Greater Than One 2016




Not that New York City–based independent shop Greater Than One had a rough go of things in the years preceding it, but 2015 was an especially strong year for the company. It reported a 12.5% revenue increase to $24 million and comparable growth in headcount, with what execs describe as major wins from both existing and new clients.

For longstanding client Novartis, Greater Than One launched the campaign Keep It Pumping for heart-failure drug Entresto. “We were asked to build and execute the most innovative global social program ever done in the pharma industry for Entresto, and we're approaching one billion touchpoints,” agency CEO Elizabeth Izard Apelles says. The program involves heightened visibility in and around social channels as well as a donate-your-heartbeat app. Its objective, Apelles adds, is “to create awareness among people who might not know they have heart problems, and then engage as many people as possible in the program.”

The agency also pushed forward in 2015 with its Greater Than One Group offering. Formed in 2014, it offers access to about 100 designers, user-experience specialists, strategists, and project managers with deep technology experience. Clients have responded in kind: The agency picked up business from Option Care, a $1.5 billion infusion-services startup backed by Madison Dearborn Partners and Walgreens, as well as work from Barcelona-based pharmaceutical and chemical company Grifols. For the former, it is launching the corporate brand and consulting on a range of business issues; for the latter it is providing enterprise consulting.

“Our clients are coming to us when they want to reconfigure, to see if they can capitalize in the white space that's being created as a result of the disruption in healthcare,” Apelles explains. “The reason they're coming is because we have 16 years in digital and in healthcare, as well as a very robust strategy group that can help them internally and externally market their brands.”

Another draw for Greater Than One, according to Apelles, is its independence. “In this world that requires more agility and more real-time thinking, I would argue it's about ‘prosolidation' [as opposed to consolidation],” she says. “It's a notion of proactively using independent shops to help your holding companies be more innovative. We care about the work and driving value for our clients, and we're happy to work alongside other firms.”

For 2016 and beyond, Greater Than One has set as a goal helping clients sort through their omnichannel marketing needs. “This year omnichannel will be the center of everything we do,” Apelles continues. “Because of our history in the space, we've added the strategy to help our clients navigate in these waters.” The company's other goal is internally focused in nature: Greater Than One hopes to add more AOR assignments to its slate.

Beyond the realm of healthcare marketing, Apelles is excited about GreaterGood, a nonprofit launched last year that focuses on projects that offer solutions to social problems in the world.

“We're working on a project with the U.S. state department and UNESCO to create a global digital platform to correct the negative messages from violent extremism,” says Apelles. “There is a real need for that in this world.”