Strategy, UX Design

Platform System Solution Drugs and pharmaceutical services are as difficult to understand as the companies that provide them. So it's just the right thing for THIS!

The Challenge The pharmaceutical market is highly competitive. Many products hardly differ in their composition.

That's why purchasing decisions are largely made for reasons as ...

Brand reach and reputation

“I know this brand and I trust it.”

Utility and Usability

“This brand provides services and information easier or more efficient.”


“This brand’s products are cheaper than those of the competition.”

As part of an overarching digital strategy, a global pharmaceutical brand and THIS started to find answers to the following questions:

“I know this brand and I trust it.”

Question 1

How can we create and improve digital services to build and to maintain sustainable relationships with the brand’s direct customers (doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, wholesalers, …) and end consumers?

Question 2

Which websites, apps and other channels do we use to provide these services?

Question 3

How can we support a competitive medication price via digitization, automation and optimization of key customer processes?

Question 4

How can we roll out these services in up to 60 countries with one common corporate design – ensuring that each market can benefit from synergy effects and follows the brand’s overall digital strategy?

THIS work We came up with a common touchpoint concept (websites) and design system that could be used and adapted by all international markets according to their specific user, brand and business requirements.
We started with the analysis of the brand’s target groups:
  • the public users and patients 
  • the applicants, press members and people generally interested in the company 
  • the Health Care Professionals (HCP) and
  • the buying Health Care Professionals (e.g. Pharmacists or dispensing doctors).

Each of these groups has different needs, levels of knowledge about medication and underlies varying legal restrictions concerning the display of medical information.

Furthermore, we analyzed the brand’s markets and processes. Each market underlies different legal requirements and uses different processes to ensure that their stakeholders and end consumers are sufficiently supplied with information and medication.

The Modular Design System We had to find a solution that would offer our client the possibility to serve all markets but still empowers the individual markets to retain the flexibility they need.

We created a modular system that enables to launch websites as needed and to configure them on a page and module level.

The Websites We decided to create four types of websites that adequately answer the needs of the user groups previously identified:
The Public Website

The Public website addresses the general users with health and product information like articles, open studies, videos or companions.

The Corporate Website

The Corporate website aims at applicants, press members and users generally interested in the brand. Addressing these users, the website includes general information about the company’s activities in the respective market (maybe also on the global stage, depending on the market targets), job information and press news.

The Expert Website

The Expert website addresses Health Care Professionals with professional health information such as studies and e-learnings but also detailed information about the brand’s products (both OTC and prescription products).

The Shop

The Shop allows Health Care Professionals to directly order medication and handout materials, either as single products or product bundles. 

To ensure that they can order the products as efficient as possible, we also provided “power-shopper” features such as order templates or the option to order products for entire (pharmacy) groups.

Each market has a different market maturity and the modular approach of the websites responds to this. Markets can freely decide which website they want to launch first or later on.
Information Architecture

Because our target groups can enter the websites in different roles (e.g. once as press member and once as patient), we decided to use an overarching navigation that allows the user to easily jump from website to website. This navigation also provides the opportunity to create a comprehensive “brand-world” that incorporates all websites and microsites of the band.

Following the modular approach, the architecture of the individual websites can also be adapted. Content editors can easily integrate new categories or pages in the website.

The Design System ONE single source of truth

Using a flexible module system, the content editor can easily and quickly create these pages by using modules from a design module catalogue.

The Brand-flexible Module Catalogue Our customer sells its products through various brands.

The complete catalogue can be adapted to different brands by adapting the design principles of the modules. This gives our customer the freedom to use the module catalogue as a uniform design basis without opposing the individual brand styles.

The Modular System - Customization and Personalization In order to present the most relevant content to each target group, we use three different mechanisms.
1. Related Content

Each piece of content and product is tagged with an indication and/or topic-related keywords. Related content at the bottom of each pages ensures that the user can smoothly move through the website without facing “dead-ends” or irrelevant content.

2. Relevant Content

Non-public pages are enhanced by teaser modules which customize the experience by offering information and services aiming at a particular user group (eg. dispensing doctors). This mechanism is for example used to inform healthcare professionals about new treatment possibilities, conferences in their field of expertise, articles and other relevant content.

If the website offers a large number of relevant content, we are using an ingenious scoring system that determines which content is displayed first.

3. Product Recommendations

Currently we use personalization in the shop for healthcare professionals to recommend products and product bundles based on their previous buying behavior, seasonality, instock information, rebate levels etc.

Side note

We have deliberately decided against personalization in the public website and other public sites. Health is a sensitive issue and we can never absolutely ensure that only the users themselves receive recommendations based on their previous searches.

The Outcome

4 portals, in 8 markets, in 7 languages for 4 brands ... until now!