Investigating and Expressing the Authentic Core of a Botanical Brand

After the first major rebrand in Biocidin Botanicals’ history, the company has seen its flagship product experience double-digit quarterly sales growth, with no signs of stopping.

In the spring of 2022, Biocidin Botanicals launched the first major rebrand in its 30+ year history. With a new brand name and brand strategy, a unique visual language and an energetic voice, Biocidin Botanicals revitalized and elevated its place in the healthcare professional (HCP) community. It also connected directly to consumers in a way that intrigued and enthused them.

The results have been remarkable. For example, the company’s flagship product, Biocidin, introduced in 1989 and a consistent top seller, has enjoyed double-digit quarterly sales growth since the rebrand, with no signs of slowing down.

Profound strategic and creative elements emerged from a multiphase process with Pure Branding, but credit for the rebrand activation’s success goes to the Biocidin Botanicals team and how it has embraced all of these critical tools. Biocidin Botanicals CEO, Maria Ackerman, expressed the mood following the work, “Wow, what an adventure with Pure Branding these past 15 months! I’ve never felt such team spirit and collaboration as I have through this journey! We are over-the-moon happy and grateful!”

Enthusiastic team alignment was essential for a successful rebrand. Equally important was the Biocidin Botanicals marketing team’s discipline and confidence when activating its strategy.

Investigating and Validating the Authentic Core of the Brand

Pure Branding was brought in for a complete rebrand methodology that included Diagnose, Test, Prescribe and Express phases. Unlike its typical rebrand engagements, all interviews and meetings were virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key leadership from all departments participated, and using Pure Branding’s Five Forces approach, which employs a meticulous intake and gap analysis across the categories of Organization, Offering, Trade, Category and Participant, a big-picture, strategic view of the company in relation to the marketplace emerged.

This culminated in four full-day workshop sessions with the leadership team, during which strategic opportunities were identified and brand strategy hypotheses were developed. Biocidin Botanicals leaders were introduced to Pure Brandings’ US Supplement Consumer PureSegmentation research since they were exploring expansion into the consumer marketplace. This was followed by comprehensive market research that validated the strategy with Biocidin Botanicals’ key integrative HCP audience.

“The Five Forces brand opportunity and strategy workshops, along with market research validation, gave us a strong foundation for the next steps in the rebranding process,” said Lisbeth Darsh, Biocidin Botanicals Director of Digital Strategy. “Without those critical steps, we might have veered off in a less fruitful direction. The Pure Branding process kept us grounded while allowing us to explore our brand in new ways.”

Expressing the Big Story about Tiny Things

The next phase of the process was centered on expressing the brand strategy outwardly. Three essential components—the brand narrative, brand communication map and brand book—were developed. These were critical for establishing the brand with its HCP and consumer audiences.

A number of thought leadership and ownable positions differentiated the brand:

  • Thought leader on biofilms: As a brand that has been focused on pathogens since its inception, the opportunity in thought leadership was to own the conversation with greater authority and elevate its clinical expertise in pathogens and biofilms.
  • A natural solution for our time: Biocidin was developed to combat growing antibiotic resistance with a botanical alternative, and with the increase in human health threats that once relied on antibiotics as solutions, the company is uniquely placed as a natural solution for current health issues.
  • Microbes matter most: This is the brand’s focus in its product offerings and essential commitment to human health.
  • The dynamic of opposites: Microbial health requires removing the bad and restoring the good. People want to achieve a balance in their health, but balance implies two sides vying for impact. Embracing the two sides as part of a whole provides a rich source for storytelling.

“These brand elements on their own have little meaning and also could raise regulatory flags,” said Yadim Medore, CEO and Founder of Pure Branding. “By fully integrating them in verbal and visual storytelling that is DSHEA compliant, we had the potential to differentiate Biocidin Botanicals from its competitors while at the same time creating an emotional connection with its customers.”

The brand narrative interwove these elements into a compelling story. The communication map provided the Biocidin Botanicals team with a way to tell the full story consistently, regardless of medium.

“It was clear at this point that we were on the right track,” said Darsh. “The narrative was new and yet fit us already. It was like unrolling a map to find that you were already down the path and nearing your destination.”

Next came the visual representation. Pure Branding brought in Tether, an award-winning Seattle creative agency, to partner in developing the visual language and the brand book.

“We immersed ourselves in Pure Branding’s positioning strategy and quickly found inspiration in the power of the plant evident in all Biocidin formulas,” said Steve Barrett, Tether’s Executive Creative Director. “Diving into design, we developed a logo that put the plant center stage. Seeing the artfulness of a microscopic leaf view, we knew we’d found the perfect way to convey the natural potency of their herbaceous healing blends. Then we made that texture uniquely Biocidin, arraying it in five vibrant gradient colors that represent the five key product categories.”

All new packaging was developed, as was a “Brand Biome,” the guidebook for future activation. All of the pieces within the Express Phase were now ready for activation.

Let the Activation Begin

Launching a rebrand with a new brand name, promise, look and voice requires careful attention. Working with Pure Branding, the Biocidin Botanicals team mapped out a launch plan and brought together its writers for a weeklong content-intensive workshop facilitated by Pure Branding’s Director of Research and Strategy, Peter Littell.

“The content workshop gave our writers time and space to collaborate under the expert guidance of Pure Branding,” said Lauren Wilkins, Biocidin Botanicals Content Manager.  “Through an engaging and dynamic process, we worked together to bring a new brand voice to life. This critically important step ensured brand voice ownership, fluency, and consistency. Over time, our voice has evolved, keeping pace with our brand’s growth and change. But it retains the essence and energy of the original voice that emerged through our rebrand process.”

The Biocidin Botanicals marketing team began putting all of the pieces into place: the website that supported the strategic direction; the announcements to its customers and the trade; the new packaging that expressed the transformative microbial-balancing and immune-supporting formulations; and the new trade show booth and brand videos that demonstrated the wisdom, collaboration and caring that are core to the brand.

“This was a critical step to follow closely, and we relied heavily on what we had crafted,” said Shawnee Mora, Biocidin Botanicals Vice President of Marketing. “The new roadmap acted as our foundation and contained the guiding principles we needed to bring our new brand to light. We now had all the elements to build our creative assets and could execute our marketing and education in a more focused and uniform way than ever before.”

Two Years Out, Still Benefiting from the Same Road Map

It’s not unusual for a brand to lose its focus and stray from its strategic path over time. New people come in and may want to make their mark, or creatives may want to try something radically new. What distinguishes the Biocidin Botanicals team is that they’ve made the strategic road map a critical collaborator within their ongoing creative process.

“The brand road map helped the creativity of our marketing team by providing us with guideposts and bumpers,” said Darsh. “Creative work can sometimes feel like a maze. With our brand road map, it was like having a handy tool to keep us from going down fruitless paths and stop us from bumping into dead ends.”

“The comprehensive foundation we laid while working with Pure Branding continues to be a guiding light, helping us identify opportunities and trends and navigate an ever-changing market landscape,” said Wilkins. “It positions us to respond in ways that are true to who we are with maximum impact, assuring the ongoing benefits of our collective efforts.”

Major Motion Picture Moment

In early 2024, Biocidin Botanicals made an indelible impression at the Integrative Health Symposium’s annual conference in New York City. This is a major conference for integrative HCPs, attended by all of the major HCP supplement brands. Upon entry, all attendees were greeted by a thirty-foot video screen that dramatically told the Biocidin Botanicals story. All of the strategy, all of the creative expression and all of the emotional elements were on full display in a beautiful embodiment of the brand’s purpose of empowering people to protect and support their health in the face of today’s complex challenges.

Donna Putnam, Biocidin Botanicals Director of Events and Public Relations, said, “Since the rebrand, our presence at industry events is elevated in every way. It started with our stunning new booth, which caught the eye of attendees and increased foot traffic. Our updated design aesthetic, our rise as thought leaders, and our cohesive messaging – all resulting from our work with Pure Branding – have helped us confidently take advantage of opportunities like being featured on the video wall at one of our industry’s biggest shows of the year.”

This film, the brand’s continued growth and the cumulative sense of purpose within the company have all contributed to a brand that is now recognized as a natural solution for our time.

One of our rebrand’s most significant and impactful results had nothing to do with the creative itself. It was coming together to envision a common goal—one that embodied thought leadership in our clinical expertise in pathogens and biofilms, not only through the lens of education but also through brand awareness and PR. We came away with an incredibly clear objective, and everything we did for the two years following was filtered through that lens. Our rebrand experience with Pure Branding ultimately equipped and empowered us to achieve even greater results than we had imagined.

Shawnee Mora
Vice President of Marketing