Curious and Curiouser: Merck KGaA's corporate branding push puts inquisitiveness at center stage

Merck KGaA's new corporate campaign taps curiosity theme as centerpiece.

Curious about Merck KGaA's new corporate branding campaign? Or anything else, for that matter? That's exactly what the German drugmaker aims to highlight in its brand-building effort.

Dubbed, naturally enough, "Curiosity," the campaign looks to expand the boundaries of Merck's brand. The effort focuses on digital content marketing, with influencer scientist Carl Naughton serving as a guide on Merck’s interactive website.

“The topic of curiosity perfectly fits to the essence behind the new brand identity which reflects the company’s transformation into a vibrant science and technology company,” Gangolf Schrimpf, Merck healthcare spokesman, said via email. “(The goal is to) spark a discussion within our social communities about curiosity as the starting point of scientific progress and innovation.”

Pharma Marketing Conference

Attend the FiercePharmaMarketing Forum — March 6–7

This event gathers some of the most innovative and creative marketing minds in the industry. Curated to showcase ways to translate big ideas — such as virtual reality, AI, and patient engagement — into action, the program includes expert panels and case studies where speakers from Pfizer, Merck, Facebook, GSK, Regeneron, Takeda and others share their expertise in implementing a full range of marketing techniques.

Merck chose to do social content marketing instead of a classic old-media campaign because the company wants to stand out as a vibrant science and technology company. Digital media fit that image. The choice also reflects digital media's growing importance, Schrimpf said.

To get the conversation going, the company last year formed the “Merck Curiosity Council” with experts in the field, including Naughton, and dove into the topic with formal research. The result was a state of curiosity report. 

The global study found that, while 95% of respondents felt curiosity is at least somewhat important for discovering new ideas and solutions at work, a whopping 73% also said they've felt inhibited about asking more questions in the workplace.

The curiosity website aims to engage key opinion leaders in science and technology, with specific emphasis on Merck's three main businesses: healthcare, life sciences and performance materials. Users can make their way through a curiosity "challenge," following clues and revealing insights about curiosity along the way.

Specifically for its healthcare business, the Curiosity campaign fits with Merck’s belief that curiosity drives innovation, which leads to better treatments for patients.

“With our healthcare business, we are and remain committed to create, improve and prolong life. To be able to do this, we focus on scientific and technological innovation, which are fueled by the curiosity of our people and the partners we work with,” the Schrimf said.