Live from Cannes Lions Health: Andrew Barraclough, Vice President of Global Design and Innovation at GlaxoSmithKline, is committed to making design a powerful partner for change in every aspect of customer experience. 

Design used to always happen at the end in our industry. Now – when we do it right -- experience design touches every part of development, from before a product is conceptualized until it’s evolving in market. 

That can be difficult to operationalize in healthcare because each of our communications specialists – PR, product, digital, etc. – is working in its silo, writing its own brief, engaging its own external partners. But design is agnostic. It’s a little bit of everything. It can – with our support – have permission to cut across all the departments and silos. Barraclough said at GSK, that’s a new era: one that moves us from design thinking to design linking. It’s that shift that lets us create connected experiences across specialties and across geographies. 

For each brand, GSK puts five design tools in place to help better connect experiences and work with the future in mind:

  1. 2D brand elements: codifying all the visual and verbal elements that unify the brand
  2. 3D brand elements: showing the DNA of the products themselves, including the packages and form factors that shape customer experiences
  3. Experience brand language: creating the sensorial cues, character, and ways the brand responds
  4. Concept car: introducing a product vision of the future that becomes a north star in making decisions today based on where the product is headed 
  5. Concept environment: building an AR model of the ultimate product shopping environment or experience

How do those elements help create design opportunity? Barraclough shared one example from Sensodyne, a brand with a very expensive question: most people are introduced to Sensodyne through their dentist. But, GSK only converts 30% of the customers it samples through that channel. How could design help?  

Barraclough started with developing personas of dentists, then overlaid the service journey of those doctors with the interaction points they have with customers. There, they were able to find new opportunity areas, ones that appreciated the holistic relationship between patient and professional. 

The team designed small shifts, like getting the samples out of the drawer and building a sampling station that shows all of the GSK brands with additional education included. Adding wayfinding to coupons. And, experimenting with AR patient experiences that serve to both to eliminate anxiety during the treatment and educate on why teeth are sensitive and how Sensodyne can help. 

Each of those steps is an incremental gain. It’s a shift from design thinking to design linking that over time will fundamentally change the customer experience.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.