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CASE STUDY: Royal DSM aligned new products during a global rebrand

Royal DSM is a global science-based B2B company active in health, nutrition and materials. DSM delivers innovative solutions that nourish, protect and improve performance in global markets such as food and dietary supplements, personal care, feed, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. DSM’s 22,000 employees deliver annual net sales of approximately € 9 billion, and the company is listed on NYSE Euronext.

The challenge: ‘Nobody knows us’
To say that nobody knew DSM in 2011 would be a slight exaggeration. But as a diversified B2B player with a century of history behind it, DSM was definitely difficult to understand. The company had grown via a series of well-timed acquisitions and divestments, changing its focus and strategy repeatedly. It straddled a bewildering array of industrial sectors and produced a vast range of products. Responsibility for financial performance was largely delegated to its various business groups, which operated with a high level of autonomy. DSM was known as a solidly managed, technology-driven company – but external stakeholders found it hard to say exactly what that company did. DSM appeared to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

Planning of the rebrand was well in progress when the global economic crisis hit; hammering many of the industrial sectors on which DSM depended. Plans for the rebrand had to be shelved pending a more favourable economic climate.