The Bayer Voice
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

The Bayer Voice

Bayer US composed a positioning statement that has faithfully guided its sweeping identity campaign. The centerpiece of the campaign—both for internal and external communications—is a concept that we call The Bayer Voice.

Paul Holmes


The Bayer Voice is the words, images and visual style that capture Bayer’s unique personality. The brand image reflected in these materials was developed over the course of two years, and has successfully captured the minds of opinion leaders, and the hearts of Bayer employees.


Bayer AG is a global research and manufacturing enterprise headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. With sixteen business groups located on six continents, the Bayer name is recognized worldwide as a leader in agriculture, chemicals, manufacturing, healthcare, consumer care, polymers, colorants, coatings and more.

Bayer has been operating for decades in the United States, but it wasn't until 1995 that US operations were finally consolidated under the global Bayer brand. Until then, Bayer in the US had been operating under various subsidiary names.

As the Bayer brand unfolded throughout Bayer US operations, it became clear that the Bayer name and Bayer Cross logo was synonymous with—and limited to—the Bayer Aspirin brand. To address this perception, in 1997 Bayer US undertook a strategic, holistic branding and positioning renewal that would ultimately impact business opinion leaders, Bayer management teams, and Bayer employees nationwide.

After completing internal and external research, Bayer US composed a positioning statement that has faithfully guided its sweeping identity campaign. This successful campaign is currently in its second round. The centerpiece of the campaign—both for internal and external communications—is a concept that we call The Bayer Voice.

Challenges In 1997 when the Bayer Voice branding campaign was undertaken, Bayer US was perceived among opinion leaders to be a single-product Aspirin company. The underlying strength and breadth of Bayer’s intellectual and manufacturing assets was obscured in the eyes of investors, analysts and business leaders. Corporate communications in the US were emanating from many sources without a single direction, identity or vision. As a result, our face—both to ourselves and to the world—was fragmented and unclear.

Internally, Bayer employees and managers had difficulty distinguishing between communications from various business units, Bayer US, and Bayer AG communications—which all took different approaches. Bayer’s personality and strengths were not reflected in a unique look and feel that would let corporate communications stand out with clarity, credibility and authority.

Finally, Bayer US’s fragmented image was impairing our ability to compete effectively for new talent. An unfocused image masked the richness of opportunity afforded at the numerous Bayer US business units.


At the beginning of 1998, Russell Marketing Research Inc. and Bayer US communications completed extensive research on our businesses and culture. Out of this primary research, a few core ideas were identified that formed the basis of the positioning statement, which was drafted and finalized by the beginning of 1999.

These core themes were simple but compelling high notes that united the diverse US operations. Even though our businesses are diverse, these themes place sharp focus on the shared values that makes Bayer uniquely effective. Simply put, the research showed that Bayer comprises talented individuals whose dedication, persistence, innovative thinking and pride in their work is manifested in the positive ways Bayer products and solutions touch people’s daily lives.


The strategy for launching the Bayer Voice was two-pronged. It would be circulated externally in print and television advertising, but also adopted internally for corporate communications across all business units.

The external print and television advertising was placed in media likely to be seen by senior level management, customers and investors. There were four television spots and a series of print ads that ran over a six-month period starting in 1999. Three new television spots were developed and run in 2000.

The Bayer Voice was launched internally with a corporate film and collateral materials designed to create excitement and immerse the organization with the new branding.

Following, the Bayer Voice was systematically and faithfully applied to all new employee communications. Finally, in order to assist communications managers across the organization, the Bayer Voice was codified and disseminated through an electronic, interactive style guide that helps communications managers fully understand and produce quality branded materials.


From an external perspective, corporate awareness of Bayer as a result of the Bayer Voice campaign has been steadily gaining ground. Russell Marketing Research Inc. reported that awareness in the opinion leader category rose from 10% in August of 1999 to 24% by the end of the year 2000.

Internally, the Bayer Voice has revitalized employee interest in corporate communications, established credibility, and reinforced Bayer unique personality across the organization.
The Bayer voice was applied to its engineering recruiting materials, leading to a highly successful recruiting season as compared with the previous season. In fact, after seeing the new materials, Bayer engineers who had not been involved with recruiting activities for years became inspired to clear their schedules and go out to help recruit the next generation of talent to Bayer.

comments powered by Disqus