The Top 75: Sudler & Hennessey
Sudler's Shanghai office, Sudler MBS, acquired at the end of 2009, is evolving into a regional hub.
“That's continuing to flourish as a lot of clients are migrating to northern Asia, away from Hong Kong and Singapore,” says Beitler. Other hubs include Sydney, Milan, London and New York. The company's Mumbai office is also thriving and becoming a regional powerhouse.
The firm hired Cassandra Sinclair to serve as managing director for Canada and Gustavo Padilla to serve as managing director for Mexico. Last year, John Marchese returned to the shop after a stint at Draftfcb to serve as head of account services in New York and Megan Mallie was named creative director, brand development. This year, one of the managing partners, Debbie Fletcher, left the firm's San Francisco office to join WebMD.
Encouragingly, Beitler and Holland say it's gotten easier to recruit digital and creative talent from the consumer advertising world of late.
“Last year when we thought about the kind of talent we wanted to bring in – people with diverse skills including CRM and certain kinds of digital work – it was hard finding people in the consumer world who wanted to jump into healthcare,” says Holland. “That's changed and now we're really able to bring in people who are either seeing that healthcare is catching up or just realize it's an exciting place to be.”
The tricky part of the business, she says, “is staying on the crest of that wave. We were doing digital 20 years ago, and we had clients telling us in the mid-90s, ‘This is the last paper [visual aid] you'll ever do,' and then 10 years later we were still doing paper [visual aids]. We've been ahead of the curve in many cases and in others we've had to play catch-up, but folks here have a pretty good strategic vision for what we're going to have to do to be there for our clients.”
Beitler recalls a recent global campaign conference where, going table to table, he heard local agency reps talking to their client-side counterparts in Mandarin, Japanese and Catalan, “Not Spanish, because our rep knew the client was from that region and spoke that language.” It just goes to show you, he says, that it's all about the talent.
“A lot of people talk about global, and they have pushpins on the map, but it's not about the pushpins, it's about the people,” says Beitler.
“Being in business as long as we have, we keep talking about evolving,” says Holland, “and if there's something we stand for it's that we understand that the climate changes, but if you can evolve, you're always going to be where you need to be.”