Novartis is a pharmaceutical company based in Basel, Switzerland that came into the existence due to a merger of two large health care companies in the mid-90s.  It has recognized that to be a global leader it must establish a significant U.S. reputation.   The Ketchum Reputation Laboratory (KRL) conducted a Brandbuilder research analysis. The KRL is Ketchum’s center for research that links corporate reputation and brand image to the bottomline. A Brandbuilder quantifies those linkages for external audiences such as stockholders, analysts, customers, general public, doctors, patients, employees and the government/policymakers. Shortly after the completion of the Brandbuilder analysis, Ketchum was called in to produce a coherent 2001/2 communications plan based on the research for presentation to the Novartis Board.


  • Benchmark Novartis’ U.S. reputation
  • Identify reputational attributes that impact reputation the most
  • Determine how to raise awareness of Novartis brand name among key stakeholder groups
  • Fortify corporate reputation through strategic communications planning for 2001 based on Brandbuilder findings


“Brandbuilder” Research – Conducted research and using the following sources:  Fortune Magazine America’s Most Admired Corporations Data, 1984-2000, 2000 Fortune/Roper Corporate Reputation Index, Carma immediate, Dow Jones, and Novartis proprietary data from Penn Schoen.

Since Novartis is a Swiss-based company and not in the Fortune 500, the Ketchum Reputation Laboratory gathered additional data with Roper Starch Worldwide to determine Novartis' current reputation among key population groups within the U.S.


An analysis of this information indicated that only 11% of the American general public was familiar with Novartis as a major pharmaceuticals company.  However, those who had heard of Novartis rated it very highly for financial strength, product quality, innovation, honesty and customer service.  This finding from the Brandbuilder research was consistent with that reviewed in other Novartis research.

A media analysis indicated that Novartis generally enjoys positive media coverage in the United States.

Novartis has great potential to grow its overall reputation in the United States, across all audiences, by focusing on transparency on social health care issues and its perception as an industry innovator.

The research found that to increase Novartis’ a program should have these themes:

  • Optimize- Leverage Novartis assets:  New product launches, science, therapeutic expertise
  • Personalize- Put a face on the company by creating visibility for senior management
  • Humanize – Promote Novartis as a caring, patient- and employee-focused company
  • Familiarize – Raise awareness of Novartis among all audiences, especially critical provider community and influencers.