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Warming Up Diabetic Care—LPK Teams Up with Bayer to Add Emotion to Cold Medical Technology

Take cold, complex medical terms and tools and transform them into a warm, user-friendly lifeline for diabetics. This was our challenge at LPK when our team began our work on redesigning and building brand architecture for Bayer’s Contour Next, an innovative and easy-to-use blood glucose meter.

I’ve had some remarkable experiences with consumer product goods clients, such as Bounty and Pampers, but working with a health-care brand presents new challenges.

According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million people in the United States have diabetes, and almost another 80 million are at risk for developing diabetes. In addition, it’s something many don’t feel comfortable talking about.

At LPK, we faced the challenge of unifying the global system for Bayer and bringing their innovative technology to the forefront of the international conversation. We also challenged ourselves with warming up the diabetic-care category while remaining sensitive to the issue. For patients, diabetes can be a daunting and scary disease to discuss. In the end, we wanted to make sure we met diabetics’ expectations.

While working on this initiative, it was important to keep in mind that this product is essential to the well-being and health of diabetics. It’s an emotional, careful and thoroughly researched decision. Our success is measured by gaining the trust of our consumer.

To begin our work and align our thinking, we created an emotional brand theme with visual and verbal assets.

From there we moved into divergent exercises to explore what we wanted to achieve visually. We explored both human/warmth and technical points of view. This dual perspective was key to helping our team and the client better understand what our points of difference were in the category. It was critical for us to create a harmony between the approachability and the scientific technology of the product.

One of our most important steps was consumer research. We took Bayer’s medical work and paired it with insights from diabetics, pharmacists and health-care professionals. Through the Bayer qualification process, we also had the opportunity to tap into a few diabetics here at LPK. We incorporated their perspective throughout our design process. We were able to capture a first-hand response and pull out key insights to help our team create a brand architecture that satisfied both health-care professionals and patients. For example, we learned that patients appreciated the forward movement in the design because it exemplified that the product is working quickly. Additionally, the clear communication of the linear process for the technology translated ease of use for them.

After a series of concepts we came together with Bayer and chose a design that communicated Bayer’s proprietary technology with very approachable, intuitive design architecture.

We weren’t designing for just one type of consumer. We had to constantly keep three in mind: the patient, the health-care provider and the pharmacist. All three of these consumers interact with our product in very different ways. Figuring out the best way to design for all of them started off as a challenge but in the end was a fulfilling success.

For me—and our team—working on Bayer’s Contour Next has served as a reminder to build a filter of emotion when approaching such a sensitive brand. These insights guided us through our brand architecture and were imperative to making our design resonate. I look forward to seeing the product launch here in the U.S. over the next few months.

Beginning in October, the American Diabetes Association is encouraging consumers to share their personal images via Facebook, representing what “A Day in the Life of Diabetes” means. This image can be a picture of yourself or someone you care about, and will show how the disease impacts your daily life.

On a personal note, it’s not often that you get the chance to work on a brand that changes your mindset and creates awareness on such a life-changing disease. Perhaps someone close to me may be touched by diabetes in their lifetime, who knows. I feel empowered, enlightened and motivated because I know a little more.

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