Using design to engage from screen to shelf

The transition to democracy in Poland touched every aspect of society. The country’s maturing consumer healthcare sector features many global brand names, but one leading brand, Ibuprom, leads a category featuring the likes of Nurofen and Panadol, as well as local and private label competitors. Robert Jurgawka, chief marketing officer at USP Zdrowie, confirms “We play with international chains, in both channels, including Super-Pharm, Tesco and Lidl.”

Private label, however, has introduced a new dynamic, and USP Zdrowie needed to evolve the Ibuprom brand for the changing market. USP Zdrowie’s search for expertise led them to The Goldstein Group, NYC. The impact of this collaboration on the company’s oldest brand also inspired the approach to its newest, Naturell.

Identifying the problem

Additionally, Jurgawka says it was important to move with the times. “We needed to modernize the brand, as the design was not explaining its values and personality.” Balancing the need to refresh Ibuprom’s identity was its strong brand equity. “We wanted evolution not revolution,” he adds, “a design which consumers would recognize, but different and modern.” 

Needing to evolve the brand in a fast-changing market, The Goldstein Group principal Terri Goldstein observed that Ibuprom suffered from private label imitation, but also that a competing product stood out better.

Priorities were reclaiming Ibuprom’s signature purple, and creating a symbol to rival Nurofen’s icon. This led to the design of what Goldstein calls “the speeding bullet,” which denotes fast, powerful relief. This triple-embossed device is color-coded across variants, for better differentiation.

Rebranded product is easier to recommend

Alicja Kolesnik, from pharmacy chain DOZ SA, comments: “The introduction of one consistent pack structure and easy identification of different variants helped our pharmacists to navigate with recommendations to our patients.”

 As Jurgawka explains, “roughly 80% of Polish shoppers have a brand in mind, when they reach the store.” It was important, therefore, to maximize impact right along the path to purchase. “We are very strict about using the brand assets across all touchpoints, including TV, and all instore communication,” Jurgawka adds. “There is huge consistency. The Speeding Bullet plays well in TV commercials, so we copy-paste it into other forms of consumer communication.” ibup

This cohesive brand experience has delivered consistent results, with 5% growth in gross sales value, and market share up by more than 2%. Jurgawka says this is “quite a success considering the leadership position Ibuprom had at the time and additionally a very competitive market with several new entrants.”

New look reflects corporate brand values

Another of USP Zdrowie’s key marketing objectives was to raise awareness of its corporate brand, and become, in Jurgawka’s words, “a branded house, not a house of brands.” This reflects a trend, among CPG businesses, to embrace greater transparency. It was also intended to emphasize the company’s Polish heritage.

The company had rebranded from its original U.S. Pharmacia name in 2010, to break from what Jurgawka describes as “Anglo-Saxon” associations. Previous iterations of the identity had not fulfilled expectations. Goldstein feels that they had lacked grounding in brand strategy (as she puts it, “a brand without a plan is just wishful thinking.”).

Working with The Goldstein Group’s brand matrix provided the basis for design territories, using the agency’s sequence of cognition: colors first, then shapes, symbols and words.. Following competitor analysis, a new color palette was developed for Ibuprom that blends blue (representing trust and confidence) with purple (breakthrough and authority). The new look encapsulates USP Zdrowie’s values, with a circular form that reflects the company’s evolution. A central almond shape alludes to USP Zdrowie as the mother, the caregiver, with twin arms, reaching upward, evoking yin and yang—a balanced life.

One corporate brand but many national heritages

The same depth of strategic thinking and research behind the Ibuprom relaunch has been applied to restaging new acquisition Naturell. An OTC range of supplements, Naturell is a Swedish product line but was already available in Poland. The former, as Goldstein points out, leads “with the formula rather than the brand is a private label strategy.”

Color Crayon Research, where consumers are asked to draw the category from spontaneous recall, identified dominant visual codes, and confirmed low levels of brand recognition. To design the identity, Goldstein looked to Naturell’s Swedish heritage which, Jurgawka says, has “a very specific, positive connotation in Poland.”  The product is also  a “pharmacists’ brand,” which means that pharmacists  are happy to recommend but the products are often stored in drawers, rather than on-shelf. Jurgawka describes this as an “Ah-ha moment,” when the teams realized that the side panels needed to communicate as clearly as the front of the package. With a limited canvas on which to communicate, the Goldstein Group’s designers developed an identity and set of symbols to trigger rapid recognition and trust. The restaged Naturell brand launches in May and is set to emulate Ibuprom success, now that it has the right strategic prescription for success. 

For more information, visit USP Zdrowie:


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