Jakob the Bull

During this two week Industry Project with Novo Nordisk, we were briefed on increasing awareness of Type 1 Diabetes through Team Novo Nordisk (TNN), an all-diabetes sports team comprised of cyclists, triathletes and runners. Spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, the goal of Team Novo Nordisk is to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes.

Team Novo Nordisk has nearly 1 million followers on Facebook. We were asked to find a way to take advantage of this large audience by implementing a strategy that would creatively engage, support and encourage more members of the diabetic and cycling communities to get involved and spread the word about this widespread epidemic.

Research Insights
During the research process, we interviewed several diabetic patients, doctors, sportsmen, nurses, advertisers, media journalists and social media strategists to understand how sports teams and diabetics mightutilize social media channels to garner awareness. We not only investigated opportunities that could inspire diabetic patients, but also studied various ways social media platforms could communicate information and build specific interactions.

Design Challenge
Our initial challenge statements were centered on creating tangible experiences through social media, and while this was an obvious choice,  we noticed that Team Novo Nordisk needed ‘a common thread’ that could weave sartorial communication on social media. TNN would need to not only engage a wide audience but also build a strong brand image through various channels. We found this ‘common thread’ in an approachable mascot that would play a role of brand ambassador for Team Novo Nordisk. Hence, we further narrowed our design challenge to —

“How might we develop a character that engages with a wider audience and accurately communicates the Novo Nordisk’s image and message?”

Experience Prototype

After pressure testing our theory with a separate costume (Benno the Bear), we capitalized on the Novo Nordisk logo, and brought our concept to life in the form of a large blue bull named ‘Jakob’. For experience prototyping, we unleashed him on the masses during the Copenhagen Half Marathon and had him pass out healthy living tips to bystanders. The goal of this exercise was to see how the audience reacted to him and explore how we might utilize a mascot in more public scenarios.

Social Media Ecosystem
The experience prototype helped us to understand how a mascot could be used to approach, energize, and bring people together. We further built a social media strategy that included Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. By understanding each channel’s type of communication and audiences, we were able to create a framework for content across the board.

Since Facebook is the largest channel with the highest number of audience visits, we found it an ideal place to post information about upcoming race events, organize educational outreach programs, relay healthy lifestyle tips and create athlete spotlights using posters and video interviews. Given that Twitter operates at a faster pace, we saw its potential to tweet updates on real time events, stories and recent news about TNN. As a visual platform, we wanted to utilize Instagram as a journal offering a behind the scenes look at Team Novo Nordisk. Finally, YouTube would provide the opportunity to give health and exercise tips, as well as a series with ‘Jakob the Bull’ cooking the recipe of the week.

Value Proposition
In the end, by using this mascot for social media communication, we realized how ‘Jakob the Bull’ could provide rich content opportunities, and at the same time be scalable, adaptable, cost effective and most importantly, devoted to Team Novo Nordisk. His value would be further proven at racing events, school events and healthy lifestyle circles that would engage followers and spread awareness. Novo Nordisk would benefit by building a stronger brand image for Team Novo Nordisk, and would also create an approachable touchpoint between the physical and digital worlds.