Merck & Co., known as Merck Sharp & Dohme outside the United States and Canada, is the world's seventh largest pharmaceutical company, with approximately 71,000 employees worldwide. The company is at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases, such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases.
The rules of the game for pharmaceutical companies are changing. It’s no longer about providing treatments in the form of products. Today, pharmaceutical companies need to earn their right to talk by delivering value through patient and physician support, disease awareness initiatives and more. This establishes a need for the corporate brand to take ownership across offerings, and drive authority and trust.
While Merck and MSD had responded to the increasingly complex set of requirements for this paradigm shift in healthcare, they had a digital ecosystem expanding in multiple directions. In the center was the corporate .com, which was not built to control the complex ecosystem nor the increasing number of stakeholders with differing needs, interest areas and health literacy levels.
With a focus to significantly reduce the amount of content, while creating a best-in-class user experience to connect with multiple stakeholders, Vertic was asked to support the team’s new strategy and creative experience for Merck.com and MSD.com.
Unlock the potential of Merck.com/MSD.com as the centerpiece of the digital ecosystem, to support Merck & MSD in earning Share of Life® with their key stakeholders.
Vertic started out with an extensive research and strategy exercise that brought an ‘outside-in’ perspective to their audiences’ information journeys, utilizing data and insights to inform content requirements and recommendations.
Vertic prioritized and investigated the key stakeholders of Merck.com/MSD.com and mapped their expectations and needs from the site. This knowledge, extracted via both conventional and digital research, was consolidated into personas and journeys capturing the essence and sequential steps of 1) how to satisfy their needs, and 2) how to support Merck/MSD objectives.
Based on the profiles and journeys of the prioritized site stakeholders, current content and functionalities were assessed and tagged, and gaps identified in order for the new Merck.com/MSD.com to best serve audience needs and reach objectives. The outcome was an overview of content to discard and content to transfer to the new site, and a set of the content recipes guiding content repurposing and new content creation for site launch and in the future.
Vertic rebuilt the information architecture on Merck.com with the objective of positioning the brand a reputable publisher within the healthcare space. The new user experience aims to highlight Merck’s key thought leadership content within an intuitive navigation system that guides the user to prioritized sections.
As brand reputation was the primary KPI for this project, Vertic created opportunities to nest stories around Merck’s innovation, patients, employees, and health awareness throughout the site. The objective was to leverage real storytelling to humanize the brand and reveal its authenticity.
Bringing patient centricity to life was a key intention of this project. Merck aimed to give a voice to patients and caregivers through the rebuilt of the website; therefore Vertic created a dedicated patient section to enable patients direct access to resources and information linking to assistance programs. This section is meant to be a living organism as Merck will continue to grow it in order to accommodate the patient journey and needs.
Vertic built a modular design library that allows the Merck team to scale, by building infinite number of new pages and sections, with a shorter time to market. Vertic leveraged this design system for the website localization rolls out, as well as a base to build on for other digital properties within the Merck digital ecosystem.