Archive for May, 2007

jnj-logo.gifThis is the third in a series on home page design for pharma companies. Today – J&J. A company with many admirable qualities. Though, the home page is not necessarily one of them!

The Johnson & Johnson home page simply has too much going on. The immediate visceral reaction is one of being overwhelmed – there are so many features and sections that the effect is not to draw in, but repel.

Furthermore, there is a poor use of space, as a large open white field is left unused to the right (not shown in the graphic below), which is assuming smaller monitor sizes than perhaps the vast majority of the population now uses. Therefore, the site feels even more “cramped” than it should due to a compressed layout.


This is what I’d call a “working” interface – that is, you’re going to have to be working to find what it is you want! Now J&J is a big, multi-faceted company, with a bunch of operating companies, and that makes the challenge of an intuitive interface even tougher. But a jumble is not the answer.

What would I do differently? The one thing that ties of all J&J together is its (rightly renowned) Credo, and I’d make that the dominant feature in the site, since that is a key J&J corporate differentiator. Right now, it’s referenced in a section to the left – I’d make it front-and-center, and have different sections of it show up on a rotating basis. Then, as a key “storytelling” part of the site, I’d feature different ways – both internally (with employees) and externally (with clients) – that the Credo has had its impact.

Because there are so many audiences, operating companies, and products, I think I’d want to create a sophisticated navigation widget that starts with the question, What are you looking for? Then, based on some main choices and sub-choices (to pinpoint who the user is, what therapeutic area or product they want to know about, etc.) the user would be directed to one or more relevant destinations.

I’d also break up the main page into “main theme” centers – Investor Center, Career Center, Company Center, Product Center, News Center, Community Center – and more logically range many of the choices now scattered all over the home page into sub-pages for each center.

There are many good information streams here. The big gap is confusing arrangement. With some creative information design, this site could be a whole lot more appealing.

Prior reviews:



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Get ’em while they’re hot! – free articles from sales training practitioners, from the fine folks at PharmaVoice:

Accounting for the impact of Managed Markets on Sales Training

Employee Engagement, Learning, and the Gaming Generation

Middle Management: Why Investing in District Sales Management Training Is Crucial

And, this one costs a few bucks, but I believe you can pick up a free edition of the magazine at the upcoming SPBT conference:

A New Era of Training

You can also access articles online from Pharmaceutical Representative magazine, and it looks like there are some very helpful ones in the May edition.

While we’re at it, you may want to occasionally take a browse over at Pharmaceutical Executive online.

Finally, the best one-stop place to get an updated calendar of all pharma-related conferences/events (also from PharmaVoice)


Ohhh…one last thing. For my NJ area readers, two upcoming ASTD chapter events you may want to register for:

– June 7 (8 am; Raritan): Sales Training SIG – Developing the Talent Pipeline in Sales

– June 14 (6 pm; Princeton): Chapter meeting – Top 5 Lessons Learned in Leveraging Technology-Enabled Learning Presented by Kee Meng Yeo (who headed up J&J’s eUniversity)

Details and registration for these meetings at the Mid-NJ chapter site.

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Go ahead, forward one of these pictures to your IT support people and ask if they can maybe help you with your keyboard. No, it’s not April First, but you can still have some fun…!

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Powerpoint Abuse Exposed

Pretty funny – how not to use Powerpoint in your presentations.

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Press release on Impactiviti’s PharmaCentral portal.

Glaxo’s Avandia “problem” is all over the news this week. It’s still to be determined how much is smoke, and how much is fire. This Business Week article at least tries to provide some counter-balance to the hype. One thing is for sure – the tort lawyers are firing up the engines and loving this new opportunity for ambulance-chasing.

The battering being taken by anemia drugs is definitely impacting Roche’s potential new entry, Mircera.

In the ongoing saga over at Pfizer, two high-level departures announced this week. There may or may not be a connection to recent revelations over at Peter Rost’s Question Authority blog.

AstraZeneca and the pursuit of large molecules.

Wyeth gets approval for Lybrel, a new contraceptive for putting the menstrual cycle on hold.

Possible problems with Novartis’ innovative treatment for iron overload (Exjade).

UCB – encouraging data for new treatment for Crohn’s disease.

A PhRMA spin on rep-doctor influence, published by the Boston Globe.

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Recently, I was asked by a client for recommendations on training some folks in Marketing – particularly, there was a need for better facilitation skills dealing with doctors/thought leaders. I was able to match this need up with a partner who is a perfect fit for this “niche” requirement.

Which made me wonder – how many other Training departments get this request? Have you been asked by Marketing people to provide training (or find an outside supplier) for compliance, change management, facilitation skills, or other needs particular to the Marketing dept.? Let me know in the comments or via e-mail (stevew (at) impactiviti.com) if this is something that has come up in your company.

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Some Late May Training Links

Skillsoft completes its acquisition of NetG – 2 big players in the training/eLearning space combine.

From SPBT Focus magazine – an article I co-authored with Manny Santiago on Launch Training is now available on-line.

CLO (Chief Learning Officer) magazine has a 2007 report available on the state of the learning business. The Executive Summary download is free.

eLearning 2.0 – what about all that new web/collaborative technology? How will it impact training? Article from UK vendor Kineo.

From prolific training technology blogger Tony Karrer – what about the term eLearning – is it worth keeping? And, a series of his posts on eLearning tools.

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We’ve all seen it. Training poorly designed. Poorly built. Obsolete before the investment pays for itself. Training that crashes and burns its first time out; programs that quickly end up in the scrapyard. What was to be mind-fill, is now landfill.

These unfortunate programs are consigned to the Graveyard of Bad Training. If they had headstones, what would they say?

Epitaph 1: A Pointless Life, Poorly Lived

They asked What. They asked How Much. They asked When. But nobody asked Why? Nobody spelled out what the deliverable was – what was the desired change? This training could have delivered the goods, if someone had just determined what the point was!

Epitaph 2:

Epitaph 3:

Epitaph 4:

Your turn! What epitaphs would you give some of the bad training you’ve seen in the past? Click on Comments above and make up an epitaph in 10 words or less!

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The Boston-based law firm of Rosiglitazone, Metformin & Sitaliptin has taken the unprecedented step of filing a global tort lawsuit on behalf of 6 billion residents of Planet Earth, charging a massive coverup on the part of every pharmaceutical company in the recent revelations of possible negative effects on the heart for those taking the drug Avandia.

“While this drug has proven to be effective for a large number of patients, we believe that GlaxoSmithKline, the FDA, every other pharmaceutical company, and Benny’s Diner of Hackensack were complicit in covering up information that every person should have known about, with the exception of 100 residents of the small Pacific island of Jumbalaya,” stated Marvin Metformin, partner and spokesperson for the firm. “Therefore, we have named all the aforementioned entities as defendants in this suit, and are seeking $300 trillion in damages (plus a 15% gratuity).”

Asked why 6 billion people were named as plaintiffs, as opposed to a small group of actual users who may have been harmed by the drug, Metformin responded, “It’s simple. They’ve been exposed. Avandia users are all over, and with the exception of the excluded parties on Jumbalaya, you can bet people have had ‘second-hand molecular interactions’ with Avandia worldwide. So, it is simplest to include everyone who has a heart, because if they have problems, you can bet it’s because of Avandia. Actually, on second thought, perhaps the partners in our firm should be excluded from the suit,” mused Metformin.

The firm named the FDA and every other pharmaceutical company in existence as defendants, because “they are all evil, they all do the same thing, and we’re talking seriously deep pockets here,” according to Roger Rosiglitazone, partner and lead counsel in the suit. “How else are we going to reach our revenue goals for this year? Heck, if we end up settling for a few trillion, at the end of the day, that still gets me a 200-foot yacht and a lifetime stash of Cuban – ooops, I mean Dominican cigars. And that’s what the American dream is all about!”

Benny Schwartz, owner of Benny’s Diner in Hackensack, was perplexed as to why his eatery was named as a defendant in the suit. “Hey, I try to run a nice establishment here. You want an omelet? You get an omelet. We don’t ask no questions. Sure, we’ve had Kindler and Vasella and some of them other drug bigwigs in here, we get reps sipping coffee and killing time, we even got a guy who came in with a bucket of money one day. Haven’t seen him in a while. But we don’t listen to what they say. Besides, I use Actos, because it has a superior clinical profile and more efficacious mechanism of action.”

Curiously, a picture of the partners of the law firm shows 4 individuals. Asked why one of them looks suspiciously like the current CEO of the Top Five pharma company, Metformin would only say, “Hey, you gotta hedge your bets, you know? You don’t know how stuff like this is going to go down, so it’s best to…uhh…have a foot on both sides of the fence. Who released that picture anyway? My hair doesn’t look as nice as John Edwards.”

Metformin would not disclose what percentage of the take his firm anticipates from the suit, but with a wink and a smirk, he said sotto voce, “Let’s just say we won’t be needing any cheap imports from Canada, eh?”

(image credit: Flickr)

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In my continuing series on how pharmaceutical companies engage the public with their brand on their website homepages, this week we’ll take a look at GlaxoSmithKline‘s home page, http://www.gsk.com (last week was Pfizer’s turn!)

gsk-logo.jpgGlaxo became a Top-5 pharma company through a merger strategy. SmithKline Beecham joined Glaxo Wellcome to create…well, you know the tale. Merger mouthful. Most people now find it easier to refer to the company as “Glaxo” or as “GSK” – my bias is well-known about munging together a bunch of legacy names to come up with a run-on-sentence for a name.

And, I will admit, that when the merger occurred and the new GSK logo was unveiled, I found it to be an underwhelming moment in marketing. My first impression: an orange guitar pick. And to this day, that is all I see.

Turning to the public website, in the browser title bar we see this tagline: “Improving health and quality of life.” As with so many pharma companies, absolutely bland, obvious, and non-distinguishing. That phrase could be used about bottled water, vitamins, exercise machines, and a book on therapeutic massage. Sigh.

Nonetheless, the website itself has some reasonably engaging design features. Unlike Pfizer’s, panned last week for trying to say too much, the current GSK site presents a compelling “story” front-and-center: The Menace of Malaria. The two brief blurbs, with accompanying graphics (the mosquito is very effective), draw the reader in to explore further. By focusing on ONE thing that GSK is actively working on, the site makes it easier to dig in.

Of necessity, for a major pharmaceutical company, there are many links and potential destinations, and this site does a pretty good job using smaller navigational areas to direct the users to various areas of interest. The drop-down boxes toward the bottom right are a particularly effective way to give choices without an overwhelming, in-your-face list. Since there are so many choices, it might be a good idea to use simple rollover technology to provide brief snippets of information when people mouse-over the menu items (for instance, why would I want to take the survey?)

Below the graphic shown here are some other helpful links, including recent news releases, Quick Links, up-to-the-minute stock prices, and an RSS feed for newsreaders (every company should be doing this nowadays).

Yes, the site is a bit busy, and the type quite small in many places, but for a company this size, it’s difficult to know what to leave out on the home page. GSK has done an admirable job making a large amount of information accessible without it being overwhelming.

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