Tag Archives: Pharmaceutical Marketing

HAVAS LYNX Named Havas Agency of the Year

Network life, by David Hunt

We joined the Havas network on the 31st May 2012. On the 22nd of January 2014 we were named Havas Agency of the year. This accolade is our single greatest award. Representing healthcare in a consumer world, competing with the likes of the brilliant BETC, Cake and One Green Bean, we have proven that pharmaceutical marketing can be just as exciting, just as creative and just as innovative as the B2C world. In fact, we have demonstrated that it can be better.

We joined Havas due to their passion, energy and creativity. They are the group behindEvian’s Roller Babies campaign (77 million views on YouTube) and the Baby & Me campaign (71 million views on YouTube). More recently, the team in Australia launched the Doug Pitt campaign and from Paris BETC launched ‘The Bear’ for Canal+.

Healthcare can often be seen as the ugly duckling of advertisement; stifling creativity in favour of science. I would argue that it simply raises the bar of the creative expertise required to succeed within the sector. I am not diminishing the talent required to make Aldi exciting, but it requires a different expertise, determination and creative confidence to succeed in healthcare communications.

There is a belief in media and communications that global networks buy all of the best talent and break them. There are a number of cases and stories within the industry of once amazing agencies losing their sparkle, independence and passion. This fear was echoed by a number of our clients when we announced our deal with Havas. Had our deal been purely based on financials we would have chosen a different partner. Had we not wanted to evolve the agency, and been happy to rest on our laurels, we would not have found a partner at all. As a senior team, we recognised the need to develop our offering, enhancing our global presence and bolstering our strategic offering, to complement our natural creativity and innovation. This award is a testament to Havas: making us stronger, not weaker; our service more agile, less bloated; our campaigns smarter, less fanciful.

Plane

It would be wrong to say that 2013 was easy. It was not. It was incredibly hard. In the first 6 months we had a number of tough projects, internal challenges and inevitable growing pains. The fact we turned things around and closed 2013 so strongly demonstrates the strength of character that runs from the bottom to the top of our agency, from strategy to delivery, from reception to board. It also fills us all with real confidence for 2014, as we look to build upon robust client partnerships, a responsive structure and exceptional people.

What next? HAVAS LYNX will continue to demonstrate that creativity and innovation in healthcare communications is defined by passion and ideas, not legislation and fear.

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. 

Addressing the needs of pharmaceutical marketing and embracing 2014

2014, what are the strategic priorities for HAVAS LYNX? By David Hunt

Embracing 2014 and building on our strengths

Embracing 2014 and building on our strengths

Agency life is exciting, fluid & often unpredictable. I believe that the success of an agency depends on the team & the culture, and the ability they afford an agency to respond to change. However, whilst responding to the market, competitive landscape & technology is essential, so too is a bold strategy. As we embark on 2014, what are the strategic priorities for HAVAS LYNX?

People make an agency. Their talent, expertise & commitment deliver great campaigns, great innovation & great service. In 2014 we are launching the LX Academy to develop expertise & knowledge.

And it’s not just our people that shape our fortunes, the impact of good & bad clients is immeasurable. A good client values your opinion & respects your service. A bad client jeopardises your product, profitability & most importantly your people. In 2014 we will be as selective as our clients.

HAVAS LYNX Medical was launched in 2013. 2014 will be their year. Combining scientific expertise, digital innovation & ethics, they will provide unsurpassed medical education & scientific exchange. Led by Dr Nick Broughton, they will deliver significant ROI through smart, integrated campaigns that are defined by customers & not tradition.

The fantastic teams in LYNX London, LYNX Local & HAVAS HEALTH Software will continue to prosper & build on robust foundations. They are each unique & entirely designed around the needs of pharmaceutical marketing. LYNX London are shaping global strategies for Novartis, Janssen & Roche. In their fourth year, LYNX Local continue to ensure global campaigns have a local impact. And HAVAS HEALTH Software are a technology start-up that is redefining healthcare communications.

Founded in 1986 as Creative Lynx, HAVAS LYNX were driven by ideas & strategy. In the early noughties we embraced & defined digital in healthcare, but we never forgot our roots. As we move forward many of our clients partner with us for their strategy, ideas & innovations. Our ambition for 2014 is to continue this trend, delivering best-in-class campaigns that are defined by customer needs & not technology. 

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

eDetail Aid Apathy, Inevitable without Innovation?

eDetailing; Maximising the opportunity, by David Hunt

You have a stunning eDetail aid! It’s compelling, engaging, memorable. It addresses customer needs & it absolutely helps the representative. It has won awards & everyone LOVES IT!! Odd then, that the usage is declining. It’s not been used by the field and your customers have lost interest. It’s being left in the bag, tucked-up alongside last year’s leave piece.

As an industry we have become lazy. Apple did our job for us. With the launch of the iPad we could not fail. The device itself captured attention, implored the field to use our sales material & engaged the customer. But now what? Now the novelty has worn off, where do we go next? We can’t just sit & wait for the next Technology Push – we need to re-imagine, re-invent & re-define the detail aid. We need to be creative, innovative and smart. Finally, we need to really use the power of the hardware. Rather than a glorified PowerPoint, embellished with animation, we need to create a truly immersive experience.

iPad

Succeeding in a saturated market

It’s not easy. How many apps really deliver an experience beyond a website? How many sectors have successfully gone beyond the obvious migration? We are not alone in simply changing platform, rather than changing the experience. However the trend is changing, smart people are understanding the real opportunity & maximising the iPad. The lag is not uncommon, it takes game developers years to harness the power of the latest Play Station. But to maintain customer engagement & a competitive advantage they are committed to innovation. They are determined to master the technology at their disposal. We need to do the same. Now is our time to innovate, go beyond conventions and maximise the opportunity at our finger tips.

The future will be defined by ideas & not software;

  1. Social CLM
    Blending the value, credibility and authority of peer-to-peer endorsement with the relevant, tailored stories of closed-loop marketing. It is the promise of social media, within a safe environment.
  2. Active participation
    We strive for engagement, knowing the importance to message retention. Yet, we worry about a HCP interacting with the device, controlling the flow, taking an interest? It is a customer-centric approach at its finest, we need to re-design the interaction and maximise the opportunity.
  3. Agile story-telling
    The stories we tell are founded in a traditional approach that pre-dates the digital revolution. We can deliver our stories, but to make a difference we must be believed. To be believed we must earn trust. To earn trust we must engage and respond, telling the customer’s story and not our own. 

Has the iPad killed innovation in healthcare communications? Or, has it created the platform to drive innovation? I believe the latter, but only with the necessary ideas, insight and commitment to beat the technology.

Sustained Success, The Mark of a Great Team?

Awards; Behind the scenes of 23 wins in 5 years, by David Hunt

It was September 2009 and we were travelling to the inaugural PM Digital Awards. As is customary, we were debating the merits of our finalists, I’m our toughest critic and had predicted 1 or maybe 2 – we won 6, including both best in show!! Travelling home today, with 23 wins in 5 years I could not be more proud of the whole team & more grateful to our client partners.

I’ve grown up playing football and people talk about the difference between a great year and a great team. To win a title is a great year, to win the title year-after-year is the mark of a great team. In football this sustained success often includes the need to re-invent & evolve the team. As an agency we have done the same. We invest heavily in research & development, we embrace new technologies, and we recruit the brightest digital talent. We don’t stand still, and as a result neither do our clients.

How have we maintained our position as leading innovators in healthcare communications? We have great clients, who share our ambition to innovate. We have great expertise, within a culture of innovation. We have a great philosophy, focused on improving health outcomes.

Our clients don’t have to be digital experts, they do have to be courageous. Based on robust insight, a solid understanding of the regulations and digital technologies, we will make recommendations. But we can only be successful through a strong partnership with our clients. We are at our best, our strongest and our most innovative when working as a team.

We have almost 200 people in Europe, over 250 including LYNX NY, all focused on healthcare. Can you have scale & innovation? Yes, we are talking thousands & not hundreds when this could become an issue. Can you be small & innovative today? Not sure, the number of technologies & platforms is increasing at an unbelievable rate. As an individual you simply cannot be a master of them all, as a result, how can a small agency develop a campaign defined by the brief rather than by their in-house expertise, if it is limited in it’s very nature?

I often talk about a vibrant Manchester digital community, and it’s importance to our success. It also comes with challenges. The most significant of which is talent recruitment. On the surface we are competing with agencies offering websites for Nike, Audi & Virgin, and pharma is just not that cool. However, pharma makes a difference. We work on amazing treatments from HIV to Oncology & Diabetes that transform lives. As an agency, we are united by a common philosophy – Helpful Change. Inspiring us to be better & attract the talent necessary to fulfil that vision.

On the eve of the inaugural PM Digital Awards in 2009, if we would have debated the number of wins over the first 5 years… it certainly would not have been 23, and a period of such sustained success. And for that I am extremely grateful to both our bold clients and exceptional team.

You can watch a short video montage of the HAVAS LYNX 2013 PM Digital Media award finalist entries here: http://www.havaslynx.com/work/video-archive/