Juice celebrated its fifth anniversary in November and ended the year with revenue up 20% and headcount up from 70 to 85. The partners used the anniversary occasion to examine the agency's strengths, and they came up with one word that embodies its position: “bigtique.” The idea was introduced publicly early this year, and the partners hope the term bigtique becomes part of clients' vernacular.
“Bigtique came out of a need to clarify what type of agency we are,” says Lynn Macrone, EVP, founding partner. “It's a business model that can launch big brands, has global reach, and the ability to provide specialized, customized talent.”
New business wins and launches were among last year's highlights. Lois Moran, president/CEO, founding partner, says the agency expanded its big pharma client base. Interactive capability was expanded, and a Medical Strategy group was launched. A new service offering called “Marketing Minus the Brand” was also rolled out. No accounts were lost, and wins included Novartis Vaccines' Menveo and Menjugate; and Wyeth's ReFacto and Xyntha.
“We have brands with huge blockbuster potential,” Macrone says. “All the brands we have are launch brands. We've developed an expertise in biologics.”
The biggest challenge was what Moran calls “choiceful” pitching. “As your reputation builds, you get more inquiries and requests,” she says. “We like taking on tough assignments—launch or not,” Moran says. “We need clients who think about brands from a business building standpoint. We're trying to drive business with our clients, so those are the assignments we're best suited for. Clients that find us appealing are entrepreneurial at heart, bold, courageous. We're deliberately going outside current clients to broaden our footprint.”
Interactive need is growing, and the agency provides services for most clients. “Informing and communicating with patients goes hand in hand with interactive,” Macrone says. “It's a holistic approach—the brand team is consistent whatever the channel. Clients don't have to silo who is doing what.”
Finding talent is challenging, but Juice has an overall retention rate of 85% (and 99% for senior management). “You have to look at the kind of environment you create to make sure you can attract and retain the best talent,” Macrone says. “[We have a] responsibility to create an environment where people feel they're challenged, growing, learning, and that their careers are on right the track.” Moran adds that because Juice is “so acutely well-defined,” potential recruits have a good understanding of the agency's culture as soon as they walk in the door. The agency even has teams in place to maintain and nurture its special culture.
As for the overall pharma environment, Macrone feels change is everywhere. “We have to be right there, responsive to change, and do whatever we can to get in front of it and make it easier for clients,” she says. “Juice is nimble and agile so we can embrace and respond to change as quickly.”
Moran adds, “There's a lot of value in being speedboat as opposed to cruise ship. Clients are looking to be more nimble themselves, and it's our job to be ahead of that and help them think through it.”
To help serve clients' global brands, Juice joined Worldwide Partners Inc, a network of independent agencies, in May of this year. The agency will take over an additional two floors soon to accommodate staff, which has grown to over 100.