There was talk of a move circulating at Merck's Global Headquarters, and my ears grew big. The plan was to move the executive committee and supporting corporate functions to another building. The time was right to pitch an innovative and cutting edge brand experience for the lobby to coincide with the move.
The best place to get "key" words and phrases is right from the executive staff. I listened closely to what they were saying and aligned a pitch to the message they were delivering to the company. The CEO was talking about being an "innovative company" and using "cutting edge science" to move the company forward. The head of the research labs was using the same language. The problem was that no one ever gets to see "cutting edge science" because it happens behind the most protected walls in the country.
My pitch was to be cutting edge and innovative in a way where everyone could see it. Oh, and interact with it on a deep level, of course. If you want people to think you are a cutting edge and innovative company you have to show them you are at multiple touch points. You need to do it in a way that after an experience, the take away is "Wow, that place is cutting edge."
The plan was to redesign the lobby and to use the latest technology to do it. There would be no pictures on the wall, unless you could touch them and interact with them. There would be no books on the tables, the tables would be the books. The pitch was to install very large multi-user, multi-touch displays throughout the space as well as interactive table tops and additional screens on the walls to bring in external feeds from around the world.
The brand experience would be endless. You could go back over 100 years in time to explore the company, it's milestones, breakthrough drugs and consumer products as well as look at the pipeline, and every other public facing piece of information we could display.
In the end, the CEO and president loved the pitch and I became part of the "team" that was going to redesign the space. As things go in corporate America, the move plans have changed and the project is on hold, but it's not dead. Not yet anyway :-)