GSK can't deep-clean its image overnight. But it can revamp its websites

GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) image has taken a beating this past year, what with a string of bribery investigations unfolding across China, Europe and the Middle East. And as part of the company's efforts to put a fresh face forward, its websites are getting a makeover.

The British pharma giant has brought on creative consultancy Radley Yeldar to build a new digital framework that will be rolled out in 45 to 50 markets worldwide, the company announced recently. High on the priority list: Defining Glaxo's visual identity and optimizing its sites for mobile users.

That first goal is part of a broader brand refocusing that the company hopes will make it "easy for employees and external customers to have a clear idea of who we are and our role in global healthcare," GSK Digital Communications Director Simon Quayle told FiercePharmaMarketing.

GSK Digital Communications Director Simon Quayle

That involves not only sharpening the sites' narrative and tone, but also tweaking typography, color and other aspects--including the name of the company itself. Instead of using its full moniker, the drugmaker opted to go with simply "GSK" in its logo, Quayle said. "GlaxoSmithKline" is "difficult to pronounce" in other languages--"in fact, it's not so easy in English," he joked.

As for the mobile optimization, that's a no-brainer in today's digital landscape, which has seen both doctors and patients increasingly turning to mobile sources for health news and information. Previous GSK websites in some parts of the world didn't display content so well, prompting the company to go for a responsive design that allows the website to adapt to the device on which it's rendered.

Lately, Glaxo has been working to project the image of a global company with a unified approach to marketing, making moves to roll out its quota-free "Patient First" sales system around the globe. In that sense, it seems only fitting that GSK project a single digital front.

Of course, the new sites will be finely tuned to their respective markets, Quayle said, taking on the local language and flavor of the company. "The website has to flex to meet local needs," he told FiercePharmaMarketing. "But at the end of the day, it has to be a GSK website. It needs to look and feel and sound like GSK, and it needs to be consistent across the world so that wherever you are, you're having a consistent experience of our brand online."

- read GSK's release

Special Report: Top 10 pharma companies by 2013 revenue - GSK

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