Chandler Chicco Agency: Agency Business Report 2007

As PRWeek's 2007 Agency of the Year, CCA continues to establish itself as an agency able to balance growth and a unique culture that helps it keep key talent.

As PRWeek's 2007 Agency of the Year, CCA continues to establish itself as an agency able to balance growth and a unique culture that helps it keep key talent.

It seems each year is better than the last for the 11-year-old firm. "It was a watershed year for us," says principal Robert Chandler, adding that the firm is focusing on keeping its culture intact while it experiences growth - boasting just under 60 new hires over the past year while having established programs like Junior Staff Mentors and the Employee Exchange Program to help foster that culture.

The firm also continues to expand capabilities around the globe, allowing substantial organic growth to provide the backbone of its business. But 2006 was a standout year for new business, allowing CCA to raise its visibility in regional and global markets. What's more, CCA is constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve, innovating from within during a crucial time in healthcare PR.

"Looking at expanding our policy capabilities, we have a unique measurement tool, Panorama, which we'll be offering to clients and expanding as a capability," says Chicco.

The launch of Health360Strategies, led by Allison Mary Rosen of CCA and Dean Rosen of MVC, also helped the agency's visibility within policy circles. The post-election forum it sponsored was wildly successful, providing a diverse set of views from within the healthcare sector and allowing Washington a chance to grapple with the issues before it following the vote.

The firm also continues to strengthen a long-standing alliance with 30 agencies in Europe, sharing training capabilities and information, allowing it to grow in markets it might otherwise not. That group of agencies will hold a summit this year to discuss the strengthening relationship.

The agency also says that it is looking at possible acquisitions in the coming year, though it won't say in what regions or sectors.

And while work within the healthcare sector is constantly changing and evolving, CCA is hedging its bets, diversifying as much as possible within the business and cultivating the business it already has. "We're not dependent on other generalized approaches to healthcare," says Chicco. "We're always looking at ways to expand.

KEY FACTS

Principals: Robert Chandler and Gianfranco Chicco

Ownership: Independent

Subsidiary agencies: Biosector2

Offices: Three in the US, two rest of the world

2006 US revenue: $28,388,924

Staff

US headcount stands at 140, with 47 additional staffers overseas. The staff underwent a turnover rate of 23% in 2006. Chandler Chicco made a small but significant number of senior-level hires across its offices, mostly concentrated outside the US. Those included Fiona Hall, who was made MD for CCA Europe; Neil McGregor-Paterson, MD, CCA London; Jean-Yves Goar, MD, CCA Paris; Helayne Spivak, chief creative officer; and Marianne Eisenmann, head of Determinus. CCA lost two top-level people in its London office when Jennie Talman, MD, and Emma Crozier, team leader, both departed.

Regional performance

CCA continued to build its global operations in 2006 with the addition of a wholly owned Paris office and strategic alliances with firms in Eastern Europe, Japan, and India. Rapid expansion in Asia continues, as CCA further establishes a foothold there. Regional performance fared well, with the firm outgrowing three of its offices, in London, DC, and LA. In the US, both the DC office and the West Coast regions grew substantially, experiencing 9% and 14% growth, respectively. The DC office continues to experience growth in health policy work.

Practice areas

The firm has only one practice area - healthcare - with specialty offerings including branding, advertising, and interactive. It continued to develop its policy and research and measurement divisions under the healthcare umbrella in 2006. Policy expertise grew through a partnership with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti (MVC), a DC government affairs practice. In March, the union launched Health360Strategies, a service that takes views across healthcare, media, and policy climates to develop integrated public affairs and PR programs. In addition to the building the policy expertise, CCA launched a new research and measurement unit, Determinus, to "develop innovative ways to research, measure, and report on client initiatives."

Accounts

Key account wins in 2006 included global tasks for GlaxoSmithKline biologicals vaccines, and projects within the Novartis CV franchise. In London, wins came from EMD Stimuvax, Medtronic, Merck KGaA, Novartis Diovan Japan, UCB EquasymXL global, and Schering women's health. At home, there were regional wins for Allergan lap-brand eye care, Inogen, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Relsys, Roche Diagnostics, Sanofi-Aventis, Valeant, and VHA Health Foundation. CCA did not lose any key accounts, adding that at least half a dozen expanded into new regions/markets throughout 2006. At least four of the wins were across three or more countries, including accounts for Allergan, Novartis, and Novo Nordisk.

Financial performance

CCA recorded global revenue of $38,505,603, up 10.1% over 2005. US revenue also rose; the agency reported it at $28,388,924, which represents a 12.4% increase over 2005. CCA says it experienced both top- and bottom-line growth over the past year, while 58.5% of its growth was organic, and 41.5% was accounted for with new business.

Agency's full questionnaire follows below:

Name of parent division/company (enter both where applicable)
Chandler Chicco Companies

Name of subsidiary companies
N/A

Has your ownership status changed in the past year? If yes, please explain
No; CCA remains independent.

Name of global CEO and US CEO (or most senior equivalent)
Robert Chandler and Gianfranco Chicco,
co-founders and principals.

Name of person, if any, the most senior person named above reports to
N/A

What is your current headcount?
187

How has your headcount changed since FY 2005?
Headcount in 2006 represented a 17% increase over 2005.

What was the percentage of staff turnover in 2006?
23%

Did you make any senior hires in 2006 (VP and higher)? Please state name, title (and unique responsibilities, if applicable), and previous company.

  • Fiona Hall, managing director CCA Europe, formerly at Weber Shandwick
  • Neil McGregor-Paterson, Managing Director CCA London, formerly at Weber Shandwick
  • Jean-Yves Goar, managing director CCA Paris, formerly independent consultant (after time with Burson-Marsteller, Golin Harris, and PorterNovelli)
  • Helayne Spivak, chief creative officer, formerly at Energy BBDO
  • Marianne Eisenmann, head of Determinus, formerly at Echo Research

What senior staff have departed the firm? Please state name and previous title.

  • Jennie Talman, managing director CCA London
  • Emma Crozier, team leader CCA London

Please list any other senior management changes, including restructures and significant, senior-level promotions. N/A

Have you made any acquisitions in the past year, or merged with another agency?
No.

How many wholly owned offices do you have globally? Please list with agency names and cities under the following headings. Add majority-owned offices in parentheses.
Continuing to build our international operations was a key objective for 2006. With the addition of a wholly-owned Paris office, key hires in the CCA London office, and strategic alliances with Eastern European, Japanese and Indian agencies, we secured more global business than ever before. In Japan, we are already working on-site with our affiliate for a major global client.

North America

Chandler Chicco Agency, New York
Chandler Chicco Agency, Washington, DC
Chandler Chicco Agency, Los Angeles

Europe

Chandler Chicco Agency, London
Chandler Chicco Agency, Paris

How many partly owned offices or affiliates do you operate globally? Please list agency names and cities under the following headings.

North America

Veritas Communications, Toronto, Canada (affiliate)

Latin America

The Jeffrey Group, various offices in Latin America (affiliate)

Europe

Haas & Health Partners, Frankfurt, Germany (affiliate)
Think Tank, Milan, Italy (affiliate)

Middle East

Dreams, Egypt/UAE/Kuwait (affiliate)

Asia Pacific

Positive Communications, New Delhi, India (affiliate)
Macoll, Seoul, Korea (affiliate)
Cosmo PR, Tokyo, Japan (affiliate)
Eastwei, Shanghai/Beijing, China (affiliate)
Royce Communications, Sydney/Melbourne, Australia (affiliate)

What offices opened in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)
In April 2006, CCA opened a wholly-owned office in Paris, France. The office is led by Jean-Yves Goar, a communications specialist with more than 15 years of experience in healthcare, corporate and consumer communications. His communications experience encompasses risk prevention in HIV and cardiovascular diseases, hormone replacement therapies, behaviour therapies, corporate communications for clinical trials companies and crisis/issue management for the pharmaceutical industry. Jean-Yves also has a strong background in cosmetic and food communications.

Additionally, with 12% growth in revenue over 2005, and nearly 40 new employees in the US alone, CCA outgrew three of its offices, setting up space in new locations in London, Washington and Los Angeles.

What offices closed in 2006 or early 2007? (State when)
N/A

Which regions, US and globally, are growing, and why?
From our perspective, the regions growing the most significantly in the US are Washington, DC and the West Coast. We've seen our offices in those areas grow 9% and 14%, respectively, over the past year.

What's driving the growth? For Washington, it comes down to spending. The federal government is set to be the largest purchaser of healthcare, resulting in greater scrutiny and oversight of today's healthcare companies. Successful clients know they need a better understanding of the environment in which health policy decisions are made and are working with CCA to help guide them through the policy landscape to make the best communications decisions.

In California (what we fondly call the healthcare capital of the West), our Los Angeles office has experienced exponential growth in the market because it meets the demand from companies looking for a NY-type agency in their own backyard. As the industry grows in the West, companies not only want partners who have a deep understanding of healthcare but also the capabilities of a large agency with an entrepreneurial culture that aligns more closely with the spirit of the industry in this market.

Asia presents more opportunities for the healthcare industry due in part to deglobalization but also a shift in the political and social landscape with respect to the receipt of healthcare information. In markets such as China, Korea and Japan, we are seeing an opportunity for more disease awareness and education and a greater emphasis being placed on overall health. However, multinational companies seeking more business opportunities in these markets need to better understand the nuances of communicating in these countries - especially when it comes to health and wellness. To help clients meet this need, CCA has expanded its offerings by affiliating with PR firms who have local market expertise and can provide valuable insight on the opportunities and challenges of doing business in the Asian market. In the past year, CCA has assisted clients with local in-market expertise through affiliates in China, Korea and most recently, Japan. We believe we will see continued growth in Asia and more emphasis placed on tailored, local market communication.

Which regions, US and globally, are shrinking, and why?
At this critical time for healthcare communications, there are no regions we see shrinking in importance.

Practice areas

How many practice areas do you have? Please list.
Chandler Chicco Agency has one practice area: healthcare. However, we did engage in further development of our policy and research & measurement divisions under the healthcare umbrella.

In 2006, Chandler Chicco Agency (CCA) continued to enhance its health policy expertise through a growing partnership with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti (MVC), a leading DC government affairs practice. In March 2006, CCA and MVC launched Health360Strategies (H360S), a service that takes a full-circle view of the healthcare business, media and policy climates to develop integrated public affairs and public relations programs. Led by Allison May Rosen of CCA and Dean Rosen of MVC, H360S has positioned itself at the forefront of what's happening in public relations and public affairs in DC and already is undertaking projects from major pharmaceutical companies and large health foundations. Most recently, H360S sponsored a post-election forum, a three-panel program providing views from Main Street, Wall Street and Capitol Hill for healthcare executives from provider, professional, managed care, pharmaceutical and non-profit organizations. Among the highly sought-after panelists that led the discussion were:

  • Leslie Norwalk - acting administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Julie Rovner - health policy correspondent, National Public Radio
  • Anna Greenberg - Democratic polling strategist, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
  • Bill McInturff - GOP polling strategist, Public Opinion Strategies
  • Deborah Mizeur - professional health staff for Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
  • Colette Desmaris - senior health policy advisor, Senate Finance Committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley

In addition to building our policy expertise, CCA has launched a new research and measurement division, Determinus. Under the leadership of Marianne Eisenmann, Determinus and CCA will continue to develop innovative ways to research, measure and report on client initiatives.

Which ones are new?
N/A

Of those, which ones are part of the core strategy of the agency?
N/A

Which practice areas have been phased out in the past year?
N/A

What practice areas showed the most growth? Please elucidate.
N/A

Which practice areas showed the least growth? Please elucidate.
N/A

What is the distribution of accounts across practice areas?
N/A

Accounts

What key account wins did you have in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
Last year was a record year for CCA in terms of new business. We are proud to be continually short-listed for pitches with nearly every major global pharmaceutical company and are ready for another year of breakneck new business pace. Just some of the nearly 40 client wins across the globe included:

GLOBAL

  • GSK Biologicals vaccines
  • Novartis CV Franchise
  • BMS Medical Imaging

LONDON

  • EMD - Stimuvax
  • Medtronic
  • Merck KGaA
  • Novartis -Diovan Japan
  • Schering Women's Health
  • UCB - EquasymXL global
  • J&J - Velcade & Eprex

PARIS

  • Allergan

NEW YORK, LOS ANGELES, WASHINGTON

  • Allergan - Lap-Band, Eye Care
  • Inogen
  • J&J Procrit
  • J&J/Vistakon - Acuvue
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Relsys
  • Roche Diagnostics
  • Sanofi-Aventis
  • Valeant
  • VHA Health Foundation

Of your 2006 wins, how many were across three or more countries?
Of CCA's 2006 new business wins, four were across three or more countries. Those four included accounts for Allergan, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis and Novo Nordisk.

What key accounts did you lose in 2006? If based outside the US, or are global, please state regions.
CCA did not lose any key accounts in 2006.

Did you expand any existing accounts into new domestic or international markets or sectors? Please elucidate.
At least half a dozen of our accounts expanded into new regions/markets throughout 2006. Unfortunately, due to client confidentiality agreements, we cannot provide further details.

What proportion of your clients are on a retainer?
None of CCA's clients are on a retainer, but we have contracts with all.

Has this changed over the past year?
This represents no change over the previous year.

Performance

What was your 2006 global (including US) revenue?
$38,505,603

What was the % change over 2005 global revenue?
This is a 10.1% increase over 2005, which represents CCA's eleventh year of double-digit revenue growth.

What was your global profit margin in 2006?
We do not provide profit margin information; it is considered proprietary information.

What was your 2006 US revenue?
$28,388,924

What was the % change over 2005 US revenue?
This is a 12.4% increase over 2005.

What was your US profit margin in 2006?
We do not provide profit margin information; it is considered proprietary information.

Did you experience top-line or bottom-line growth in the past year, or both? Please elucidate.
CCA experienced both top- and bottom-line growth over the past year.

How much of your growth was organic, and how much was due to new business won?
New business accounted for 41.5% of our growth over 2005, and the remaining 58.5% was a result of organic growth.

How did your performance, in terms of revenue and growth, meet expectations you had for the year? Please answer this even if you have not submitted revenue figures, including any information that characterizes your 2006 performance.
Our performance in 2006 met and exceeded our expectations for the year.

Please briefly outline any initiatives undertaken in 2006 that add to your agency's story, such as staff development/training, fundraising/charitable initiatives, community programs, business partnerships, etc.
CCA prides itself on being "client-built" - having a culture that is sustained and motivated by clients - which means that we must be constantly improving our staff's knowledge and skills. As part of the agency's commitment to its employees and the quality of work it provides to its clients, CCA has a comprehensive professional development program. We believe a dedicated professional development initiative helps equip our staff with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in our fast-paced profession.

Phase IV Training and Development - Launched as a proprietary program in June 2004, the Phase IV training program features a rotating schedule of workshops offered virtually every week. In 2006, we held 41 training sessions that were attended by 372 participants. Training courses include such topics as writing style, media pitching skills, team building, FDA and EU regulatory process, creativity and brainstorming skills. In addition to these workshops, all employees participate in Team Styles, a two-part workshop designed for teams to better understand their work and communication styles and learn strategies to best work together. Employees who attend a total of eight workshops during the calendar year earn an extra day off. 

Programming Boot Camp - Programming Boot Camp is an annual, two-day, off-site training workshop to immerse employees in the CCA method of new business programming.Through a presentation and coaching, senior CCA staff help employees understand how trust, knowledge and teamwork are the keys to successful programming. Participants are organized into teams of 6-8 people and asked to write a program based on a real RFP in a compressed timeframe. Teams work throughout the day and into the night researching, brainstorming, developing strategy and creating tactics to develop a program. The training culminates with teams "competing" for the business as they present their formal recommendations to a "client" panel of judges. Ideas generated by CCA Boot Campers during past sessions have become core elements of winning presentations made to "live" clients.
Junior Staff Mentors - All account staff members who are at a junior level (approximately 1 - 3 years experience within this field) are partnered with a more senior level mentor to help guide them through their first few years at CCA. They discuss common work functions as well as issues that may arise. They share their experiences and follow a "Professional Development Plan" that is provided as a guideline of skills and abilities needed throughout their first few years in this field. 

Executive Training Program - CCA hosts an annual six-month, hands-on Executive Training Program in our New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles offices. As a junior member of the professional account staff the Executive Trainee learns professional skills by participating in a series of workshops and a final presentation to the agency, while working on one or two account teams. Executive Trainees acquire hands-on experience and gain exposure to areas such as media relations/monitoring, project management, internal strategy sessions and new business research.The Executive Trainee is responsible for specific assignments; typically components of larger projects.At the end of the six months, the Executive Trainee is considered for full-time hire after confirmation of his/her skills and interest in pursuing a career in healthcare public relations or advertising.

Employee Exchange Program - CCA offers staff a year-long, intra-company exchange program designed to give employees the opportunity to share learned practices, further expand upon industry knowledge and gain new insights and approaches to healthcare public relations from other CCA offices. Employees are selected to take part in this program based on their past account work experience, specific interests areas of interest and the staffing needs of the office they have an interest in.

External Resources - In addition to the internal offerings described above, employees often participate in outside training opportunities such as those offered by industry groups, media outlets and other organizations such as the Healthcare Intelligence Network.

Giving back to the community has always been a priority for CCA. The past year was no exception, and nearly every CCA employee donated their time and/or money to one of many worthy causes CCA supported.

Avon Breast Cancer Awareness Walk - For a second year in a row, CCA participated in the Avon Breast Cancer Awareness Walk. Walkers prepared in the weeks before by making team t-shirts and raising money from family and friends.

Collecting Toys for Those in Need - CCAers helped to bring joy to local children and teens by sending in an array of fun toys including Dora the Explorer, Electronic Twenty Qs, Portable CD players and other games. The agency's New York office was able to collect 50 toys and gift cards for Bridges, a non-profit organization that provides outreach to the homeless in lower Manhattan, Newark and Irvington, NJ.

Semi-Annual Blood Drives - CCA partnered with the NY Blood Center twice over the past year to organize and host blood drives in our neighborhood. Nearly one-third of CCA's New York employees visited the drive in an attempt to donate, and CCA was responsible for approximately 30 donated pints of blood!

MS Bike Tour - CCAers rode in the October 13, 2006, 30-mile tour for a second year in a row. Each team member raised an average of $150 for the cause with more donations pouring in during the final week. During September, CCA was notified that they had won the 2006 MS Bike Tour Jersey Design competition, and the winning jersey was to become the official jersey of the NYC Bike Tour. Chandler Chicco designer Robby Pande was responsible for the design, and the C>C>Cyclers sported the winning jerseys on race day. In addition, various Chandler Chicco services have been offered pro bono to the MS Society.

LA's Heal the Bay Efforts - Heal the Bay is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Santa Monica and Southern California coastal waters safe and healthy for people and marine life. Some of CCA's Los Angeles team headed down to the beach to participate in the annual "Heal the Bay Venice Beach" clean-up.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Workplace Mentoring Program - In August 2005, CCA officially signed on as the first participant in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Workplace Mentoring Program (in the creative arts/communication field). The agency donated $10,000 to be a participant, and will host 10 high school age students four times over the next 6 months. The final program session was held on Monday, February 12, 2007.

2007 Agency Business Report

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