Agile Mindset Drives Content Excellence at Novo Nordisk

The Veeva Executive Content Innovation Council recently estimated that 50% of content will be modular by 20251. Yet, our leader spotlight series also found that fewer than one in 10 commercial content leaders has adopted this approach at scale2. Getting started can seem daunting but with the right strategy, modular content can quickly add value to your organization.

High-quality, authentic content is the most critical component, but it’s only part of the equation. You also have to make sure that content gets seen. By creating, reusing, and sharing promotional and medical content across channels, a modular content strategy helps you deliver compliant and customized content, quickly and at scale.

My team at Novo Nordisk is managing 600% more content today, yet production time and costs have decreased. From the outset, we prioritized content with high potential for reuse, taking into account customer needs, channels, and content complexity.

Creating an early adopter culture in your organization

Innovation has always been part of Novo Nordisk’s culture, and our shared mindset has helped us prioritize practical improvements when we see an opportunity. For example, we have been a leader in the diabetes space for more than a century but are now embarking on new therapeutic areas. Facing a fast-growing and significant volume of content, we quickly realized that we needed a new way of working to achieve our business goals.

Here are some things we’ve discovered since our modular content journey started in 2020:
  • Start experimenting early and don’t simply target low-hanging fruit. Our early days of creating a modular content process began by piloting with local teams to get their feedback. Once we established a process, we started with a genuine pain point for the organization, rather than the quickest win. As a result, we focused on our websites—even though emails would have been more straightforward—because corporate brand identity was the strategic priority at the time.
  • Avoid setting overly ambitious timelines. Innovation nearly always takes longer than you think. Build in plenty of flex time as unanticipated obstacles will arise, even if you work with highly collaborative partners.
  • Connect the company vision to KPIs. It’s a balancing act to maintain excitement and secure executive buy-in at the same time. Once senior leadership is on board, connect the vision to the necessary steps and KPIs to reach each milestone. Some of our most meaningful KPIs are content use and reuse, time to market, customer satisfaction, cost reduction, and time saved.
  • Scale up gradually. Accept that each region will adopt modular content at its own pace and that a full roll-out is neither desirable nor feasible. Bandwidth constraints led us to prioritize global rollout and Europe. This also allowed us to iron out some of the kinks along the way.
  • Communicate the full range of benefits. We initially focused on communicating the efficiency gains from the modular content process to our internal customers. However, we pivoted once it became clear just how powerful data-driven content is for continuous measurement and improvement.

Bringing together technology and talent

Based on our experience, here are some key considerations to establishing a scalable content operating model:
  1. Find the right way to manage talent in your organization. At Novo Nordisk, we drove transformation from the inside and insourced key functions within our content factory. This hasn’t stopped us from collaborating widely with vendors. We structured the resourcing model for our content hub to produce the right content for our customers, not just for volume and efficiency.
  2. Content authoring technology is foundational. While there are tremendous benefits to modular content, the volume of content can be overwhelming. Introducing content authoring technology early can reduce friction: for example, by enforcing brand guidelines from the start.
  3. Involve medical, legal, and regulatory (MLR) leaders early. Following our pilot phase in review and approval, we co-designed three standard workflows with the MLR teams covering each content category in Veeva Vault PromoMats: ‘Full MLR’, ‘Light MLR’, and ‘No MLR’. This ensured a more efficient approach to content review and approval.
  4. Be transparent about where bottlenecks are happening. Teams involved in change management need access to visual and intuitive insights to identify weak points in the process. Our country managers and project managers see this information on a dashboard, encouraging healthy competition between teams.

A marathon without a finishing line

As an organization, we have been on the path to delivering modular content for more than two years. There’s no end point to this journey, just as there’s no end point to content excellence.

Our next challenge is to achieve hyper-personalization, at scale. We want to serve up the ‘Netflix experience’ to our customers, using a data-driven approach to provide engaging and relevant content at the right time, based on their needs and interests.

As a result of our highly collaborative partnership, Veeva Vault PromoMats is our single source of truth. We publish digital content for consumption and reuse through our brand portal and intend to be the first to adopt new capabilities in the coming months so that our teams and agencies can benefit from quicker, easier use and reuse.

Any organization striving to make modular content the new way of working will know that mindset shifts take time, persuasion, and metrics—whether that’s within the organization or among partner agencies. You can bring stakeholders on board by showing them what you’re doing. Start small, perhaps with a pilot based on legacy materials, so that you can quickly demonstrate the impact of modular content. Finally, finding the right pace can help to bring the organization with you and gives your team the time to test, learn, and improve.

Read the Q&A with Aleja Betancourt to learn how to achieve content excellence through modular content.

These comments are the views and opinions of Aleja Betancourt and do not necessarily represent those of Novo Nordisk.

1.The Veeva Executive Content Innovation Council comprises leaders from the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. Read the executive brief to learn more.
1.Veeva poll, Leader Spotlight: Novo Nordisk: Making Modular Content the New Way of Working, 2022

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