Concentric enjoyed a fourth straight year of double-digit revenue growth, jumping 38% to $9.5 million in 2007 from $7.0 million in 2006. Staff increased by 43% (to 52) with a 92% retention rate. A consumer division launched, and this year a new 17,000-sq/ft head office opened in New York City.
“It was a banner year,” says COO Ken Begasse, Jr.
“Our agency of the year nomination and four awards helped boost morale and demonstrate to potential clients that we can strategically execute great creative. We've been extremely successful on the new business trail. We've been able show perspective clients the range and depth of strategic knowledge we can execute. Execution is one of the biggest issues in this industry—a lot of great ideas don't get executed properly.”
Begasse is proud of a marketing excellence award from client Bayer for a campaign for Betaseron. “Bayer only gave two awards in the US,” he says. “It's the first time in 10 years that the needle moved in market share for Betaseron. It's very difficult to breathe new life into a mature brand, and we were able to achieve that.”
Bayer went on to award Concentric the consumer side of Betaseron. In fact, all existing client accounts grew in 2007, and the agency didn't lose one piece of business. There were 10 account wins (four AOR), including development of a bilingual in-office education tool for Alcon Labs' Intra-ocular Lens franchise; the launch of two products for DePuy Spine; global corporate branding and the Healix launch for DePuy Mitek; and corporate image and Surfaxin for Discovery Labs.
Begasse says it's time to rethink how sales reps are employed. Concentric created an experiential learning platform called Rep Race for Bayer. It increased productivity 20% and won multiple awards.
“Sales reps need to be less of a megaphone and more of a resource,” Begasse says. “[Rep Race] helps reps become more situationally aware of different environments and better serve up what their brands have to offer and other services and recourses. They can try new approaches and see success online before they do it in person.” Other large pharma companies and biotechs have asked about implementing similar applications.
The senior management team was strengthened overall. Joining last year were Ken Moran, VP and director of agency operations; Tim Campbell, SVP and director of account services; and Michael Devlin, EVP managing director of consumer. Adam Cohen came on board this year as SVP, creative director.
Begasse is happy to report that the agency is attracting highly talented senior-level people, but he adds that the rising cost of talent has been a challenge. “Pricing [for talent] is becoming astronomical, and the pharma industry is tightening belts and asking agencies to restructure costs,” he says.
Concentric adapted its business model to share strategic and tactical planning capability across all brands. “Clients have noticed a difference in consistency, and it allows us to stay healthy because we don't have people billing hours to one account whether they're busy or not,” Begasse says. “[The team] touches different brands and challenges and then applies learnings to other issues for another brand. Clients benefit from the collective knowledge.”