Sometimes a global company says it better with a personal message and for Elanco it was an important one to get right.
Elanco Animal Health is one of our longer-term clients and recently completed their takeover of Novartis Animal Health, a far larger company with a large number of staff who would now be brought together with Elanco’s own. This means that Novartis customers will be wondering what has happened to their usual contacts? Will someone else be knocking on their door? Will they like them?
Elanco wanted to focus on this at the recent British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress as they wanted to be sure their customers and Novartis’ customers were clear who they would be working with in the future.
This is especially important for the company’s account managers as they are the ones who build and maintain relationships with Elanco customers, making sure they are happy with what Elanco are doing and the products they are producing.
We know that for most companies, exhibitions represent a considerable investment in time and money. However, we also know that the reward can be great and they can be ideal for meeting current and potential customers in an environment with a specifically filtered and engaged audience.
Attendees at the BSAVA Congress were mostly vets and industry specialists so it was far easier for Elanco to explain the Novartis takeover and staff details there than to go out and talk to customers individually.
Elanco has taken part in many big exhibitions and while they may have previously focused on portraying themselves as a global company with a large product range and a history of innovation, they have certainly recognised that it can make people feel intimidated and wary of being pounced on if they take a step into big corporate areas of an exhibition. Since the idea was to focus on people and building relationships with Novartis customers, that is exactly what they didn’t want.
We worked with Elanco to design an experience that went against the corporate style and instead centred around people. The idea we settled on was to create a coffee shop experience, which felt more personal, inviting and familiar.
This was reinforced with exhibition invites and monoliths that simply asked people to “pop round for a coffee and tell us, what matters to you?”.
Also, large photo graphics lined the stand, showing real staff and managers with their own pets, reinforcing the company message that “What matters to you, matters to us”.
It was a risky idea as it didn’t portray Elanco as a big company made bigger by taking over Novartis, but it related much better to customers on a personal level and made the Elanco stand very approachable and welcoming.
The next question for our design to answer was that once people stepped onto Elanco’s area. What next?
With Novatis account managers now part of Elanco, the key was to clearly inform people who the account manager in their region would now be, whether they would change or be the same. This led us to the idea of creating a short digital survey that could be used to gather information about customers and inform them as to who would be covering their area.
It was decided the survey would be displayed on a large multi-touch display system produced by a company called Flat Frog, effectively a giant touchscreen divided into four usable sections, placed on a stand. It’s a very social device as four people can fill out the survey at once and people can easily gather around it, which has the added advantage of making Elanco’s area look busy and intriguing to passers-by.
If customers needed any help with the survey, or if the Flat Frog was busy, staff were carrying iPads that could also display the Flat Frog interface for customers to use, which helped the flow of people through the stand.
We were asked to design the UI (User Interface) for the Flat Frog survey and knew it would be an interesting and new experience for us from the start. It needed to be attractive, reflect Elanco’s core brand values and be quick and easy for customers to use. It had to allow them to quickly find and get familiar with their relevant territory managers and also needed to included concise and clear product information showing the existing Elanco products and new products brought in from Novartis.
While the products weren’t the primary focus, it was helpful to give this information as once the discussion had covered the key issue of personalities, it was likely that visitors would want an overview of the new, combined product range.
We wanted to make sure that our designs for the stand and the Flat Frog weren’t superficial. They needed to be conceptual and engaging and needed to solve the problem of how you make a big corporate feel personal and human.
It was an interesting and unique design job for us as it was the first time we had done a UI design in this style, but it turned out to be the key for Elanco to build and enhance their relationship with customers.
The final touch after getting customers to fill out the survey and confirming who their account manager would be, was to give them a well designed brochure with essential information about Elanco’s products and services.
The key to this brochure was that 25 different versions were produced. The product information was kept the same, but on the back of each version was contact details relating to account managers in different regions around the UK so customers could leave the Congress knowing who they could contact and what their individual contact details were without having to look them up, or misplace them.
Soon after the exhibition, we heard that over 600 people had filled out the survey on the Flat Frog, over 400 gave out their contact details and over 150 asked for a visit from an Elanco account manager. This was great news and proof that Elanco’s human approach and our thoughtful designs worked.