MERCK is a vibrant science and technology company, a leader with a loud voice in the pharma industry. Every year, the German team meets in celebration of last year’s success and in joining forces for an exciting upcoming year.
In 2019, MERCK briefed our Brand Comms Unit to organize Bemerkenswert, a memorable and heartening gathering that would strengthen and energise the team for 2020. So we got right to it!
Just a year later, in August 2020, we won the pitch again with our Stronger Than Yesterday concept. Whilst initially planning the annual MERCK meeting as a face-to-face event, the pandemic threw an unforeseen wrench into our plans. Nevertheless, we swiftly adapted and reconfigured, hosting MERCK’s very first digital conference including all their employees from the medical field and office.
Responsibility is a core value for MERCK, one that transpires in everything they think, do and achieve. Company ethics have a lot of seriousness to them; therefore, we decided to counterbalance this feeling by giving participants some freedom in choosing the activities and the talking sessions that they wanted to be part of.
For Bemerckenswert, to encourage a playful approach our team designed and implemented seven unique sessions to boost the team’s connection and creativity: From tape art to flying drones to inventing a company song. A festive dinner event with a live band and an award ceremony elevated the entire experience.
Stronger Than Yesterday, however, functioned strictly on digital grounds. The core concept of the conference was to focus on 1. togetherness 2. the silver linings/positive outcomes brought by change; 3. the new skills that employees learned and/or improved throughout the pandemic; 4. celebrating both individual and company goals achieved last year despite difficulties; 5. encouraging new challenges and discussing 2021 strategies and goals, with an emphasis on sustainability and resource awareness.
MERCK’s Annual Forum is the only event that brings together the German team, which is more than 320 people. This is where the sales force meets the back office team, management meets trainees and oncology meets neurology. A time for sharing ideas, boosting creative energies, and showing gratitude for the fantastic work of the entire team.
Annual company meetings have a lot of expectations for them. Imagine you only meet once a year with everyone who is working in the same company as you are: It can be both exciting and slightly uncomfortable.
In preparation for Bemerkenswert, we focused on a human-centered approach. Our team organized all the details so that everyone could feel part of the event, acknowledged, valued and safe. Positive brand messages would create a consistent narrative along touch-points and give people a sense of pride for being part of the company. At the same time, different activities sparked curiosity and encouraged team spirit.
The team not only designed the entire experience but also managed all the logistics, registration, signage and a network of stakeholders. Our dedicated unit for presentation design elevated the speakers’ performance with engaging, well-crafted messages and on-screen presentations.
For Stronger Than Yesterday, on the other hand, we developed a digital event platform that tailored to Merck’s needs. We implemented a live broadcast of the event from a studio with a main stage and LED wall; digital workshops – storytelling & social media and graphic recording; yoga and mindfulness sessions; VR sessions; and various Merck speakers focusing on learning new skills, such as Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and guest speaker Ralph Goldschmidt. We further organized all participants to receive event packages with useful items for the conference and workshops. Overall, Stronger Than Yesterday showcased our digital savviness and innovative approach to embedding tech-focused and interactive solutions to our creative concepts.