Earlier this year we wrote an article on outsourcing for the May edition of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer (PMPS) magazine. This is something that we are very passionate about, as we believe that outsourcing in key areas such as compliance can significantly reduce costs whilst increasing the efficiency and integrity of the entire supply chain.
From Humble Beginnings
Sitting at my kitchen table on a sunny May morning in 2011, ASC was born. I had a client who wanted me to do a project, and after a break from the corporate world to raise my three children it felt good to be back. But first, I needed to register my business and took all of three seconds to consider a name. My name was Amy Shortman and so Amy Shortman Consulting it would be. My mind was solely on the project, not developing a business or brand.
My haste did not stop there. I knew I needed a logo, but instead of considering my options I simply went with a “friend of a friend”. I had been working with my children’s preschool to raise funds for a vegetable patch, and the logo for that had been designed by the sister of one of the other mums. I must admit that I lucked out here, as Rosie was actually very good and the ASC pill logo was created. And for many years, it served me well.
An Image Speaks a Thousand Words
However, it didn’t take long before that initial project was followed by a second, and a third, and soon I found myself eager to expand. ASC has grown over the past 6 years in ways I could never have imagined when I first registered my company, and we now have several associates working on a much wider range of services. And as time went on I became increasingly aware of just how ineffective our branding was.
At a conference in 2015, I found myself looking at our logo on the list of presenters and I knew that something had to change. Sitting alongside the likes of Amgen and GSK it looked weak. It was also leading to confusion over what we actually do – people thought we were a logistics company, rather than independent experts who work with all major stakeholders within the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Logistics Industry. This meant that we were missing out on potential contracts, simply because our logo wasn’t right.
This was quite a revelation to me. ASC was established because of my existing reputation within the industry, which had led to that very first project. And for a while that same reputation helped me to build the company into what it is today. However, those who didn’t know me or my associates personally had no idea of our area of expertise, or the highly dedicated service we provide as we become an “extension of the team”.
The Rebranding Process
One of the great things about being a small company is that the decision making process isn’t overly complicated. I decided we needed to venture down the path into the world of “Rebranding”, and so we did. I wanted a brand that immediately reflected what we do, how we do it, and also why we do it. Explaining pharmaceutical logistics, Good Distribution Practice, and supply chain security is never an easy task – we are passionate about our industry but mention the word “compliance” at a party and most people head for the door. Over the years I have developed a way of making it more relevant and relatable to others by explaining the impact poor temperature control or counterfeit drugs can have on the products they have in their own medicine cabinet. And it is that kind of relatability that we wanted our new brand to convey.
So it was an absolute pleasure to work with Stuart and the team at We Launch, who are as passionate about branding as we are about compliance. Our first visit to We Launch took place on a dull January day, where we found ourselves welcomed into a light office that oozed being cool with a hint of hipster. Stuart and his team listened to our vision and assessed our competitors, whilst watching carefully to see how we spoke about our company. They were comparing us to our current brand and then introduced us to a whole new world of “Hero Imagery’ and “Visual Language”. It all seemed exciting and alien to me. Was this too much for my company? Did Stuart truly understand what we do?
A few weeks later we found ourselves back again, where Stuart presented 4 amazing and unique options that nailed precisely who we are and what we do. I was impressed at the skill to see us clearer than we see ourselves. It reminded me that taking time out to reflect and improve is so important. In a small business you often find yourself wearing many hats – finance, sales, book-keeping – and there is little time for the collaborative thinking and strategy that larger companies can afford to spend time and resources on. And it is often tempting to believe that you can do it all, that you don’t need to invest in the finer details of branding and communications. I know I felt that way for a long time.
But at ASC, we are reliant upon companies outsourcing to us, utilising our expertise to improve their business rather than trying to do it all themselves. Sometimes you need to look at the bigger picture and realise that a small investment now will reap much larger rewards further down the line. We took a dose of our own medicine and decided to outsource our branding project to We Launch and couldn’t be happier with the results. We have a logo and brand that define who we are right now, but that has enough flexibility to grow as we do. And the whole experience has made us look carefully at our services and how we communicate this to the world, providing us with a greater vision for the future.
Revealing the New Look
Once we had the branding materials from We Launch, we started on the mammoth task of integrating it into all of our literature and online presence. We officially launched our new website at the beginning of the new financial year and revealed the entire brand at the PCSC Conference in Newark, USA on 10th April.
Attending the conference with a brand which truly represents who we are and what we do was a wonderful feeling. Everything from our business cards to our PowerPoint presentation and video (see above) expressed the same key message – that we take compliance seriously and we want to help others navigate and succeed in an increasingly compliant industry. And this message was well-received by those at the conference:
“At the 2017 PCSC Educational Conference, ASC Associates Ltd. made a timely and important presentation, as well as publicly launched their new brand – both of which were quite well received. The new brand distinctly reflects the critical importance of supply chain integrity – where the three highlighted topics merge, to form the basis of ASC’s mission statement and commitment to their customer base.”
Chuck Forsaith | Chairman | PCSC