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Case Study

U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention

Powering the strategic direction of future digital transformation.

The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) is a global, scientific nonprofit organization that sets standards for the identity, strength, quality, and purity of medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements manufactured, distributed, and consumed worldwide. USP’s drug standards are enforceable in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration, and these standards are used in more than 140 countries.

With new leadership at the helm and an invigorating strategic vision for the future, USP imagined a multi-year, highly-visible, digital transformation project that would strategically raise brand awareness, further the organization’s mission, extend its global reach, and prepare USP for significant growth.

Highlighted Solutions
  • Digital Strategy
  • Design and User Experience
  • Community
  • Analytics and Support
  • Digital Marketing Transformation

Digital, Reimagined

Although the end result was a new digital presence, the initial phases focused solely on strategy. After a thorough vetting process, USP selected Brightfind to provide a structured, formalized, objective process to conduct a needs assessment, gather input from stakeholders, and assess the existing website’s usability, features, functionality, reach, and effectiveness. The effort was designed to provide USP with a comprehensive analysis of the research in order to guide the subsequent design, content development, technical development, and implementation phases of the website redesign.

USP before and after user research

Problem and Solution

At the beginning of the engagement, USP was faced with several key challenges:

  • Brand integrity – USP had many sites and microsites in the public view. The web presence lacked a consistent brand, voice, style, tone, and most importantly, an overarching content strategy.
  • Technology management – with dozens of independent sites and applications, USP found itself managing many disparate platforms and technologies – some commercial-off-the-shelf, and some proprietary.
  • Change management – with new leadership and new strategic directives, USP staff and volunteers were faced with changing roles and responsibilities, and a lack of clarity on how new initiatives would shape the web.
  • New media advancements – with a global audience, USP sought help in developing appropriate mobile and social strategies, along with a sensible way to handle the demand for media-rich content delivery, while considering the varying levels of bandwidth, browsers, and devices available to consumers worldwide.
  • Constituent engagement – with an incredibly diverse set of constituents, confusing information architecture, and vague calls to action, USP struggled with ways to deepen its online relationship with constituents and offer more opportunities for two-way dialogue.

USP needed strategic direction in order to solidify the foundation for the digital transformation initiatives. It was paramount to the organization that the strategy was driven by data – data from their internal and external constituents, both domestically and abroad.

The organization is unique in that its activities are directed by three governing bodies with more than 900 volunteers. And its day-to-day operations are managed by an executive team and staff of more than 1,200 employees.

Brightfind began the strategy phase with a thorough research effort that encompassed detailed stakeholder interviews and focus groups with 21 distinct business units including senior leadership, as well as USP’s Global Offices in India and China. Interviews centered on uncovering and defining the key challenges while documenting the vast and oft unique needs of each business unit.

Simultaneously, Brightfind conducted a thorough Site Audit of USP’s main online property usp.org. Experts performed a heuristic evaluation, analyzing the interface against a list of 224 well-recognized usability principles, resulting in a detailed report with recommendations on how to improve user experience and conversion in nine main areas:

  • Home Page
  • Task Orientation
  • Navigation & Information Architecture (IA)
  • Trust & Credibility
  • Writing & Content Quality
  • Page Layout & Visual Design
  • Search
  • Help, Feedback & Error Tolerance
  • Web Analytics

Similarly, Brightfind prepared a Comparative and Competitive Analysis that examined the web presences of USP’s three most viable competitors. The analysis looked at the strengths, weaknesses, and improvement opportunities compared to competitors targeting the same audience groups with the same types of content. The final report became a key component of USP’s resulting strategy, offering competitive insight to factor into the engagement while setting measurable objectives for information architecture, content strategy, user experience design, functionality, and style.

Honing the Strategy

Brightfind then began to engage directly with live end-users. A Constituent Survey was distributed to 1,000 external stakeholders to gather input on: user behaviors and motivations, content, navigation, usability, perception of value, the look and feel, features and functionality, and levels of engagement and use. Detailed Personas were created to document the various target audience groups, and the characteristics, traits, needs, and expectations of each.

The next step was to initiate a deep dive into USP’s content as part of the strategic efforts. Internal stakeholders were brought together in cross-divisional teams to work through exercises on content priority, target audiences, and organizational structures. Several Web Writing Workshops were also prepared and conducted to help USP develop its voice, along with a solid content strategy.

Brightfind also engaged end-users in a Card Sort exercise to understand how constituents expected to find content grouped, organized, and labeled on the website. The data from these exercises were used to craft a new sitemap and navigation structure while setting the stage for future personalization and content targeting.

As the web strategy began to take shape, Brightfind met regularly with senior leadership to ensure all plans were in alignment with the new strategic vision and supported the organization’s drive for global recognition and growth.

With a solid strategic foundation in place, Brightfind was again engaged to lead USP in the next phases of its digital transformation. Leveraging the work completed in Phase I, Brightfind began wireframing the new page structures, ensuring ease of use for multi-lingual constituents worldwide. Careful attention was paid to each and every persona while ensuring all decisions were purposefully in alignment with the now clearly defined strategies and goals.

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Bringing the Vision to Life

Brightfind worked closely with USP’s design and communications staff who were, thrust mid-process into a massive organizational re-branding effort. Brightfind collaborated with the USP teams to craft engaging, performant designs in support of the strategy, within the new constraints of the reimagined brand.

The result was a completely transformed, cohesive digital presence, optimized for mobile users, which exceeded the expectations of USPs domestic and global offices.