Top 25 Healthcare Consultancies: Meet the star agencies

Gemma O'Reilly speaks to four agencies that have experienced major growth in 2007.

Rank: 1
Income: £7.3m
Growth: 47%

Table-topper Chandler Chicco's fee income for 2007 was built on a combination of new clients and growth from existing accounts, says EU director of operations Fiona Hall.


Last year the agency increased its client list from 16 in 2006 to 23, bringing the number of brands on its books to 70. Big wins included medical nutrition company Nutricia, GlaxoSmithKline's biologicals and consumer brand Danone.

The agency's position in the top spot for 2007 makes up for it being pipped at the post last year. It has grown 47 per cent, increasing its fee income from £4.9m in 2006 to £7.3m in 2007, and has leapfrogged last year's number one, Edelman.

Last year also saw the agency bought up by US pharmaceutical marketing company InVentiv Health for £32m in June. Hall says the acquisition has created international partnerships outside traditional PR, such as the World Diabetes Foundation campaign.

CCA had to raise awareness of diabetes at a summit in Africa. A mix of representatives from the World Health Organisation Africa, political leaders, community diabetes specialists, patients and the media were in attendance.

While the agency has a host of ethical clients, it is also expanding its consumer health division and the appointment by Danone in 2007 was a big win for the team.

This year already looks set to be 'another successful year' says Hall. The agency has already launched a specialist healthcare consultancy in 2008, Brandtectonics Europe, offering support for clients trying to overcome 'market access' challenges.

Hall says of the new division: 'The pharmaceutical industry is being challenged like never before. As a result, our clients are looking to us to provide a broader range of integrated services to support commercialisation of their products.'

Three best campaigns of 2007: International survey into anthropology of beauty campaign for Allergan; Eyecampus campaign for Pfizer; Diabetes awareness campaign for the World Diabetes Foundation.

Significant hire of 2007: Sarah Morgan as European talent manager.

Predicted fee income for 2008: £8.7m

Plans for the next 12 months: Growth of newly formed Brandtectonics division; strengthening and continuing to expand global network; growth of digital practice capability.

Rank: 7
Income: £2.8m
Growth: 30%

Galliard experienced a 70 per cent pitch win rate in 2007, which added to the agency's growth from both new business and organic business, says MD Marika Freris.

2007 saw the agency leap three places in the league table to seventh, with fee income up 29 per cent to £2.8m. It also ranked 71st in the Top 150 Consultancies list.

Galliard MD Marika Freris says that despite the agency's relatively small staff base of 23, the revenue Galliard makes is considerable when compared with other agencies and their larger workforces.

'Last year we were deliberately introspective,' says Freris. 'We wanted to make sure that every team member offered their client the best service without having to work longer hours.'

Freris believes the key to the agency's success is its investment in its people. 'We have a "balanced life" policy and we focus on quality of life for our workforce.

Thirty per cent of our staff work part-time and we have an average of fewer than 1.5 days sickness per annum.' Motivating staff also means rewarding them for their hard work so the agency took all employees on a four-day skiing trip in 2007 to say thank you.

Galliard also implemented a therapy area knowledge-sharing philosophy, which means that each member of staff is briefed about all of the therapy areas in which the agency works.

Freris believes that the key to effective comms is responding to client challenges. 'The industry is going through major challenges and we need to be proposing new comms solutions that will meet their needs. '

While the agency won new work for clients including Roche Global and Pfizer throughout 2007, its main focus is servicing existing clients and making sure they are happy: 'We've never lost a client, although we have stopped working on clients if their product has been withdrawn.'

Three best campaigns of 2007: Global launches for Avastin in Breast and lung cancer for Roche Global; new data in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia for GSK; AstraZeneca three-year training, education and personal development programme for cardiovascular clinicians.

Significant hire of 2007: Jon Harris as account director, joining from the same role at Lowe Fusion.

Predicted fee income for 2008: £3.1m

Plans for the next 12 months: Recruiting both senior and junior staff to build its employee base.

Rank: 13
Income: £1.4m
Growth: 39%

West Sussex-based Pegasus PR saw its fee income grow 39 per cent in 2007, pushing it up four places in the league table to 13.

This could be credited to the addition of 11 clients to the agency's books during the year, including eyecare company Bausch & Lomb and the Health Food Manufacturers' Association. Last year the agency also refreshed its brand identity.

'We overhauled the agency's identity and decided to focus on a "fresh air and fresh thinking" mantra that highlights our service offering and South Coast location,' says Pegasus MD Lisa Bradley.

The refresh also helped recruit new staff. The agency took on six more staff in 2007 and is currently looking for an account executive and account manager to join its healthcare teams. It is also recruiting for a senior account director to head up its growing natural beauty division.

Bradley cites the agency's campaign for Thornton & Ross as one of the highlights of 2007. The 'Once a week take a peek' campaign for head lice brand Hedrin aimed to educate parents, schools and pharmacists to check regularly for head lice. It generated more than 80,000 requests for campaign leaflets and the product continues to lead the market.

While the agency offers PR staples such as media relations, Bradley is keen that it becomes recognised for its fully integrated services, such as its work to launch Goldshield's new weight management brand LIPObind.

Working as brand manager, Pegasus designed new packaging, developed an online strategy, built credibility using experts and celebrity endorsement and conducted a large-scale print, online, TV and outdoor advertising campaign. From launch in February 2007, the product became the best-selling weight loss supplement by value by April this year.

The agency is on target for 40 per cent growth this year and has already landed five new clients.

Three best campaigns of 2007: 'Once a week take a peek' campaign for Hedrin Headlice Lotion for Thornton & Ross; launch of Goldshield's weight management brand LIPObind; positioning for the Health Food Manufacturers' Association as the authoritative voice of the industry.

Significant hires of 2007: Senior account manager Stephanie Butt from Bell Pottinger; senior account manager Heidi Bruckland from BSkyB.

Predicted fee income for 2008: £2.2m

Plans for the next 12 months: Investing heavily in staff training programme, focusing in particular on digital skills.

Rank: 8
Income: £2.6m
Growth: 39%

Tonic's second appearance in the Healthcare League Table has seen it jump three places to number eight. Fee income has grown 39 per cent to £2.6m in 2007. 'We have kept our start-up mentality of being hungry every day,' says Tonic Life Communications CEO and founder Scott Clark.

Clark puts the agency's success down to the core team having been involved in a previous start-up. He launched CPR Worldwide, which was bought by Fleishman-Hillard in 1999. He then set up Tonic with co-founder Oliver Parsons in 2004. 'We have the benefit of key learnings from a decade ago. We don't have the same teething problems that other start-ups do,' he says.

The agency currently has a mix of ethical, consumer and lifestyle healthcare brands. Its range of work includes women's health for Novo Nordisk, Pampers for Procter & Gamble, cancer for GlaxoSmithKline and central nervous system for Johnson & Johnson.

Clark believes Tonic has been ahead of the rest in offering consumer and lifestyle services for clients. 'This has been key to our growth and will continue to be for the future.'

This year there has been a continued focus on the agency's US offices in Dallas and New York, both launched at the beginning of 2007. 'Last year was the American offices' first full year in operation and they have been profitable from day one,' says Clark.

'Despite the credit crunch, the US is still the world's largest pharma market and we are seeing more and more pitch opportunities opening up in the US.'

While Tonic handles some UK work, its main focus is on global and pan-European activity. Clark says the agency is set to explore opportunities in Asia Pacific later this year. He is also planning to expand the company's small medical education and medical communications division, which currently has two staff.

Three best campaigns of 2007: GlaxoSmithKline - European pre-launch campaign for new oral breast cancer treatment Tyverb (lapatinib); Reckitt Benckiser Dettol - Hygiene Council and Public Awareness Campaign; Cadbury Schweppes 'Chocology' - The Science Behind a Well Loved Treat (shortlisted for a European Sabre Award)

Significant hires of 2007: Senior account managers Rachel Bannister, from Red Door, and Sarah Ballard, from Hill & Knowlton

Predicted fee income for 2008: £4m

Plans for the next 12 months: Possibly opening an Asia Pacific office.

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