Columbia’s ABC Laboratories Rebrands To Emphasize Insight, Outcomes

ABC Laboratories | Photo courtesy of ABC Labs
ABC Laboratories' new branding positions the Columbia company as one that helps clients develop their products from idea to marketplace. | Photo courtesy of ABC Labs

After reorganizing, expanding and hiring a new president, ABC Laboratories decided it was time to rebrand.

The Columbia company, which was founded 45 years ago by a University of Missouri biochemistry professor as Analytical Bio-Chemistry Laboratories, now has more than 400 employees and needed to make itself stand out.

“In the past, ABC has sold its capabilities,” said Kristein King, ABC’s vice president of marketing. “It’s impossible to differentiate based on that because every one of our competitors will say, ‘We have awesome scientists and we’ve got great instruments and superior laboratories.’ ”

Marketing the company as a whole became challenging when ABC Laboratories was split into two divisions in late 2006. But in 2011, the company’s pharmaceutical and agrochemical departments were recombined.

ABC Laboratories first redefined its mission. The company strives to do more than identify, quantify and measure the impact of exploratory compounds. It aims to help pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies develop their products from idea to marketplace.

On its website, the company says its business philosophy “is based on having insight into clients’ development strategies. In our experience, this approach to outsourcing promotes relationships beyond a simple transaction.”

After the rebranding process began in March, the marketing department picked up on that word, “insight.”

The company’s new logo is not a major departure from past designs. The font was updated to look more modern, and a new tagline was added: “better insight, better outcomes.”

ABC Laboratories' new logo includes the phrase, "better insight, better outcomes."
ABC Laboratories' revamped logo includes a new tagline: "better insight, better outcomes." | Photo from ABC Laboratories on Facebook

“With better insights and better outcomes, what we’re doing is having a different kind of conversation with our client about their product development strategy,” King said.

ABC’s new brand was revealed in mid-October, roughly the same time the company announced it would be consolidating its Sacramento, Calif., operations with its Columbia facility. King said the two events were not timed together purposefully — ABC closed the California facility because it could not keep up with the growth in the company’s business.

Rebranding, however, is not something King said businesses should do without careful planning.

“You have to have a really good reason for rebranding,” King said. “You have to understand the fiber of your company and understand how it’s different.”

King said companies run the risk of losing brand equity by rebranding and that companies need to understand the signal of change rebranding sends to consumers.

“If you’re rebranding, you’re saying outwardly that something has changed,” King said. “So whatever it is that’s changed, you have to be able to talk about that in a convincing way and it should be meaningful to your clients.”

Having a clear vision is crucial to both the success of a brand and the overall success of a business, ABC Labs president and CEO John Bucksath said.

“There has to be a vision,” said Bucksath, who took over as president and CEO in September 2012. “That vision has to be one that’s met by the leadership with passion.”

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