Cooney/Waters: Agency Business Report 2012

Cooney/Waters wrapped 2011 by acquiring health and medical PR firm The Corkery Group.

Principals: Lenore Cooney, founder and CEO; Timothy Bird, president and COO
Ownership:
Creston
Offices: 3 in New York
Subsidiary agencies:
The Corkery Group; Alembic Health Communications
Revenue: $20,433,000
Headcount: 70

Cooney/Waters wrapped 2011 by acquiring health and medical PR firm The Corkery Group. The $6 million purchase buoyed Cooney's presence in issue-oriented communications around HIV/AIDS.
 
“They understand the medical, economic, political, and cultural forces that inform international health policies of interest to our clients and have a track record of using strategic communications to drive health policy changes,” says Timothy Bird, president and COO at Cooney/Waters Group.
 
The acquisition fueled a staff hike from 48 to 70 and the firm saw a 45% revenue boost, going from about $14 million in 2010 to over $20 million last year. Like-
for-like growth was flat.
 
“Our steady organic growth year over year is a result of our business model that focuses on building stable, long-term relationships,” says Bird. “We have chosen to work with a relatively small number of clients. This enables us to deeply understand their needs and serve as full partners in achieving their goals.”
 
Group divisions Cooney/Waters, Alembic Health Communications, and The Corkery Group are situated in three Manhattan offices within blocks of each other. In the fall, all will move to one new office.
 
To better its offering for non-English speaking audiences, Cooney teamed with The Vox Collective to launch Cultúr Health, an Hispanic healthcare communications service. The union combines Vox's experience in Hispanic and cultural marketing with Cooney/Waters' expertise working for nonprofits and pharma and biotech companies.
 
The offering comes at a time when there are more than 50.5 million Hispanics living in the US, making it the second-largest consumer group after non-Hispanic whites.
 
Client partnerships
Sanofi Pasteur and biopharma company UCB have utilized the service to create grassroots programs to reach Hispanics at greater risk for many treatable diseases.
 
These campaigns have worked because they leverage cultural insight and don't simply translate outreach materials, says Bird.

Cooney/Waters and Sanofi Pasteur teamed on the campaign Vacune a Sus Hijos Adolescentes (Get Your Teens Vaccinated), which targeted Los Angeles County. In the months following the initiative's introduction, sales of meningitis vaccine in the area grew three times the rate of the rest of the state.

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