In about the time it takes to get a shot, “moderna” went from a word that people knew — or perhaps assumed — was Italian for “modern” to a household name.
That’s because Moderna was among the biotechnology companies that quickly developed a vaccine against COVID-19.
Now the threat posed by the virus has waned, and the company, which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is focusing on other applications of its mRNA technology, which it used to deliver the COVID vaccine.
As such, the company is undergoing a “brand refresh” that emphasizes “our mission, which is to deliver on the promise of mRNA science,” Kate Cronin, Moderna chief brand officer, told PRWeek.
We have “a reputation as being a COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer, and that has made us a commercial success, but we have been at mRNA for more than 10 years, and we want to focus on where we are going,” Cronin said.
As part of the refresh, on May 31, the brand posted a 15-second teaser on social media.
“Welcome to the #mRNAge,” read the accompanying text. “At Moderna, we’re using our mRNA platform to develop new vaccines and therapeutics that may one day treat diseases and personalize #medicine. See what #mRNA could do at aboutmRNA.com.”
The video begins by saying, “What could one strand of mRNA do?”
One of the lines in the “R” then shoots out like an mRNA strand before forming a new sentence, “It could change the future of medicine.”
The strand continues to elongate and states “it could change the lives of millions” and “see what mRNA could do.”
In addition to “the strand,” another hero asset for the brand is a small “m” in red, which it will use on social media, Cronin said.
The company hopes employees use the logo on LinkedIn, Cronin said.
“They act as an ambassador for the company, and so having the visual identity reflected in their image actually just reinforces that they are proud to work at Moderna,” said Cronin “Giving them what they need to represent the company, I think is important, and just simple imagery is a start."
The company also hopes aboutmRNA.com counters vaccine hesitancy by providing information about the technology and helps “people better understand the science behind it,” Cronin said.
“There are different reasons why people are hesitant to use a vaccine, and one thing we want to make sure is that the information is not a barrier to using a vaccine,” said Cronin, who joined Moderna in July 2021.
The company also is using more of a “visual approach” rather than “pushing data,” Cronin said.
That could include snackable videos and collaborating with influencers.
“We look at which influencers would best represent the brand in terms of authenticity and if they are believable,” Cronin said.
The company could also hire a celebrity spokesperson or collaborate with another brand.
“So if you think about education, do you go with sort of an entertainment company to do more of an edutainment approach to reaching audiences? That could be an example of how we would approach it,” Cronin explained.
Despite the conflicts surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines and despite the desire to showcase the potential of its mRNA technology for other purposes, the company has no intention of distancing itself from its work to address COVID.
“That was our first commercial product, and that’s what put us on the map,” Cronin said. “I’m super proud of it.”