NEJM’s Transition From Medical Journal to Platform

  • Healthcare
  • Publishing
bones on medical book

The Challenge

Transforming the medical journal brand, New England Journal of Medicine, into an enterprise-wide medical information platform.

The Opportunity

Creating a master brand that encompasses the brand's existing offerings and allows for new product developments in untapped markets.

The Outcome

Communicating the brand's new strategy and growth direction through an engaging and effective anniversary campaign.

Two Centuries at the Cutting Edge

With more than 25,000 physicians and student members, the Massachusetts Medical Society is the oldest continuously operating medical society in the United States and the publisher of the world’s most prestigious medical journal, the New England Journal of Medicine. As both the publishing and healthcare information spaces change, the New England Journal of Medicine engaged Vivaldi seeking a brand transformation to transform from a print asset business to an enterprise-wide medical information platform.

“Vivaldi’s creativity, professionalism, dedication and brainpower were the magic ingredients in this nearly year-long project. Our teams here have learned so much from Vivaldi—agility in decision-making, openness to new creative approaches, strategic thinking in new media, and collaboration within our organization and with partners. I have particularly benefited from the quality and depth of our working relationship with Vivaldi and their savvy support for making the 200th-anniversary program a success for both inside and external audiences.”
— Christine Lamb, Director, Corporate Marketing, NEJM Group

Creating the NEJM Group Brand

Using our proprietary Demand-First Innovation and Growth (DIG) methodology, the Vivaldi team completed a study of physicians’ daily lives in order to better understand the changing needs of healthcare professionals, particularly around the demand for information. In addition, we performed a thorough analysis of the brand’s “permission to play” and defined its scope and extendibility, validated through a quantitative research study among approximately 1,000 physicians and medical professionals across the United States.

These insights helped the Vivaldi team discover new opportunities in entirely untapped markets, particularly around ongoing education and professional development.

This study resulted in the creation of a new master brand – NEJM Group. Vivaldi defined the overall positioning, brand strategy and comprehensive brand architecture to help NEJM Group achieve its strategic goals. The master brand positioning was reflected in the new master brand identity and full creative development of the new brand architecture. Once the new brand architecture was developed, we established extensive implementation guidelines for both existing offerings and products and templates for new product developments.

“It’s been an honor to work alongside the NEJM team in such a time of transformation. We’re excited to be part of this ongoing journey.”
— Anne Olderog, Director, Vivaldi Partners

The New England Journal of Medicine 200th anniversary campaign

The 200th anniversary campaign of the New England Journal of Medicine offered a perfect opportunity to celebrate the rich history of the venerated brand, as well as its new strategy and growth directions. Vivaldi was tasked with developing a comprehensive 360-degree, year-long campaign that launched on January 1, 2012.

An overall campaign theme was developed , with a messaging architecture to target each audience segment most effectively

To bring the campaign theme to life, a marketing and launch plan was defined to maximize buzz in the category and create maximum impact in PR and social media channels, especially with narrowly defined target audiences

The campaign identity and look and feel were developed to reflect the theme. While coherent with basic branding rules set by the NEJM Group brand, the anniversary campaign had a distinctive, unique, and engaging look and feel to trigger target audience interest and engagement

The campaign theme and look and feel were developed into key campaign communications, including the anniversary pamphlet, website, event displays, event invitations and programs, and social media channels, e.g.:

A social media campaign, including a structured, goal-driven campaign calendar and training of the social media team

A dedicated anniversary website, including: an interactive historic timeline (also available as an iPad app) of medical advances from the last 200 years that links the history of modern medicine to content from the New England Journal of Medicine Archive; an invitation to readers to submit an anniversary message, a story about how the New England Journal of Medicine has affected them, or a video explaining why the New England Journal of Medicine matters; an opportunity to vote each month for the most important article in a specific time period, culminating in readers deciding at the end of the year what is the most important article in New England Journal of Medicine history; a historical image challenge.

The anniversary campaign created strong engagement with target audiences, in particular practicing physicians. The NEJM 200th anniversary website created by the Vivaldi team was particularly successful, with daily traffic exceeding the expected number of visitors per month. Over time, website traffic tripled due to physician engagement with the launch campaign, a series of videos, and comments posted throughout the year of the launch.