Bringing crop protection
to the next level: innovation consulting with Helm


Consulting Services

Innovation consulting on choosing the right/suitable brand architecture and branding approach

Helm AG is a German-based family-owned chemical marketing company, founded in 1900, and active in the chemicals, fertilizers, crop protection, and pharma sector. Over its 120-year history, it has expanded its operations in over 30 countries through 100 subsidiaries. In recent years it reached revenues of €5B+. We worked with the crop protection business headed by the second-generation family owner (who in the meantime became the CEO of the entire company) to define its brand strategy and develop an implementation trajectory with all country managers. 


Helm’s Crop Protection Business had grown substantially over the years through a very entrepreneurial spirit. Management in countries around the world had the power to take the initiative and develop their brands locally. This led to substantial growth and local intimacy with the customer and the brand but left room for efficiency and control on the global level. Helm wanted to understand what their strategic branding options were and which brand architecture to implement. The branding architecture also had to support a higher price point and help to sustain profit margins.

Features of our solution

We organized two workshops of two days with the global team and the country managers from Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico, which represent the biggest markets. We worked with the CEO and VP of Strategy of the crop protection business unit, marketing leaders, and country heads. We also received input from country heads in other key markets like Colombia, U.S., and Poland.  

During intense work meetings, we provided background information and inspirational case examples on branding, including brand objectives, brand architecture, brand associations, brand elements, brand protocols, and brand operations (measurement, prioritization, and implementation). We also performed an internal analysis (e.g., current branding, financials per brand and country) and external analysis (e.g., competitive benchmarking) to guide our decision-making. We conducted these analyses and strategic options generation before and in between workshops, to get an efficient buy-in for the overall strategic option chosen and the connected implementation plan.

Through this process, we came up with a universally accepted solution that improved the branding architecture. In the past, there were two types of products in the portfolio, either fully generic or a local product brand. The chosen architecture consisted of maintaining the local product brands, given their local brand equity, but infusing the group-level name Helm as a branded endorsement to both local brands and generic products, enhanced by the German origin of Helm as a quality signal in the manufacturing of chemicals. We also started a standardization process for the bottles in which the products were packaged to achieve better recognition of the parent brand and obtain cross-selling benefits in crop protection store outlets. 

Benefits of our solution

The new branding approach had several benefits, such as (i) greater parent brand recognition, (ii) better support for a high(er) price point and margin, (iii) higher brand equity, (iv) standardization and consistency. 

The preparatory global meetings and analytics combined with two 2-day workshops with global and local leadership built a powerful platform for change and implementation of the new branding approach. 

Results of our collaboration

Helm continued to expand its position in crop protection, obtained more global homogeneity and control, and was able to do so profitably.

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