Cooney/Waters: Agency Business Report 2014

Losing long-term client Sanofi Pasteur led to a 2013 revenue drop for Cooney/Waters of roughly 26% to just more than $14 million.

Principals: Timothy Bird, president & COO; Anita Bose, chief strategist
Ownership: Creston
Subsidiary agencies: The Corkery Group, Alembic Health Comms
Office: New York
Revenue: $14,020,940
Headcount: 50

Losing long-term client Sanofi Pasteur led to a 2013 revenue drop for Cooney/Waters of roughly 26% to just more than $14 million. Sanofi awarded its flu and meningitis businesses to W2O Group and Chandler Chicco’s Biosector 2 unit. The work is collectively worth $4 million.

Staff was reduced by 20 due to the Sanofi loss, and there was also a consolidation of the firm’s financial, administration, and operations arms. EVP Lisa Weiss was among those who departed the agency.

In 2013, the healthcare-focused firm started the year rebuilding, adding clients and creating a more diversified portfolio, including clients less focused on traditional pharmaceutical, says president and COO Timothy Bird, who now holds the top position at the firm after cofounder Lenore Cooney retired in March of this year.

Greater opportunities
Last year, clients were hesitant to spend while healthcare reform was still uncertain, they were in a "wait-and-see" mode says chief strategist Anita Bose. 

In July, Cooney/Waters launched DJM US, a digital offering to help service clients in areas including digital communications, websites, and mobile apps. Ray Manna was hired as an SVP to support it.

The firm also partnered with independent agency Russo Partners to create Clearpath Health Communications to help clients "at every stage of their life-cycle development," says Bird.

In March of this year, biopharma company Scioderm tapped Clearpath for corporate communications, and investor, patient, and professional PR.

Cooney/Waters formed a new relationship with Novartis vaccines, including doing advocacy work. It also won new business with the UN’s Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council and diagnostic company Alere.

"Our goal is to think about all the different players in the healthcare system and how we can help them with their marketing and communications efforts," explains Bose, who adds that the "big, blockbuster" pharmaceutical accounts of old are now fewer and farther between.

Despite the agency’s recent struggles – this year’s revenue drop was preceded by a 7% dip in 2012 – Bose believes the firm has done "all the right things" to set itself up for "a really strong year."

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