Healthcare: Top 25 Healthcare Consultancies

The healthcare sector remained largely buoyant in the face of significant changes to the industry and shifting client priorities, reports Nikki Wicks.

Plans to overhaul the NHS and ways to embrace the ongoing rise in digital comms were just two of the factors shaping the healthcare agenda in the past 12 months. As the industry explored ways to get to grips with the challenges, the sector remained resilient.

The top of the 2011 healthcare league table remained largely unchanged from the previous year, with the top three agencies holding their positions. The significant change in the top five results from the absence of FD Healthcare, which declined to post figures for this year's table.

Chandler Chicco Companies once again held on to the top spot. It began an internal restructure in 2010, which EU MD Fiona Hall describes as a 'shift away from traditional brand support towards broader remits'.

Other agencies in the top ten also identified a shift towards wider remits for healthcare comms practitioners. Just Health's MD Jennie Talman says successful agencies will be those 'that can identify the right collaborations and are skilled at building true partnerships'.

Tonic Life Communications and Edelman held on to second and third spots respectively. Tonic had a positive year with a seven per cent fee income rise, winning new business from clients including Bayer, Novartis and Roche. Tonic group CEO Scott Clark says: 'The industry has been fairly buoyant and budgets have certainly rebounded from a few years ago. We expect growth to continue across the sector, but we'll see more from emerging markets.'

Waggener Edstrom showed the strongest growth year on year with a 104 per cent rise on 2009. GyroHSR/Woolley Pau PR also did well, climbing six places up the table with a 59 per cent rise.

Citigate Dewe Rogerson and Freshwater UK were among the agencies that did not do so well, posting falls in income of more than 50 per cent.

New entries included 90TEN Healthcare, which leapt in at number 14. Other newcomers included Aurora Healthcare.

One of the big developments in 2010 came in December, when Chime Communications joined forces with ex-global head of Huntsworth Health, David Rowley, to form Open Health. All eyes have been on the new player in the healthcare sector as the firm looked to make a number of acquisitions, most recently buying 100 per cent of 12th placed agency, Reynolds-MacKenzie.

104% - Increase in healthcare fee income at Waggener Edstrom

Key
A - Rank
B - Rank in top 150
C - Consultancy name
D - Healthcare fee income (pounds k) 2010
E - Healthcare fee income (pounds k) 2009
F - % change
G - Total PR Income 10 (pounds k)
H - % total PR income
I - Staff
J - Location

A B C D E F G
1 18 Chandler Chicco
Companies 10,602 10,642 0 10,602
2 22 Tonic Life
Communications* 8,691 8,103 7 9,105
3 5 Edelman 7,087 6,815 4 28,777
4 43 Red Door
Communications 4,856 4,573 6 4,856
5 45 Virgo Health 4,718 4,100 15 4,718
6 54 Galliard Healthcare
Communications 3,622 3,608 14 3,622
7 60 Just Health Public
Relations 3,189 2,869 11 3,357
8 75 Axon Communications 2,617 2,684 -2 2,617
9 71 Pegasus Public
Relations 2,589 2,235 16 2,751
10 17 The Red Consultancy 2,002 1,773 13 11,930
11 14 College Hill 1,688 1,626 4 16,730
12 108 Reynolds-MacKenzie 1,492 1,438 4 1,492
13 59 hanover 1,375 1,696 -19 3,388
14 122 90TEN Healthcare 1,240 NE 1,240
15 73 Munro & Forster
Communications 1,219 1,273 -4 2,717
16 133 GyroHSR/Woolley Pau PR 949 597 59 1,054
17 61 Waggener Edstrom 939 461 104 3,247
18 148 Aurora Healthcare
Communications 831 NE 831
19 13 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 780 1,671 -53 17,207
20 119 Say Communications 762 816 -7 1,276
21 N/A Tudor Reilly 695 NE 695
22 27 Lexis Public Relations 577 739 -22 7,126
23 N/A CCD Public Relations 521 528 -1 521
24 42 Freshwater 413 855 -52 4,945
25 149 Political Lobbying &
Media Relations 344 NE 820


A B C H I J
1 18 Chandler Chicco
Companies 100 93 London
2 22 Tonic Life
Communications* 95 84 London
3 5 Edelman 25 298 London
4 43 Red Door
Communications 100 41 London
5 45 Virgo Health 100 49 Surrey
6 54 Galliard Healthcare
Communications 100 23 London
7 60 Just Health Public
Relations 95 25 London
8 75 Axon Communications 100 25 Surrey
9 71 Pegasus Public
Relations 94 37 Worthing
10 17 The Red Consultancy 17 152 London
11 14 College Hill 10 178 London
12 108 Reynolds-MacKenzie 100 18 London
13 59 hanover 41 38 London
14 122 90TEN Healthcare 100 14 London
15 73 Munro & Forster
Communications 46 30 London
16 133 GyroHSR/Woolley Pau PR 90 12 London
17 61 Waggener Edstrom 29 40 London
18 148 Aurora Healthcare
Communications 100 10 London
19 13 Citigate Dewe Rogerson 4 111 London
20 119 Say Communications 60 16 London
21 N/A Tudor Reilly 100 8 London
22 27 Lexis Public Relations 9 84 London
23 N/A CCD Public Relations 100 10 London
24 42 Freshwater 8 71 Cardiff
25 149 Political Lobbying &
Media Relations 42 13 London

Chandler Chicco Companies 1

Health fee income £10,602k Growth 0%

- What were the trends in the health PR sector in the past 12 months?

There are two main trends. First, the empowered patient has become a reality. Second, the rise of digital, which has coincided happily with the need to stretch resources further. In our day-to-day work we've seen a shift away from traditional brand support towards broader remits like key account management and wider stakeholder engagement.

- What is the market like now?

Some budgets are slightly more substantive, but just as many remain slender. We find we're getting more approaches from clients in devices, services and speciality, where the pipelines are more modest, but more reliable too.

- What kind of work do clients want?

Clients are coming to us with asking for integrated campaigns, which is exactly what CCC was designed to deliver. They see the value in having the whole comms spectrum in one place, with the associated benefits and synergies delivering efficiency in professional and financial terms.

- What will happen in health PR in the next 12 months?

With so many infrastructures up in the air, in the UK and globally, it's almost impossible to tell.

2010 AT A GLANCE

High points: Our digital work. We produced two apps, six augmented reality pieces and a Twitter campaign leading to one million patient tests for the client.

Low points: Dwindling budget pots were a real challenge. 'More with less' is easier to say than do, although most clients recognise that.

Key client wins: New business wins with GSK, Pfizer, Novartis and Merck Serono.

Best hires: Bringing in Anne-Marie Rodriguez de Killeen as MD of CCA has helped the team evolve into a more flexible force.

Strategy for 2011: To present a single, integrated offering that gives clients the broad services they need from a single, cohesive team.

Predicted fee income for 2011: £11.5m

Just Health Public Relations 7

Health fee income £3,189k Growth 11%

- What were the trends in the health PR sector in the past 12 months?

Clients are increasingly developing comms strategies for a portfolio of brands rather than individual brand campaigns. Agencies need to develop longer-term strategic comms platforms that often include disease education as well as brand-specific work such as scientific data communication.

- What is the market like now?

Client budgets remain healthy but commitments on spend are more likely to be made on a quarterly rather than annual basis. Agencies have to be very good at anticipating the right resource levels so that we can deliver high quality work at short notice.

- What kind of work do clients want?

Our UK work includes a lot of regional campaigning involving a mixture of stakeholders, including media, MPs, NHS bodies and patient groups.

- What will happen in health PR in the next 12 months?

I think collaboration will be a key theme in health PR. The industry will increasingly look to work in true partnership with stakeholders such as healthcare professionals, policy makers and patient advocacy groups.

2010 AT A GLANCE

High points: We worked in collaboration with the NHS on a community initiative and brought together medical experts, patient representatives and health economists through a European initiative.

Low points: Half of the office was flooded due to a blockage in the offices above us. The finance team had to be relocated.

Key client wins: Sanofi Aventis - oncology, UCB - epilepsy franchise.Best hires Alex Biggs, HR director; Corinne Bawn, client financial manager; Gemma Taylor, consultant; Ashley Lewis, consultant; Melanie Fuller, junior consultant.

Strategy for 2011: Diversification. We are expanding our consumer health and public affairs capabilities.

Predicted fee income for 2011: £3.4m

Waggener Edstrom 17

Health fee income £939k Growth 104%

- What were the trends in the health PR sector in the past 12 months?

Integrated influence: convergence of traditional healthcare PR and medical education approaches, using digital platforms. Comms strategies are increasingly based on disease management now, rather than treatment.

- What is the market like now?

There's laser focus on ROI. Engagement with procurement teams happens much earlier. Some clients are adopting a campaign-based approach to road-test new comms approaches and measure efficacy and ROI of digital campaigns.

- What kind of work do clients want?

The desire to listen to consumers discussing diseases online is driving demand for bespoke analysis tools. New styles and platforms for internal comms are high on the buying agenda, along with bespoke training programmes.

- What will happen in health PR in the next 12 months?

Communicators and agencies will need to be more open to collaboration as more companies work together on research and development and jointly funded disease awareness programmes. With fewer blockbuster drugs expected from the pharma industry, audience-specific campaigns that demonstrate tangible changes in behaviour will be key to success.

2010 AT A GLANCE

High points: The ability to work with patient groups as direct clients.

Low points: Uncertainty around changes in the NHS has made clients reluctant to commit to long-term programmes.

Key client wins: Strong organic growth from existing clients.

Best hires: Vice-president, healthcare Dali Clough and associate director Deborah Corcoran.

Strategy for 2011: Grow our client base and service offering under the direction of Jane Brearley to deliver truly integrated programmes with ROI at the heart.

Predicted fee income for 2011: £1.2m

Aurora Healthcare Communications 18

Health fee income £831k Growth New entry

- What were the trends in the health PR sector in the past 12 months?

Responding to our changed society, online comms are now increasingly taking the lead over offline activity. Traditional media relations continues to be important in generating conversations about health online.

- What is the market like now?

The market feels incredibly buoyant at the moment with budgets bouncing back and plenty of opportunity. Of course, we have all learned to spend our money more wisely: clients expect, and agencies need to deliver, value for money.

- What kind of work do clients want?

The demand for social media counsel continues to grow from pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers. We are also being called on for expertise around market access, to help communicate the value that a medicine or service can bring to patients, the healthcare system and the company so that they all realise the full potential of a brand.

- What will happen in health PR in the next 12 months?

There are a lot of innovative niche medicines and services coming through that are really interesting. We also expect to continue to communicate these via new and emerging channels.

2010 AT A GLANCE

High points: Retaining all our clients from 2009 and moving offices to a great new space in Farringdon.

Low points: The first member of staff to leave in five years.

Key client wins: Roche and GlaxoSmithKline.

Best hires: Account managers Gill Dunn, Emma Ellwood and Katie Armson: great all-round communicators with amazing flair for digital and media relations.

Strategy for 2011: Vigorously growing the business and unwaveringly delivering on our winning happy team, happy clients philosophy. Expanding our market access and digital practices to help our clients in these critical areas.

Predicted fee income for 2011: An increase of £1m to £1.8m.

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