Tag Archives: Creative Lynx

The story of Havas Lynx

30TH Birthday

This week officially marks the 30th year for Havas Lynx, so in the spirit of all things Lynx, we’re taking this opportunity to revisit the archives to see how we’ve gone from a team of two to become a powerful global healthcare communications agency with offices in Manchester, London and New York.

1986 – 1999

When we opened our doors as Creative Link, our aim was to work with clients who could bring about ‘positive social change’. Before three years were up, we’d won our first Pharmaceutical Marketing Award for our work with Rheumox, marking the beginning of our successful path in pharmaceuticals. The win was followed by a challenging pitch for Aricept, the first Alzheimer’s disease treatment. For patients and carers, this was the first glimpse of hope and the potential of a better outcome. Winning the pitch, we launched what became the world’s gold-standard treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

During the ‘90s, we also worked for our home city, branding and launching Manchester Arena; acting as sole creative agency for Manchester’s 2002 Commonwealth Games bid and designing the book: ‘Manchester – A Celebration’, part of the 1996 Olympic bid.

Remaining committed to our city, when the IRA bomb struck in 1996; the British Government and Manchester City Council enlisted us (now named Creative Lynx) to create the briefing package for the rebuilding and re-planning of Manchester city centre. We launched the package worldwide and Manchester came back, alive and kicking.

2000 – 2008

Whilst the ‘80s and ‘90s were time to build our business and reputation, the ‘00s were definitely time to build the team. We recruited four future directors and gained one of our biggest and longest-term clients who would contribute to the new shape of the agency; at the forefront of pharma.

In 2008, we found our new home in Princess Street; our founder, Stuart Wilson, stood down after 22 years at the helm, and the Senior Leadership Team as you know it today, stepped up. The year after, we were appointed to the London 2012 Olympic design and artwork rosters, the only Northwest agency from 13,000 others.

2009 – 2016

The last seven years have been some of the most instrumental in Lynx’s development and in 2012, we merged with Havas Worldwide and opened up our first offices in New York and London; our new name, Havas Lynx.

Externally, our work has had a profound impact on patients, healthcare professionals and the wider industry. Highlights include, our award winning work for JHI which has been clinically proven to reduce hospital referral by 58%. Our EGFR disease awareness campaign, which shaped national guidelines, and ensured patients received the correct medication at the correct time. And a series of industry firsts, from our pioneering CLM iPad eDetail Aid in China, to our breakthrough work in social media, and our globally recognised smart phone apps.

Internally, our focus has remained on building and retaining our culture #LYNXLife. As we continue to grow, it is our people that are key to our success. We significantly invest in our team to ensure they are equipped with all the tools they need to deliver exceptional scientific, strategic, creative, and innovative campaigns that truly make a difference. In 2014, we launched the unparalleled #LXAcademy, an internal training programme, to share knowledge, provide inspiration and develop our next generation of talented leaders. We also transferred our motto of #helpfulchange outside of healthcare by supporting the charity Born To Thrive. Rising over £30,000 for the charity and helping to send 43 children to school, and build three new classrooms to enable the children to finish their primary education.

All of this activity has seen us win many awards (totalling 72 so far) including one of our greatest accolades yet, Havas Agency of the Year and most recently PMGroup Communiqué Communications Consultancy of the Year.

 

Millennials, who’d have them?

Building an agency, by David Hunt

Born in 1980, I’m a borderline Millennial depending on your preferred interpretation. Regardless, I can still feel like an old man when it comes to Millennial engagement in the work place, which is why I’m so proud of our retention rate. Many agencies struggle to retain bright, ambitious talent, whereas at Havas Lynx, we prosper.

We believe Millennials want to make a difference and at Havas Lynx, we are committed to doing just that. We focus on improving patient outcomes; to drive commercial success for our partners. But our efforts don’t end with the client budget, we go much further. In 2015, we’ve already funded the education of 42 children in Africa.

We believe that Millennials want to exist within a vibrant community. #LYNXLife was launched to preserve and enhance our culture. It includes a tea lady, breakfast club and Summer Fun day offline, and Facebook and Instagram, online. To get involved, join us by following #LYNXLife.

Each year we conduct an internal survey.  Of 200+ participants 30 %  said professional development was their key priority. Many people challenge our investment in #LXAcademy accusing it of being excessive but I’d challenge us to spend more.

We try our best to shun excessive structure and hierarchy. Yes, the ultimate decision resides with the senior team but you won’t find us hiding in an office. To my knowledge, no-one at either Havas Lynx, or formerly Creative Lynx, has had their own office, and it’s my intention to maintain this record.

It’s up for debate how many of these principles are specific to Millennials and to me, it simply sounds like good business. But then again, maybe that’s just the Millennial in me.

Campervan

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

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

Mind and matter

Stuart Wilson founded Creative Lynx in 1986. In 2012, when the company became HAVAS LYNX, Stuart took the position of non-executive chairman. Below he writes about the values and beliefs upon which the company was built and I am proud to say still remain true today.

building up

It’s so easy to criticise big pharma. The Constant Gardener didn’t help and acts of altruism can wrongly be perceived as market development, but compared to bankers, politicians or energy companies I believe they have been a much greater force for good in society over the last 20 years. We quickly forget that drug and device developments have improved and extended the lives of millions.

In 1996 we launched Aricept for Eisai/Pfizer as the world’s first treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. At that time ‘Old People’ were, at best, given little more than tea and sympathy; at worst totally ignored. Our clients had a mountain to climb to promote an understanding of the appalling challenges Alzheimer’s sufferers and their families faced. Geriatricians knew what a game changer this drug was – but to change the perceptions of government, the payers and the media our clients invested not only millions of dollars but massive amounts of time, energy and commitment. I was proud to see how a client can look beyond stigma and ageism to fight for better social care… not just to sell their product but to genuinely try to improve lives. Nearly 20 years on and Alzheimer’s is now recognised as a difficult and life changing disease the world over. There are many other products in many therapy areas that have done the same.

So, back in 1986 when we started out on this long, creative road I believed the LYNX ethos shouldn’t be based on vacuous and transient consumerism. Instead we should use our talents for the greater good…in some small way. Of course, consumer work is more glamorous, especially when you are asked what you are working on by your mates in the pub…Carling, probably the best advertising job in the world… or is it? McDonalds? Nike?

Now, I know we’re part of a multinational advertising empire and that’s all well and good. At HAVAS LYNX we fiercely believe that we can help change things for the better and thankfully that’s how our clients think. And, nearly 30 years later, when everyone talks about ‘ethics’ or ‘business morals’ we can honestly say that’s where we came from, where we are, and where we will stay.

And, after 30 years, I can happily say that I am proud of our stance. It’s still difficult to explain what we are working on at a dinner party and sometimes it’s not that glamorous, but to my mind the main thing is it matters.

The above post was written by Stuart Wilson, Non-Executive Chairman of HAVAS LYNX