Category Archives: Agency Life

Our Impact in 2014

Agency Management, by David Hunt

2014, great clients, great work, great team – a great year. They’ll always be lows, but not often are they so outnumbered by the highs.

Creative Lynx was founded in 1986, shortly after a design graduate joined, today he is a Managing Partner. In 2000 the agency sponsored a Product Design undergraduate, today he is the CEO. HAVAS LYNX have a heritage of investing in bright, passionate, ambitious talent, and 2014 was no different. Over twenty graduates joined the team this year, bringing a freshness to our thinking and contemporary ideas to our strategies.

Not so long ago our business was national, and whilst we still very much enjoy the challenges
that the local market represents, today the majority is global. It ensures our ideas have a more significant impact, that we can make a bigger difference & do more. But it also ensures that we support our local economies, generating significant inward investment to London & Manchester. In addition, we created an additional thirty jobs, or one job every two weeks.

Roller Coaster - blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve talked a lot about #LXAcademy, it reflects the pride I take in our achievement and the excitement for the 2015 curriculum. The #LXAcademy is not about new business, driving commercial success, or making money. It is a recognition that for all the big ideas & business strategies, we are only as good as our people. And the #LXAcademy ensures that ours remain the best.

In the last two years HAVAS LYNX have raised over £60k with a social reach of 200k for the causes we champion, and in the two weeks before Christmas we sponsored a year’s education for 42 children in Africa. It’s humbling to realise that the team’s passion to make a difference doesn’t start & stop with client budgets #HelpfulChange

#LXAcademy Awards

At the heart of an agencies success are the people. Heritage, structure and framework are simply the platform. As a business we are committed to attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the very best talent. The #LXAcademy was conceived to build core expertise, and inspire imagination, curiosity & courage, across science, creativity & technology. The #LXAcademy Awards was a celebration of everything we have all achieved in 2014 – it was our finest night.

The submissions were exceptional & really quite humbling. The team behind Care4Today combined insight & innovation, with passion & belief. Their presentation belied their engineering background & claimed the Grand Prix award. The team driving Novartis Dermatology deservedly won Creative use of Technology, as we continued our track record of being digital pioneers at EADV. Combining consumer technology with pharma insight, they quickly & efficiently created a unique point of difference in a competitive environment. Having clocked up 320,000 miles for AstraZeneca and revolutionised their Japanese market, the team of the year was entirely deserved. Not everyone can travel the world & consistently bring energy, ideas & value. One of my personal highlights for 2014 is our partnership with Lundbeck, we share vales & ambition, and I was delighted that our team recorded best online campaign, it demonstrated superb alignment of insight & innovation. It also demonstrated a client-agency relationship working in tandem, towards a shared goal, delivering results. #SKINTOLIVEIN rightly won campaign of the year, described by a Big Pharma CEO as the most progressive digital campaign in their portfolio, there was little more for the judges to add. However it was also impossible to ignore the effort, expertise & collaboration required to make something so unique and of so much value to patients & pharma.

There’s a buzz in the agency & the awards epitomised this. It has also set expectations for 2015, with regards to #LXAcademy, the awards and #LYNXLife, which is scheduled to be launched in January. Our number one priority is our talent, we believe that the rest follow. Our staff retention is at 90%, we receive 120 applicants a week and 50 people have celebrated 5 years with the business. HAVAS LYNX is a great agency with great clients, and the #LXAcademy Awards were a fitting celebration.

None of this would be possible without @carlwalker & Lisa Jones, driving the #LXAcademy, supported by the amazing internal experts and our external thought leaders. And a special thanks for organising the awards to Sam Luk & the LX  Ambassadors.

You can watch some of our inspiring LX Academy thought leadership sessions on our Youtube channel and see photos from the night on facebook and twitter10356266_785876774803420_9066949141867259432_n

Inside our Vision for the Future

The LYNX Leadership, by David Hunt

10 years ago I officially joined Creative Lynx arrowin full-time employment, and I loved the place. 2 years later I attended my first senior meeting at the agency, and marveled at the ambition of becoming 50 or even 60 strong. Last week I hosted my first leadership event, joined by 30 colleagues, responsible for almost 200. Today, I’m excited, expectant and as ambitious as always for the next decade.

Our vision is for HAVAS LYNX to become the recognised leader in healthcare communications, shaping our industry, changing outcomes and sustaining our success, through engaged, creative and expert talent. Great ideas, great outcomes, great talent.

But first we have to be expert in our industry and provision services aligned to a rapidly shifting landscape, whereby stakeholders & agendas can change with the wind. We have to appreciate the evolution of Brand Managers, their background, responsibilities and expectations. Dr Nick Broughton, Jon Vernon and Dan Selby, former clients who are now part of the team, articulated the need for an expert partner that is scientifically sound and who can be trusted to fulfill their promises.

We have developed global strategies for brands at every stage of their life-cycle, delivering significant return on investment. But our past successes count for nothing if we don’t evolve with society. Clients don’t need or want strategic tools for an offline world. They need a competitive advantage through a partner that can combine proven principles with contemporary ideas. Rob Fuller and Dan Weaden, outlined how we develop strategies that permeate everything we create, everything our clients do, and everything their customers feel.

Earlier this year we demonstrated our continuing commitment to creative excellence with the promotions of Jon Chapman & Helen Godley to Creative Directors. We know ideas deliver results, excite customers, inspire us – ideas are central to our philosophy and critical to our future. The team outlined their vision to inspire and grow culture of creativity.

Our future for healthcare innovation was described by Gary Monk & Andy Stopford. We looked at progressive clients and where they will be in 18 months. We considered the ideas for inclusion when considering 2015 brand plans. We discussed many things that will most likely never become reality, but then we have always been more committed than most to research & development. It’s how and why, we define healthcare communications.

We often lack time to think. Day two saw the teams working on business critical issues; how do we inspire our talent? how do we make sure we “get” clients? how do we drive collaboration? and how do we build tomorrow’s generation of leaders? Our ambition is to sustain success through the best talent in the industry.

The event was considered & planned, the blueprint robust & smart, but the success – the success belonged to the energy, expertise & commitment of the participants. I am not sure how Stuart Wilson felt 8 years ago surrounded by his leaders, however I do know, that I was inspired and supremely confident surrounded by mine.

And a final thanks & acknowledgement to One Aldwych London, for a tremendous venue & hospitality.

#LionsHealth – A great few days in the South of France

The first ever Lions Health took place on June 13th and 14th 2014, at the famous Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France.

Cannes

No one knew quite what to expect. Who would be there? What would we learn? Who would win? And what would become of the #LionsHealth?

The speakers were mixed. But importantly, when they were good, they were great. Events such as this often have one or two highlights. At #LionsHealth there were multiple. The event was opened by the brilliant @JimStengel. He spoke passionately about creating a culture of creativity & the importance of team engagement. It was impossible to not be impacted by Jim’s ideas & results. They will certainly shape my thinking as we plan for the continuing success of HAVAS LYNX.

Equally great, if a little more unorthodox, was R. John Fidelino. When I sat down for a session labelled, “Chasing Cool in Healthcare”, I was ready to be unimpressed. I’m proud of pharma & would choose significant over cool everyday. Fidelino’s presentation convinced me otherwise. He was meaningful, authentic and immersive – he embodied all the values he felt health communications must represent. He convinced me that perhaps we can have even more significance on people’s lives, if we are just a little cooler.

Not too many people have heard or considered narrative medicine. The always brilliant Dr. Rita Charon mesmerised much of the audience on day two. Having spent much of the event discussing technology, it was very refreshing to then consider content, emotion and stories. Technology is a platform, it’s the experience that counts. As Fidelino had explained, we must be meaningful, authentic and immersive. Dr. Rita Charon talked from the heart of her patient experiences & the importance of relationships. As we look to the future and our digital world, it is clear that HCP interactions will become ever more fragmented, and as such, relationships will be critical to improving outcomes.

We joined Havas to help drive our strategic thinking & creative pedigree. We were delighted to be part of a network that claimed three lions; a bronze, silver & gold. The network has amazing talent & we love the collaboration. It fuels our growth and ambition. We were also delighted for the team at Langland. A great agency, that represented the UK with great success.

So what will become of #LionsHealth? For me, that question remains unanswered. Much worked, but a lot didn’t. Did it meet year one expectations? Yes. Does it need to evolve significantly for year two? Almost certainly. Will we be there to support that growth? Absolutely.

 

The more you put in, the more you get out

Merger; From the Inside, by David Hunt

Part IV, Two years in & the lessons we learnt

With hindsight, would we still join Havas? If there were no financial incentives, would we still be willing to merge with a global network? Are we  proud to be HAVAS LYNX? Yes, yes and yes.

As I have previously discussed on this blog, there are numerous benefits to joining a global network. However in isolation, it is not a silver bullet. It requires considerable effort from both parties to fulfil the potential.

Working together

Working together

Our team have really embraced the opportunity that Havas represents. They’ve worked with talent from across the group, learning with every interaction, growing with new perspectives, ideas & confidence. In addition, their return is always accompanied with praise, gratitude & recognition of their passion, creativity & innovation. They are representing themselves, LYNX, Manchester & London.

Have our clients benefited from the Havas Strategic Toolbox? Yes, but not at first. The tools are exceptional, but also seductive. We became guilty of talking too much, and doing too little. But, you learn. Today we use the tools at the right time, for the right results. We leverage best-in-class strategy with creativity, innovation & delivery to exceed our client expectations.

Have our global campaigns benefitted from the global footprint? Absolutely. One of the networks greatest strengths is their ability to curate local opinions, challenges & opportunities. Havas Health invest significantly in Global & Regional meetings, the result is a genuine willingness to collaborate across international boundaries.

Fiscal pressure & the patent cliffs are driving big Pharma to explore potential cost efficiencies. The hottest concept is decoupling, with investment focused towards insight, ideas, intellect. Havas prioritise thought leadership, and we are supported to do the same. Today we invest heavily in research & development; publishing white papers on our insights, piloting smart technologies & establishing strategic partnerships.

And for me? It was a challenge, it was a far steeper learning curve than I had expected. But that’s brilliant, it’s sparked my interest, maintained my passion, & driven my ambition. Like the rest of the team, I have now got a much bigger pitch to play on.

Part I, Initial engagement

Part II, Finer details

Part III, Business as usual

 

A fresh start

It’s 5 years since the launch of the PM Society Digital Awards. In that time we’ve grown from 50 to 200, from local to global, digital to full-service,  from Creative Lynx to HAVAS LYNX.

There is no doubt that the PM Society Digital Awards created an essential platform for our success. They recognised & celebrated our creativity, passion & innovation. They challenged us to improve, and with 23 wins in 5 years, they ensured our exceptional standards were maintained.

However, for HAVAS LYNX it’s now time for a change, a fresh challenge, a new perspective. Instead of the PM Society Digital Awards, this year we’ve decided to enter the Cannes Lions Health awards.

It’s a global competition, derived from the most prestigious awards in advertising. Yet it also comes with unknowns; How will we do? Will we leave empty-handed? How expensive are the G&Ts in the South of France? More importantly, it comes with certainties; we’ve worked harder, pushed our ideas further, and we’ve challenged ourselves to be better.

HAVAS LYNX has a tremendous energy, and when under pressure we excel. We want to be pushed. And we want to be the best. This year we may not be successful, but we’ll be back again next year, better for the experience & even more determined. *fingers crossed*.

The PM Society Digital Awards are still a tremendous event, and I’ll certainly be supporting their team this year and in the future.growth

A brave new world

Merger; From the Inside, by David Hunt

Part III, Business as usual

You’ve not told your team, your clients are blissfully unaware, the world needs to know & so might your family. Business as usual is the priority, but first comes the news.

Announcement

First comes the news

Before discussing our communication strategy, I think it’s worth noting the confidentiality & respect with which all discussions took place. I was naturally concerned that our discussions would be leaked destabilising clients & our team. With the odd exception all parties conducted themselves impeccably and for that I’m eternally grateful.

Our number one priority was our staff, we told them first. Despite agreeing to join Havas for all the right reasons; exciting briefs, strategic insight & global support, we were naturally apprehensive. Would they be anxious, confused, cynical? Inevitably there were pockets of concern, but the overwhelming response was excitement. The agency saw it as an opportunity, a new challenge, they saw it as a promotion to the big league. A Manchester agency united with a global ambition. 18 months later we would be crowned Havas Agency of the Year.

Clients, an equal mixture of cynicism, ambivalence, excitement & recognition. To those that were cynical we outlined the benefits the merger would bring with the addition of strategic tools, shared expertise & global footprint. With hard work & determination we have allayed those fears. Some were ambivalent, they knew our values & trusted our judgement. Most were excited, they employed us for our strengths, they forgave our weaknesses, and knew that a global partner would address many of them. Our long-term partners, those that have known us since the beginning, were pleased. They understood all the benefits & helped celebrate our next step.

Having emerged from the process of a merger, nothing could be more refreshing than the day job. The process is  both intellectually & emotionally draining. Ironically, across both clients & staff were small pockets which expressed their concern that with our announcement would come distractions. They worried we would lose focus on their business and be consumed by a network. This could not be further from the truth, the distraction was over. The extra work done. In many ways the public announcement, signified back to business as usual.

Part I, Initial engagement

Part II, Finer details

Part IV, A year in & the lessons I learnt