A pioneer in the field of genomic medicine,
Foundation Medicine (FMI) recognised the company had lots of data that could help researchers and biopharma companies advance precision medicine. However, FMI needed a partner to accelerate getting its ideas built and tested. This is where DEPT® stepped in to help bring the company’s ambitious vision to life.
Creating insights from data
Foundation Medicine is a world-renowned molecular insights company that focuses on genomic research. This entails figuring out how genomic abnormalities affect cancer. The company had a mountain of data at its disposal but no tools for researchers and pharmaceutical companies to make sense of it quickly. DEPT® created custom software to allow researchers to efficiently query the company’s wealth of data, as well as allow medical professionals to input clinical outcomes in order to track not just genomic abnormalities, but also how specific target therapies affected those abnormalities.
They wanted the insights needed to advance cancer care
Enabling employees to test the MVP
Following our agile methodology, we initially launched a minimum viable product, or “MVP”, that internal employees started using for their own research. By having Foundation Medicine’s researchers use the product themselves (what we like to call “tasting your own wine”) we were able to further refine the product concept and determine what screens and flows were most valuable to users and thus the business.
New tools for cancer researchers
Within three months, we equipped Foundation Medicine with a suite of tools that allowed their team to ingest genetic data from a lab and, based on this data and other factors, generate various reports. These showcased matching clinical trials, therapies, contextually relevant information (also known as “text modules”) and relevant genetic data about them. The company’s internal teams could now quickly slice and display their data in a myriad of formats, allowing them to produce reports they never had before and dramatically improving their ability to analyse data in new ways. This was a big change from the system in place before whereby each researcher had to come up with their own spreadsheets to analyse the data, wasting precious time and resources of Genomic PhDs. Researchers could now answer questions like “how often does disease X occur with gene alteration Y?” in a powerful way that would lead directly to improved drug therapies and treatments. More and faster data-driven research results mean better medical care across the board.
From a business perspective, these tools allowed genomicists to curate therapies, trials, text modules and ontologies of a gene, biomarker and disease trees. This included a rules engine that allowed genomicists to link therapies, trials and text modules to various combinations of gene and disease groups (based on the curated ontologies). When these ontologies changed, we automatically would audit and flag rules which may have been affected. We also applied algorithms to keep genomicists from having to reorder the text on every report.
From MVP to industry-leading software
Our initial product launch quickly grew into a powerful data analytics platform called FoundationInsights™ that enables access to rich analytics on genomic and clinico-genomic datasets. It has become a core part of cancer researchers’ work. Over the course of six months,DEPT® worked closely with the FMI engineering team to augment the product with key features, while at the same time transitioning the app to FMI’s internal product team. Today, FoundationInsights™ is considered a critical tool in the fight against cancer and is used by many of the world’s top genomicists.
genomic profiles created
cancer subtypes mapped
DEPT® created a world-class database and software and implemented it into Foundation Medicine’s existing knowledge base. This has allowed researchers to speed up their research and analysis process as the data can easily be inputted and categorized making it easy for others to access the information. Today, FoundationInsights™ has aided in the processing of over 300,000 genomic profiles and they’ve mapped over 150 cancer subtypes, making it one of the largest cancer databases in the world.
Global SVP, Engineering & Technology
PathCheck Foundation is unleashing the power of open-source software to help contain the pandemic and protect individual freedom and privacy.DEPT® worked alongside PathCheck to design and build two mobile apps to support a foundational health technology platform that will empower communities around the world to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Supporting PathCheck on its global mission
PathCheck Foundation was founded at MIT with a mission to contain the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and revitalise the global economy. The non-profit organisation envisions a new generation of digital solutions for public health. These solutions would empower individuals to play an active role in healthcare by opting in to digital contact tracing while protecting their individual privacy and liberty. Our US team worked alongside PathCheck’s team of experts to help support their global mission of building a foundational public health technology platform and mobile apps that make digital contact tracing, case management, epidemiological information collection and citizen communication easier and faster.
Building and designing mobile apps to contain the global pandemic
Digital is key to fighting the spread of COVID
In March of 2020, the CDC declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. It was and continues to be a scary time. Still, there is evidence that supports the capabilities of digital to help fight the spread of COVID. This is why countries such as Singapore, Germany and Ireland launched apps designed to trace the recent contacts of positive COVID cases as early as March. For other countries like the United States, however, concerns over privacy and data collection have made the adoption of similar apps slow. PathCheck aims to solve this privacy issue via open-source software.
The advantage is that these capabilities are entirely optional and privacy-preserving. Individuals can choose whether or not they want to participate. However, these solutions enable communities to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and complement other public health strategies such as social distancing, the use of masks, and manual contact tracing.
Continuing to support a novel public health platform
The mass adoption of a foundational public health technology platform that includes mobile touchpoints on every smartphone in the world is key to containing the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with PathCheck, we built and designed two apps for digital contact tracing that prioritise the user’s privacy. These applications are now being rolled out in two European countries and four US states & territories.
However, this is just the beginning. We will continue to support the foundation by building out more features to support the full spectrum of digital pandemic response needs. However, flexibility is crucial as our understanding of the virus evolves. Together with PathCheck, we envision a post-exposure notification UX that is easy to deploy, fully configurable per location’s needs, and can even assess a user’s symptoms and direct them towards their nearest test centre if needed. Lastly, we also want to provide public health authorities with a set of data dashboards and visualisations. These would help them to not only track the spread of the virus but to better understand how it’s being spread.
Chief Client Officer, DEPT® Americas
With over 100,000 employees, the Health Service Executive (HSE) provides public health and social care services to everyone who lives in Ireland. By coordinating resources and efforts across eleven regions, the organisation aims to provide everyone in Ireland with high-quality health services. The HSE’s Mental Health Team was already using social media to promote positive protective behaviours for mental health. But they wanted to elevate their online efforts so they turned to DEPT® to help them deliver a thoughtful approach that catered to their audience’s needs.
An uplifting social media campaign
Our health encompasses many aspects yet one element that is often neglected is our mental health. HSE’s Mental Health Team wanted to continue the conversation around mental health, an important topic that many people still feel uncomfortable discussing. So, the team turned to DEPT® for help. Our Dutch and Irish teams worked closely together to create an always-on Facebook and Instagram campaign which would appeal to their target audience.
HSE used social media to talk about an often-neglected topic: mental health
Crafting the perfect campaign
We started by taking an outside-in approach to ensure the campaign strategy was relevant. This meant we looked at current events in Ireland and beyond with the HSE team then created different messages that would connect with the audience and provide them with the most up to date resources to help protect and manage their mental health. We covered a broad range of topics from helping yourself or your child if they have an eating disorder to improving your quality of sleep. The variety of topics ensured that the Mental Health Team was able to reach a large section of the Irish population with a tailored message and associated helpful resources.
However, we didn’t simply rely on words to connect with the audience. We also wanted to incorporate images as, after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, we designed graphics, both static images and animations, with bright and soothing colours which would draw the viewer’s attention while not overwhelming their visual senses.
With the text and images in place, we created two versions of each ad, one that had an informative tone of voice and one with a more personal tone. The two options were A/B tested to see which one would perform best before being posted on the company’s social media. This ensured HSE only pushed out the top-performing posts.
Using data to deliver the right message
The aim of the campaign was to reach as many people as possible, but with the right message. As everyone has different struggles depending on their age and stage in life, we wanted to ensure that the same campaign was not seen by everyone. So we harnessed the power of data to hyper-target the ads. We created different target groups and, within that, separate audiences for each Facebook and Instagram post our team created. This ensured that the right content and social post was shown to the right people. For example, parents were only shown parenting content. In comparison, elderly people were shown tips on how to keep healthy even if they had limited mobility. However, some posts were meant for the more general Irish population and so targeting was adjusted to reflect that on both Facebook and Instagram.
Mental health is even more important during a pandemic
Less than a month after we began Facebook and Instagram campaigns for HSE, COVID-19 arrived on our shores and the HSE found itself under a huge amount of pressure. However, it was more important than ever to talk about mental health and provide people with the resources they needed to take care of themselves. So within the space of a week, we quickly changed the campaign messaging and approach to reflect this new stressor. From dealing with an increase in stress and grief-like emotions to information about working remotely in a healthy manner and free counselling resources, our social posts were still tailored and targeted towards specific audiences, but they reflected the new normal we were living in.
A social media strategy to raise awareness
Now, unlike most social strategies, the aim in this context was not to increase engagement or grow the team’s online presence. So instead success was measured via the various campaigns’ reach and awareness raised. So, over a period of five months, this is what our team achieved:
- 2.3 million people reached
- 21k click-through links to suggested resources
- 1.2k shared posts and 550 saved posts
Together, we elevated the team’s social media strategy by harnessing the power of creativity and data to reach the right people with the right message and resources to ensure no one forgets to take care of their mental health.
An omni-channel customer journey to help customers find the right products both on and offline; that is the ultimate goal of the Etos webshop. The webshop was developed in collaboration with DEPT® based on Salesforce Commerce Cloud. A daunting task, because Etos did not actually have a webshop, let alone an accompanying warehouse. In close collaboration with the client, and in record time, we managed to set up a webshop that is inspiring when it comes to beauty, personal care and health.
Advice, inspiration and smart savings
Etos has been awarded the title of ‘best drugstore in the Netherlands’ seven times. The chain will now be supplementing its offline success with an online platform. Etos offers a personal shopping experience that combines advice, inspiration and smart savings. As their digital e-commerce partner, DEPT® was responsible for the platform’s development, design and concept. All within a period of six months.
A personal and inspiring shopping experience
Focus on user experience
The webshop is a platform where anyone can go for anything related to beauty, personal (baby) care and health, at any time of day. The concept — from design to platform — focuses on an outstanding user experience. That’s why, as Etos.nl customer, you’ll experience the same level of personal advice, (brand) inspiration and ease of use as in the physical stores. Etos employees help customers discover new trends and products, while the A-brands provide inspiration and are easy to find through their own landing pages. The new Etos.nl is proof that attractive design, a fantastic user experience, conversion and SEO go hand in hand.
Exciting content and timeless design
The enormous range of products is made available through four main categories: beauty, personal care, health and baby. While scrolling through the products, the customer is surprised by inspiring content, handy tips and interesting products, fully tailored to his or her requirements. The search is fast and simple because all the important steps in the customer journey have been extensively tested and optimised.
To optimally load the Etos brand, recognisable typographic stylistic elements have been designed and developed in a playful manner. The headings, characteristic of the Etos brand, jump out of the grid when Etos wants to inspire users, while informative components take on a sleeker typographic style. This provides a good balance between the fun that’s associated with the Etos brand and the user-friendliness of the online shopping experience. Moreover, in collaboration with Etos, DEPT® established a content strategy that produced a number of copywriting and photography guidelines. This includes the humour incorporated in the tone-of-voice, the lovely photography and the subtle animations that return throughout the customer journey. All elements that make the online shopping experience even more fun!
Salesforce commerce cloud x Etos.nl
As the Etos webshop had to be launched quickly, Salesforce Commerce Cloud was the logical choice. The SaaS platform is known for its speed, scalability, many merchandising options and out-of-the-box features that allow an initial version to be launched very quickly. What’s more, the platform also offers a range of Artificial Intelligence options, which are quite helpful when it comes to smart recommendations and searches.
However, there were more aspects that we had to keep in mind: as a member of Ahold, there are stringent requirements with regard to reconciliation, security, performance and accessibility. These requirements affect the entire development process, from design, specifications, building, and testing to handover. The many integrations with respect to loyalty, product catalogue, financial reports, user provisioning, store information, inventory and price details made this a challenging project with a large number of involved parties. Since Etos had never had a webshop before, many of these processes had to be designed and worked out from scratch.
Turning Point is a leading social enterprise working extensively with the Government to provide health and social care services at 350 locations across England. Rightsteps, part of Turning Point, supports employee health and wellbeing with counselling and on-demand programmes through its online platform. During the Coronavirus pandemic, Turning Point wanted to make its services more accessible, and collaborated with DEPT® to create a new direct-to-consumer brand: livelife.
Defining a brand proposition
Remote workshops led by DEPT® unearthed livelife’s brand purpose as breaking the stigma of mental health, allowing people to confidently engage in conversations about mental wellbeing. Its long-term aim is to be recognised as the go-to private counselling brand. DEPT® took a deep dive into the niche industry, focusing on key competitors.
DEPT® analysed livelife’s top three competitors across eight areas including: mission and proposition; target audience; price point; colours and type; photography; tone of voice; website, and SEO performance. We saw homogenous brand missions and similar service offerings, which indicated that there was an opportunity for livelife to disrupt the market.
Colours to instil positivity
A brand colour palette was created using lavender as the primary colour supported by mint. These colours are known to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing due to their association with flowering plants. They will provide accessibility, simplicity and consistency throughout livelife’s brand communications. Secondary colours were included to be used sparingly throughout illustration and photography to maintain meaning and potency. Gradients were also recommended for digital design to add intrigue and encourage engagement. The third palette is made up of off-blacks and neutral tones to add a softer touch when depicting hierarchy between headlines, subheadings and body copy.
Designed to stimulate mental wellbeing
Inclusive brand imagery
A custom illustration style was created for livelife. It uses bold organic shapes, solid areas of flat colours with minimal detail. Facial expressions avoid details like eyebrows and mouths to reserve judgement. The simple style without shadows or outlines gives an anonymous feel that can appeal to everyone. The illustrations were designed to be unique and easy to understand at a single glance.
DEPT® created a photography style guide to explaining which types of images best represent the brand. livelife should showcase people in comfortable environments to instil feelings of calm and relaxation. Images should feature a diverse range of people that feel authentic and don’t look like professional models. Images should not be taken head-on or staged, although they should adhere to professional photography standards for quality and composition.
Market trends point to rapid industry growth for health and wellness, with an increase in mental health awareness. Additionally, technology is becoming more pivotal in healthcare delivery which places livelife’s online counselling proposition at the centre of the curve.
As part of the positioning strategy, livelife will become a carer, educator and awareness-raiser to truly support its audience. A ‘see, think, do, care’ funnel strategy was crafted utilising content, SEO, paid media, marketing automation and organic social media.
DEPT® worked closely with the team at Turning Point to strategically brand its direct to consumer online counselling service. As part of the research and strategy stages, we set ambitious, yet realistic, goals to work towards.
From a marketing perspective, generating brand awareness is the initial goal as well as becoming an industry thought leader. Its modern brand style created around the notion that there ‘is no health without mental health’ is sure to spark the conversation.
Managing Director, Design & Technology UK
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