value." Teva found that global awareness of the "Teva" brand was particularly low: outside of Israel, only 2% of patients know about the company, even though it markets its products to 200 million users daily.
Teva group EVP for corporate marketing excellence Iris Beck-Codner says that Teva marketed its drugs in Ukraine under names of a number of brands, among them Teva, Ivax, and Pliva - with the other names coming from companies acquired by Teva over the years. "It does not require a business genius to understand that this chaos must be put in order. Teva has to appear as one company to doctors, pharmacists, and patients, and that generates value," Beck-Codner says. "This cacophony resulted from decades of acquisitions. In most markets, we have a range of brands and identities, so that for the patient, Teva doesn't exist. We're invisible - the biggest secret in the health business."
Beck-Codner believes that the renewed launching of the Teva brand throughout the world will help the company create a common culture and enhance awareness of its activity. "We're implanting a new visual identity and goal-focused global positioning - to be a leading global company in generic and biopharmaceutical drugs and to improve patients' lives," she remarks.
Have the lean years ended?
It is difficult to ignore the background to Teva's measure. The company is now in the final stages of the painful streamlining it began in late 2017 in order to cut costs by $3 billion a year because of its debt ($27.1 billion in net debt at the end of 2018). "The more complicated, difficult, and challenging the business situation is, the more is it necessary to manage the organization. We've been here for 118 years already, and we want to be here for another 118 years," Beck-Codner says. "It’s a focused measure that also saves on costs. For example, in the US, we produced a bottle with three different kinds of stoppers, and now we'll produce one kind - that's optimization."
It was previously reported that the launching costs would amount to millions of dollars and more, but Beck-Codner provides no details about costs. She says, however, that Teva is not going mad and wasting money; it is using its existing resources "in the general course of regular business," for example packaging of drugs that are in any case replaced every few years for regulatory and other reasons. Teva is setting the date of the replacement in each market to correspond to the date on which it would have taken place in any case. Teva will soon embark on a campaign in Israel announcing the change in its packaging, together with providing information and tips about correct usage and storage of drugs. At the same time, Teva is stepping up its digital activity in order to generate a dialogue with patients.
Where Israel is concerned, Beck-Codner says that Teva today is perceived one-dimensionally, and is evaluated primarily by its financial performance. The company wants to position Teva as a health company on behalf of patients. She adds that while the idea today is that Teva commitment to Israel is in doubt, "We have a mandate to get back to work. There's a reawakening."
After several years of distancing, Teva wants to go back to being a significant player in the local biopharma market. The company is now building a model for working with Israeli startups. "All the pharma companies have an entrepreneurial arm in Israel in cooperation with the innovative ecosystem. We have to be there. Teva today is super-precise in its R&D focus, and we look at these areas and hope that we'll make an announcement soon," she says. It appears that Teva wants to help startups grow and commercialize, and wants to benefit from their innovation.
At the same time, Teva wants to strengthen its ties with higher education in Israel. "We believe that there will be amazing news of new cooperative efforts," Beck-Codner says, mentioning projects for attracting brains back to Israel, among other things. Teva is also active in education. For example, Teva employees teach at schools, with an emphasis on the sciences, mathematics, and English.
Another matter emphasized by Teva is the connection with patients and their family members who treat them. "This is an acute subject. I have been taking care of my mother for nearly six years, and it's an extremely tough task, with loneliness and extremely heavy responsibility," she says. "We discovered that most patients are over 50 years old, and the duration of treatment is 3-5 years. Their biggest cry is, "No one sees us.' We, together with the Caregivers Israel voluntary organization, will offer emotional and functional support. We will provide a guide to the bureaucratic maze, for example in employing a foreign worker, and help with a 24/7 support phone line. We will help pharmacists give better support to people caring for family members."
Teva's measure also includes replacing the old logo that the company adopted in the 1980s. "We looked in the Teva archives, and found Eli Hurvitz's original brief about the logo. Teva wanted to be perceived as an authentic, sterile, and clean company. The world has changed since then, and people are looking for a more accessible relationship with the brand. Teva's logo is illegible in English, and when that's combined with a low rate of awareness, it's a problem," Beck-Codner explains.
Teva Israel CEO Avinoam Sapir and director for Africa, Croatia, and the Middle East said today, "In its Israeli home market, Teva is adopting a new strategy in its relations with patients and their support circles, above all the patients' families. Teva's activity in Israel and its commitment to the country and the people living in does not rely solely on making a wide variety of excellent drugs available and supplying innovative drugs.
"Teva continues to strengthen the Israeli community and society through a range of volunteer initiatives with patients' organizations, investment in R&D, educating a future generation of scientists, returning scientific brains to Israel and integrating them in the industry, and various cooperative efforts with higher education and the Ministry of Education. All of these and more will be unveiled in detail this year."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on April 14, 2019
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