Carling Communications | 2017
PerformanceRevenue increased 8.3% over 2015 to $13 million
Plans“Expanding our global footprint while continuing to deliver strategic partnership to our existing client base”
— Didi Discar
Prediction“The healthcare and technology sectors will continue to converge to find better methods of data-gathering, disease monitoring, and drug compliance”
— Didi Discar
As drugs grow more targeted and personalized, so do the approaches brand marketers follow. Complex medications often leave patients scratching their heads over administration, side effects, and efficacy. For big pharma players such as Roche, that's where such firms as Carling Communications fit.
Roche's MS drug Ocrevus, for instance, began rocketing to stardom before approval, setting the bar high for its launch. In advance of market entry, it needed a full nurse-engagement platform, a relatively unfamiliar task for Roche. Carling understood the challenge and delivered the tools nurses would need to administer the product and educate patients.
“Nurses contribute a human element we needed to keep in mind,” says Carling principal and founder Didi Discar. “They are the human touch in the delivery system. Our materials needed to consider and reflect that.”
Carling entered 2017 on the other side of years-long investments in its people and infrastructure. Through a mix of account wins and continued work with such staple clients as Santen Pharmaceutical, the firm generated $13 million in revenue last year. Discar and other Carling leaders expect solid growth this year, too.
Among other high-profile assignments, the San Diego–based firm launched a sweepstakes last year on behalf of long-time client Merz Aesthetics to promote wrinkle filler Radiesse. Contest entrants earned a chance to win a $5,000 beauty makeover.
The contest celebrated beauty on the inside, as well as the outside. “We brought in the human element and illustrated how looking good can improve the way a woman feels,” Discar explains. She credits many of the agency's account wins to its ability to partner with clients. “We understand the commercial challenges our clients face, and that gives us an edge,” she continues. “We recognized the need to make our people marketers and consultants, not just ‘ad agency folks.'”
The ability to respond to client needs comes in handy when troubling times hit. Though longstanding client Valeant split with several of its agency partners following a series of tumultuous events in 2016, the company kept Carling in charge of its dermatology brands.
“Valeant's 2016 challenges have carried over into 2017,” Discar acknowledges. “Decisions need to be thoughtful and agile, and that's where we come in as an agency. ”Carling also claimed an AOR assignment for biopharma company Dermira in the U.S. The up-and-coming organization has three products in Phase III development, including plaque psoriasis drug Cimzia via a collaboration with UCB Pharma.
As the agency's mantra, “it can be done,” suggests, roadblocks and opportunities will be met with open arms. “No matter the challenge, we're going to be quick, agile, and thoughtful,” Discar says. “That's what we embody.”