It was a great year in terms of business for Concentric. Worldwide revenue was up 40% to $16.5 million, and headcount increased 33% to more than 100 employees. The London office, which was opened in late 2008, doubled in both size and revenue.
The year ended on a sad note, however, when partner and CEO Ken Begasse Sr., aka “Senior,” passed away in December. Partner and COO Ken Begasse Jr. and partner and CCO Michael Sanzen founded Concentric in 2002. Senior left Saatchi & Saatchi a year later to join them. Begasse and Sanzen have run operations for years, and they enjoyed “the tutelage of the master.” Indeed, Senior infused the wisdom and insight he gained during 35 years in the business throughout Concentric.
“The way we like to think about it is that we're not weaker for having lost him—we're stronger for having had him,” Begasse says. “His legacy lives on in everything we do. The way we think about the marketplace, the way we dissect, the tools we use all have a major contribution from him and his experience.”
It was a tremendous year for new business. After an enormously competitive pitch, Concentric was named US AOR for Enbrel, the arthritis treatment co-marketed by Amgen and Pfizer. Other wins included the institutional and consumer-facing launch of Medical Acoustics' Lung Flute.
Existing clients Salix Pharmaceuticals, Oceana Therapeutics, and Leo Pharma awarded multiple new assignments. The London office, which has about eight active clients, expanded work with Roche to include Mab Thera, Tamiflu and Actemra (Roche/Genentech Global products) and won global branding for Medtronic Cardiovascular Global's entire suite of products.
Bayer's Betaseron was claimed by consolidation. Begasse notes a “seesaw” trend in global consolidations. “Clients who are typically closed to doing business outside the network are either getting permission to work with agencies like us or having the entire agreement disbanded and going back to working with best in class partners,” he explains. “The relationship can't be forced to fit.”
Concentric has made a significant investment in analytics capability and strategy. Ross Quinn joined last year as managing partner and director of customer integration, a group Begasse says represents one of the biggest growth areas in terms of both staff and offering.
“The customer integration team builds performance marketing programs that connect all customers with the brand,” Begasse explains. “The team interacts and implements measurable, data-driven tactics across all accounts, thus infusing each brand with insights gleaned from solving challenges within the selling cycle of our other brands. Our clients benefit from the collective experience of the agency and are ensured a consistent experience. Each deliverable, whether print or digital, is coordinated, measured and analyzed by the integration team. This capability and approach proved critical in solidfying the Enbrel win.”
While Begasse feels good talent is always hard to find, the agency does get 10-15 resumes every day, and a flood followed the Enbrel win.
Begasse expects 30% or more growth this year. Expansion is being considered. “The Far East is obviously a hotbed of pharma development, and we'd like to have a presence there,” Begasse says. “We're also looking at South America and potentially thinking West Coast as well.”