On June 7, Bayer officially acquired the Monsanto brand for $66 billion. Bayer remains the company name and Monsanto has disappeared as a brand. The acquired products are retaining their brand names and have become part of the Bayer portfolio.
The Monsanto brand had become significantly tarnished in the minds of the general public for its use of harmful chemicals and their negative impact on the environment and human health. At the same time, the brand had a much more positive perception by most farmers as its products result in increased food production and profitability. Farmers are familiar with the individual product names. This is a smart move from a branding perspective.
Bayer has been a trusted name for a long time, especially due to its close link with aspirin, a miracle drug for aches, pains and heart health with virtually no negative side effects. Bayer has operated in the agriculture space for some time independent of its recent Monsanto purchase.
Bayer indicated that it will "strengthen its commitment in the area of sustainability." Bayer chairman Werner Baumann said, "We aim to deepen our dialogue with society. We will listen to our critics and work together where we find common ground. Agriculture is too important to allow ideological differences to bring progress to a standstill."
Meanwhile, the USDA recently shared its GMO labeling proposal, including these label images which have many environmentalists upset.
It will remain to be seen how acquisition of the Monsanto brand might affect perceptions of the Bayer brand and whether Bayer is more receptive to addressing environmental concerns. Honest, open dialog with the general public to find common ground would be a step in the right direction for the Bayer brand.