PM360’s Masterclass of Storytelling 2023 CSL and Guerilla Creative

Driven by our PROMISES

CSL and Guerilla Creative

CSL is one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies with more than 32,000 employees discovering, developing, and delivering lifesaving medicines to people in more than 100 countries. In 2022, the company went through a rebrand to bring its numerous business units under one united global brand and completed a major acquisition of CSL Vifor, a leading company that specializes in nephrology and iron deficiency. To help tell the story of CSL’s refreshed brand, Chief Corporate Affairs and Communications Officer Anthony Farina and the global team planned and executed a global campaign across all external and internal channels, with the conviction that: “Almost everything about a biotech company is complicated. But its identity should never be so.”

They developed the brand film “PROMISES” to reflect this commitment and serve as a focal point for the re-brand — to bring CSL’s purpose and values to life.

PROMISES is a visual narrative that symbolizes the passion, drive, and spirit of the values the company is built on. Multiple characters and stories, some with direct links to the company, others that portray the essence of the brand, are woven into a lyrical journey that shows the viewer what CSL stands for. Accompanying these images is a script that focuses on the emotive “why” of the company’s brand, delivered by a series of diverse voices who represent the global scope of the company’s mission. The script is written from a universal humanitarian perspective to show the audience that CSL is not simply a company, but a collection of individuals driven by their promise to patients and public health.

One of the reasons the Global Communications team set out to craft a film that had emotional resonance is that they knew it could connect with a broad spectrum of audiences. They designed PROMISES to serve as a proof point for CSL’s thousands of employees across the world—something they could point to in order to show the enormous impact their work has every day. It’s also a recruiting tool that serves to attract prospective employees to joining CSL in its mission. For patients, PROMISES offers a glimpse into the incredible dedication that CSL’s employees bring to developing medicines that improve lives. Finally, PROMISES shows the general public who CSL and its employees are, what they do, and how they make a difference for those who depend on the company.

The Global Communications team worked closely with their production partners to write a variety of stories from different perspectives. The characters in the film explain the challenges of living with rare and serious diseases while highlighting the importance of the company’s work. The global production utilized film crews across the world, incorporated visual technology to showcase locations they couldn’t access, and featured impactful performances from a diverse cast ranging in age from 65 to only 3 weeks old. Over 100 shots, across 30 locations with rain machines, frog wranglers, professional climbers, and medical advisors, came together to tell the story of PROMISES. The hope is that the audience can watch this and be moved and pick up on something new with each watch.

The original release of PROMISES in February 2022 generated an enormously positive response both internally and externally. The film was strategically released internally as part of CSL’s half-year earnings results town halls and was shown to all employees on the same day. It was then posted to CSL’s internal channels and distributed via its internal notifications systems. Externally, the company leveraged distribution of the film via its entire social ecosystem, which includes corporate channels as well as subsidiary company channels. Impressions reached 45,000+ and views reached 12,000+ from organic social of a one-time post on all of the company’s platforms—no paid promotion was involved.

Once CSL’s global rebrand was complete and the acquisition of CSL Vifor was finalized in August 2022, PROMISES was re-released with updated brand names. The response was positive, with CSL’s website seeing a doubling in pageviews after PROMISES debuted.

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