Tag Archives: Business

Good Cause

Doing Good, While Making Money

Social Success, by David Hunt

I talk about this a lot, but make no apologies for the frequency. I’m proud to work in Pharma, and see it as an opportunity to use insight, imagination & innovation to make a difference. I didn’t choose to work in healthcare, I simply liked ideas. In all honesty, as a bullish graduate I would have preferred Nike over Pfizer, but the world changes, and so do we. Today I choose to have a significant impact on society, over a cool one.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, says: The business benefits from ethical practices are not soft ones about reputation or image. They are hard measures of growth and margin improvement. Wherever you look, it’s a no-brainer.

I agree 100%. Havas Lynx aims to help patients, their families and HCPs to improve outcomes, whilst also driving the commercial success of our clients. We call it #HelpfulChange, and whilst it sounds improbable and unrealistic, it has been the central strategy behind our success. It aligns with the increasing trend for Pharma companies to out behave the competition & benefit through their enhanced brand equity. Unfortunately the more conservative in our industry wait for others to fail & win by default. Doing nothing, but doing nothing wrong, they would argue. These people fear their brand, and lack the courage their power affords them to improve society. Those that embrace this power, those that choose to make a difference, and show courage in their actions, will succeed in today & tomorrow’s social world – they’ll have a brand with meaning.

Johnson & Johnson have invested in Care4Today, through Janssen Healthcare Innovations. Like many others, they believe innovation can improve outcomes. However, unlike the majority, they have invested significant time & resource to bring forward that day. They will both make a difference, and secure a competitive advantage.

AstraZeneca invested in a critical testing infrastructure for non-small cell lung cancer. Monthly tests increased from 18 to 452 over the course of the campaign. Patients were more accurately diagnosed, treatments more accurately prescribed.

Novartis support Skin To Live In and, despite the regulatory challenges, aspire for it to be the most progressive campaign in healthcare communications, supporting the community & building brand equity – a fair trade.

These are just a few examples from our portfolio, beyond Havas Lynx there are numerous other superb cases of brands doing good and making money. It is the future of our industry, one that will be shaped by passion & courage.

Hand shake croped

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 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

10, 20, 50, 100 or 1,000; what’s the perfect size for an agency?

Client / Agency relationships, by David Hunt

178, the size of HAVAS LYNX. Ask anyone that manages an agency of 178 & they will say the same – it’s perfect. I imagine that in a few weeks 181 will be even more perfect. 

For years we were perceived as being too small. Now we are too big to be innovative, yet still too small to be a player?!? I disagree with both opinions.

Innovation & creativity is not about headcount. Never has been, never will be. It’s about people, passion & culture. With a background in digital, technology & creativity, I was appointed CEO at the age of 33. I’m driven by ideas & not numbers. Supported by a management team that believes in great work, we  now invest in more diverse expertise, try more unique technologies & chase more ideas than ever before. We are constantly looking for new concepts for ourselves, for our clients, for HCPs & for patients.

Can you be small, commercially motivated & technology agnostic? With the correct approach and the right people, perhaps. However, are you more likely to settle with the specialist you shared lunch with, or the unknown you still need to locate? With a big agency comes diverse expertise under one roof, providing seamless access to broad ideas. But can you be big & still bright? Certainly, but only by breaking down silos & embracing diversity. Different experiences, points of view & interests inspire innovation.

Like the story of Goldilocks, some agencies are too big, some agencies are too small, and some agencies are just right – it depends on your taste.

Three Bears

It is a matter of taste

Another strange question – do you have enough capacity? Does a prospective customer really want an agency that’s quiet? I’ve never walked into an empty restaurant, however if it’s heaving I want a reservation – evidence suggests that the product will be great. Do you want a partner that is free, or do you want a partner that is expert? A well run agency will have the infrastructure, process & connections to scale smartly and meet the fluid needs of their customers.

I’m proud to say that we are very big and we are very busy. And our clients choose HAVAS LYNX for our  ideas, innovation & ability to exceed expectations, and we are grateful for their patronage. 

2013, More Ups and Downs than the Big Dipper

A review of 2013, by David Hunt

We knocked down & rebuilt our home, I became CEO of HAVAS LYNX and most amazingly became a Father.

The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper

Having started at Creative Lynx as the studio junior, it was with immense pride that I became Chief Executive this summer. In many ways very little changed, I was still part of the same brilliant team with David Whittingham, Steve Nicholas and Neil Martin, but in many ways far more changed than I’d expected. Within two months we’d lost one of our most significant accounts and with the inevitable self-reflection that follows, recognised that we needed to evolve our business. HAVAS LYNX, formerly Creative Lynx, has been established for over 25 years and it is testament to the organisation’s DNA that it has consistently evolved to meet the changing landscape.

We believe that the global fiscal climate demands smart business models that provide high value services. We believe our clients are faced with an unprecedented spectrum of healthcare stakeholders and therefore require greater support than ever before. We believe to harness the brilliance of over 150 strategic, creative and digital experts, you need collaboration, integration and an agile philosophy.

On the 9th of August, as part of our Agency Day, we launched LYNX PRIDE – a complete re-structure of our business designed around the needs of the market, our clients and our teams. It was a courageous move, epitomising our heritage & philosophy. As we close 2013 the results speak for themselves; feedback from our team & clients is unsolicited & overwhelming, we collected two further awards at the prestigious PMEA Awards and we have just secured a fantastic new account working with a bold & exciting team that share our passion for ground-breaking campaigns. They say, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”, and I’m excited to announce that we are just getting started!!

Don’t knock down your home when your wife is 6 months pregnant – I learnt that in 2013. I also learnt that needing a great creative & great developer is not just the formula for success in marketing communications. Working with Phill Armstrong of White box Architecture we have emerged with a beautifully designed home and at the heart of that success, and at the heart of most client-supplier successes is a friendship & mutual respect. Even the best ideas still require flawless execution and with an obsessive attention to detail, I have quickly come to realise that I am that “client”. Fortunately, I found a builder with an equally sharp eye, a genuine commitment to quality and an essential sense of humour – E.P. Muldoon. Demonstrating expertise, initiative and most importantly patience, his team has built our home around us considering every detail, and adding value every step.

The 30th of April 2013, the highlight of this year and the last 33 – I became a Dad. Like many men before and after me, it was equally terrifying & amazing. Every day my world changes a little bit. Every day I learn a little bit more. Every day I realise that everything that every parent said is entirely true, and it really is the best thing in the world. And everything else… secondary. 

Understanding who you are, And knowing where you are going

Merger; From the Inside, by David Hunt
Part I, Initial engagement 

June 2012 was huge, after 18 months of careful planning I married my beautiful wife, running to the same timeline Creative Lynx merged with Havas. Both life changing events, both spectacularly exciting, but whilst friends & family can offer advice & council on your marriage, a merger is an altogether more isolated experience.

Having completed an MBO in March 2008, just six months after the credit crunch had started, business was going exceptionally well. We’d experienced year-on-year double-digit growth, collected 16 wins at the PM Society Digital Awards in 3 years and continued to develop a number of industry firsts. At the heart of our success was an exceptionally talented multi-disciplinary team that combined insight, with creativity and innovation. A team that would be at the forefront of our thoughts, every step of the way.

Through sustained growth & success, we saw three opportunities;

  • We were a young agency with brilliant ideas and passion, but we were a young agency that could benefit from a global partner. We needed global experience and sophistication to transform raw talent into global communication experts
  • Inside and outside of healthcare, consolidation is an increasing trend. As a boutique agency it can be seen as a threat or opportunity. We saw this as an opportunity to combine our intimate service with a global footprint
  • We’re based in Manchester, which is brilliant for creative & digital talent. However, in global communications it can be viewed as a province and whilst this perception is changing, before Havas we were being overlooked for the best global briefs

We’ve always grown our business through referrals, recommendations and repeat business. Through experience & intuition we know how to run an agency, we know how to build teams & deliver results, we know our business. But a merger is not about today, it is about tomorrow. Suitors have a passing curiosity in where you have come from, they have a fascination in where you are going. Having previously been focused on the here & now, at the outset of the process we became smarter, more considered, strategic – by simple proximity to potential global partners we were setting out our long-term ambition, designing a roadmap and creating an infrastructure to deliver sustained success.

Following our deal with Havas we have;

Our vision & ideas, originally inspired through the merger process are now becoming reality as a result of the support, infrastructure & expertise that we can now harness.

Having committed to the process & having defined our vision, we engaged with a number of networks. As a result of our success, we had already been approached by nearly all of the global communication networks –  now on our terms, in our time, the courtship could begin. I first met Donna Murphy & Doug Burcin (Global CEOs of Havas Health) in 2011, they were brilliant, the perfect combination of drive & consideration. Someone that I wanted to both work with and learn from. Alongside them was Ed Stapor, with an absolute passion for us and for Havas. Ed was driven by people & relationships, as were we.

As the journey unfolded we met a number of brilliant & respected leaders from across the major networks. Every interaction was another opportunity to learn, engage and shape our plans – they were all worthwhile. Whilst similar in their achievements & proposition, it quickly became apparent that there were significant differences in their approach. I believe that Havas made their decision based on the people & our ideas, the others focused more on numbers & forecast.

Beyond the chemistry that would ultimately shape our decision, Havas also talked more about digital, more about social, more about the future. They didn’t just want to buy the answer, they wanted to help create it. It wasn’t just about our insight, our ideas, our technology, it was about shared expertise, shared resource, a shared vision. It was about creating something unique. It was about creating a global group that would shape & define digital communications in healthcare – HAVAS LYNX.

It has been a fantastic start. We have enjoyed the honeymoon period, it is new, exciting and fun. There will always be highs & lows, it’s a relationship and we are all passionate. However by following our instinct & choosing people over profit, I know that we’ll have an ally when times are tough and an advocate when moving forward.

Part II, Agreeing the finer details

Part III, Business as usual

Part IV, A year in & the lessons I learnt