Top 100 Agencies 2014: Cadient Group
Cadient Group had one of the best years in its 12-year history in 2013. President and CEO Stephen Wray reports revenue was up 25%, and it has accelerated even more this year.
“Our growth is largely driven by success in the five core areas of focus that are critical to our customers and strengths for us—building brands, mobile first, visual storytelling, managed communities and insight and analytics,” Wray explains. “Staying focused on those five really matters. It's easy to be distracted by the anything-is-possible mentality because we have a lot of capability to innovate in terms of strategy and technology.”
The agency continues to expand work as digital AOR for launch and early-stage brands, and it's winning assignments that extend beyond professional, consumer and payer audiences to include work around clinical R&D, corporate communications, peer-to-peer outreach and conventions and events.
Fourteen new pieces of business were awarded last year, including five AOR assignments from existing clients and four AOR wins from brand-new clients. Though Wray won't mention specifics, he says assignments span multiple OTC brands and cardiovascular, diabetes and oncology products. Both existing and new clients assigned convention and event work on brand and corporate levels. A new client won in 2013 awarded three specialty brand AOR assignments this year. Additional 2014 business wins include a multi-brand SEO/SEM assignment from a new client and CMS platform migration work for an existing one.
“Clients have made a significant commitment toward becoming more customer-centric,” Wray says. “They're really committed to understanding the needs of their end customers—both patients and professionals. That's a place where we already believed change had to come, so it's a common thread in why we've won and in the scope of work we're doing.”
Cadient Group provides clients with several in-house developed technology platforms. It's also differentiating itself by proactively partnering with large enterprise platform providers, acting as an integrator and user experience planner, to help clients maximize the use of content management systems, such as Adobe's CQ5/AEM platform and Veeva's Commercial Solutions.
In tandem with revenue growth, headcount increased from about 120 beginning 2013 to nearly 140 this year. Wray expects to end the year with about 145.
Early last year, chief innovation officer Will Reese was named managing partner. Ilana Scholl and Lance Moncrieffe joined Cadient Group last year as director of client services and executive director of creative services, respectively.
Wray also invested in strategic talent, bringing on Gene Miller, Clint Tankersley and Hee Jun Rho as directors of commercial strategy and innovation.
In 2012, the agency set the goal to acquire 80% or more of new hires from its internal recruiting team or from internal referrals. The approach has worked really well, and the goal was increased to 90% last year.
“Given the incredible expertise we've infused into what was already a really talented and successful team, it doesn't surprise me that we've further accelerated the pace of growth this year,” Wray says. “It's truly rewarding to work with such an amazing group of people. I've probably learned more from my Cadient Group colleagues in the past year than at any point in my 30-plus year industry career. They're authentic, energetic and know how to produce results that matter to our customers.”