Tag Archives: Experience

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.

 

Introducing #HavasVillageMCR

Havas Village Manchester, by David Hunt

Building the Havas brand in Manchester, and the Manchester brand across the world. 

On Tuesday 2nd November, we proudly held the exclusive launch of the UK’s first Havas Village: Havas Village Manchester. Creating a powerful creative and digital hub in our northern home, #HavasVillageMCR aligns Havas Lynx and our multi-talented network partners with a shared vision for the future.

The initiative draws together the expertise of Havas Lynx, Havas People, Havas PR, Havas Media and DBi. In the heart of our amazing city, we now have five Havas agencies and more than 300 communication experts delivering a seamless experience for our customers, and theirs.

The growth and magnitude of today’s digital channels has resulted in the dilution of the traditional boundaries between communications agencies. If we are to maximise investment and help consumers build meaningful relationships with brands, we must have a unified vision when it comes to strategy, creativity and media. As part of Havas Village Manchester, we do just this, expanding our reach and becoming stronger in our mission to make a real difference to peoples’ lives.

#HavasVillageMCR is situated within the centre of Manchester’s creative and digital community,  to leverage the exceptional talent within the city. In the past four years, Havas Lynx has doubled in size and seen some impeccable talent come in through the door, including over 75 graduates in the last three years alone, bringing their digital and social passion and fresh ideas into the mix. It’s because of this talent, and the vibrancy and power of Manchester that Havas are investing in the city. They see Manchester as it is; a key international hub.

Driven by the combined power of Havas & Manchester, #HavasVillageMCR will see the delivery of meaningful brands for today & tomorrow.

Office

“You’re Fired!”

Losing an account, by David Hunt

I’m proud of our account-retention rate. It shows we are dedicated to partnerships, progress and working together to create the perfect solution for each project. It’s because of this that it’s even more disappointing when things don’t work out. Earlier this year, we lost an important account. Most disappointingly, the client was right; we could and should have been better. The team have a track record of success and I confidently back them for the future. So what went wrong?

I believe the plan was flawed from the outset. Like all good agencies, we identified and challenged the issues. As a senior team, we should have been stronger in arguing the case, but how far do you go? The easy answer would be to refuse the remit. But would we be perceived as cherry picking briefs, stepping aside when the going gets tough, and lacking commitment to our partners? Often, refusing an opportunity can be more challenging than winning one.

The team was theoretically correct, without doubt. On paper we had experience, expertise and capacity, but having watched the England football team, I am acutely aware that it takes more than just talented individuals. Chemistry is a critical component; it’s often referred to with regards to the agency/client interface but I’d argue it is just as important internally. We should have changed the team sooner. We have over 200 experts to call upon. Whilst a change of personnel is often negatively perceived, there was clearly a time and a place here that I missed.

Who was first to discuss the problem? Brutally, not us. Whilst I’m sure that we’re not alone in failing to identify and publicise a critical issue, it is my biggest learning of 2015. I want to be the best CEO at recognising problems, alongside recognising strengths.

Despite our previous loss being over two years ago, I’m convinced that complacency did not play apart. That said, due to our Northern soul, our first reaction is to brush ourselves down and come back fighting. We learnt a huge amount from our recent internal review, and developed a clear action plan as part of our programme of continuing improvement. Whilst I do not want a repeat of the recent event, we’re determined to take positives from the experience. 

I recognise our strengths, but after 15 years in the agency, I’m sure I’m biased. As such, it was hugely reassuring to see the tremendous results of our independent client relationship audit where we asked 30 of our clients for their feedback.

  • 100% think that Havas Lynx are pretty responsive or very responsive
  • 100% would recommend Havas Lynx
  • 100% would envisage working together over the next twelve months

I’m sure we’ll lose other accounts, but certainly not by making the same mistakes. 

Ice Cream BW

Independent Client Relationship Audit

Client relations, by David Hunt

I am terrible at receiving critical feedback, even when I’m sure it is intended to be constructive. In my defence I witness the passion, commitment & expertise of our teams, and take responsibility for their endeavours. Regardless, I know there is always room for improvement and as such Havas Lynx recently commissioned an independent study into our client partnerships, weaknesses and strengths.

Overall, the results were very positive, with all participants having both a high opinion of us, and a high intention to continue to partner with us.

Client Survey cropped

The top-line results included:

  • 100% think that Havas Lynx are pretty or very responsive
  • 100% would recommend Havas Lynx
  • 100% would envisage working together over the next twelve months

An executive summary by the auditors can be reviewed here.

More importantly, where can we improve:

  • As expected, given the fiscal pressure across the industry, we need to improve our financial rigour. Not necessarily reduce costs, but better explain them at the outset, provide financial commentary throughout and overall increase simplicity & transparency.
  • We need to get better at saying, “No”. The industry is increasingly complex, and I’m determined we become the communications agency that the specialists want to work with, by recognising our limitations and acknowledging their expertise.
  • We need to improve our creative product, which I entirely agree with. We’ve already appointed Tom Richards as Chief Creative Officer, with further investment to follow. As always, our goal is to be the best and we will get there sooner than expected.

Finally, I’m very grateful for the time and insight, from the participants. We exist in a busy world, so it is good to know our partners are also committed to our programme of continual improvement.

Tip Jar

Ideas

Creativity, More Important Than Ever by David Hunt

You can have a strong brand & commitment to fulfil it. You can have the necessary culture to respond in a real fashion. You can have a relevant, quality, dynamic content strategy. And most importantly, you can share a genuine ambition with your community. But you can still, and most likely will, fail in social media.

In a world that besieges individuals with content, news & entertainment across all manner of devices & channels, standing-out from the crowd is more important than ever. Pharma has spent so long wrestling with social, that when we finally do arrive, we expect that they will come. The world has not been waiting. The world is oblivious to our fraught self-interrogation. That is not to say, we can’t add significant value to our respective communities, it is just that we need to earn the right to be socially significant. Turning-up, standing on the periphery, is not enough.

In my opinion, you need an idea that grabs attention and acts as a catalyst for your social campaign. It requires insight into the community, imagination to be unique, the potential to be valuable & engaging, but it also requires appreciation of social dynamics. It is not an advert, but it is creative. It is an idea that drives participation & interaction, from incremental approval & shares, to endorsement & actions. It takes great talent, with great ideas to unlock the great social opportunity.

In South America we have seen the Colombian League Against Cancer “Cancer Tweets” campaign demonstrating the creative opportunity social media represents.

Great ideas that leverage the social opportunity are still the exception in healthcare. I’m excited to work with clients and colleagues with the imagination and bravery to seize the initiative and make a difference.

lightbulb

Content is King, so they say…

Participate in something greater, by David Hunt

“Content is King” is a great expression; catchy, weighty, easy. It’s also misleading, absent of substance, and wrong on many levels. As of January 2014, the Internet has 861,379,0001 websites, or if you prefer Google has indexed 200 Terabytes of data2 which is just 0.004% of the total Internet. Either way, there is no shortage of content. There is however an appetite for relevant, topical, bespoke content delivered as part of an expert brand strategy – the social world requires brain not brawn.

Content is a form of advertisement, albeit positioned as a more sophisticated strategy. The objective remains to elicit an emotion that drives an action. However, despite this universal truth, the world has changed. It is more connected, more social, and ultimately more judgemental. It is no longer enough to tell stories; we need to craft a collaborative narrative. Being instant lacks longevity and durability. Producing content without emotion and relevance dilutes and devalues brands. Today, more than ever, the market requires insight, imagination and innovation. Our Havas colleagues in Australia produced what I consider to be the best social campaign in healthcare: The world’s most powerful arm.

Great agencies are more, not less, critical to the brand building process. So too is a genuine brand. We can no longer manufacture our image, we can no longer limit the format of our customer interactions, we are exposed, open, and unintentionally honest. A strong authentic brand personality is essential. It must represent the values of a business and be aligned to the personality of their customers. Fonts, colours and high-gloss photographs, pale-away versus behaviour and conduct. Social success today relies more than ever on the principles of brand development.

The scale of the Internet is infinite, standing out from the crowd is harder than ever, unless of course you join the crowd. Become more than just an isolated part. Participate in something greater. Unite your community through a shared ambition. Do more. Social success is inextricably linked to the power of the collective to make a difference; it requires more than a content production line.

shutterstock_103225520

  1. http://www.techmadeeasy.co.uk/2014/01/18/many-websites-january-2014/
  2. http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2014/07/22/do-you-know-how-big-the-internet-really-is-infographic.aspx


Closed-Loop Marketing is simply not difficult

Closed-Loop Marketing, by David Hunt
Part II, a roadmap to success

Please first read Part I, Start and therefore finish with insight

map

It’s a well-trodden path, yet very few make it to the ambition – high value customer interactions that build long-term brand equity. What happens? Where does it all become too difficult? When do organisations default to the status-quo?

Below are five tips established through more than a decade’s experience of hits and misses (from which you tend to learn more, ask Google).

 

Is imagination more important than perspiration in the pursuit of CLM?
Of course not. It takes commitment, it takes expertise & it takes total belief across an organisation. But how do we ensure dedication? How do we engage exceptional talent? How do ensure buy-in? Through case studies – we’ve seen them. Through stats – we’ve heard them. Due to awards – big deal. You win by imagination, you win by inspiring your organisation, you win by conceptualising an experience that really will be exceptional.

Tip 1 – Lead with an idea, lead with a vision, lead with imagination.

 

“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it.”
David Ogilvy
The smartest people know to surround themselves with knowledge & expertise. I’m often amazed at individuals appetite for adventure, their brazen embrace of the unknown, and utter conviction in succeeding where others fail. It’s even more surprising when their qualifications are at odds with their latest challenge. Find someone with the t-shirt, someone with the battle scars, someone who knows how to succeed in CLM. Work with an expert, someone who can realise the ambition & become a catalyst for your success.

Tip 2 – To be the best, you need to work with the best.

 

The more you put in, the less they need to
Today we need almost instant gratification. We are spoilt in our interactions, and accept nothing less than an exceptional experience. As such the field demands an intuitive, flexible & rapid interface. The more we invest, the more 1% improvements we drive, the more we will engage the field, build their confidence and improve their performance. The more we do, the less they have to.

Tip 3 – The field force are your consumers, they need a consumer digital experience and not a pharma digital experience.

 

All platforms are equal, but some are more equal than others
I have never heard: “We’re really pleased with our platform, it’s exceeded all of our expectations!” Equally, I’ve never heard someone describe their OS, office software or email package as exceeding their expectations. Bizarre that whilst we are ambivalent to bugs from software power houses like Apple, we expect flawless solutions from software service providers to pharma. I’m not saying we should expect shoddy work, just that perspective will ensure we focus our efforts most appropriately. It’s easy to identify flaws in a platform, and easy to blame. Be brave and focus on the real issues limiting success.

Tip 4 – Remember it’s just a platform, and only part of the answer.

 

Perfection is enemy the enemy of good
In a digital world the best we can hope for is #FinalForNow. There will always be something new on the horizon. Waiting & wondering, standing on the side, reserving judgement – that’s easy. Being bold, seizing the initiative, capitalising now – is much more difficult. Guaranteed, in less than 12 months there’ll be better hardware, better software, more developed philosophies. Also guaranteed, the company that acted will be the company that leads.

Tip 5 – Don’t wait for the next technology push, it will always come round the corner.