While some agencies have just begun cutting their digital teeth, Peter Korian, president and founder of New York shop Iomedia, proclaims that his “next-generation digital agency” took a bite out of interactive at its inception, over a decade ago.
“We're taking advantage of what other agencies are starting to grapple with,” Korian says. “I think there is a general level of white noise that the agency community is making about digital, and, to us, all it is reinforcing is why our customers chose us to begin with… The difference between us [and other agencies] is that we've been doing that for 13 years.”
Christine Armstrong, VP, creative director, asserts that the key to upholding a consistent interactive offering is to maintain a “foundation of people who think in terms of delivering digital.” Iomedia's mantra encourages healthcare professionals—the agency's majority clientele—to “see the bigger picture” by using highly visual media and animation to engage and educate.
“We like to stay very platform-agnostic,” Armstrong says. “Everyone's going to jump on the iPad now, [and] that's just another delivery, but is it the right delivery? You've got to really ask about communication channels and client objective.”
Though unwilling to discuss specific financials, Korian admitted that his agency enjoyed “a little bit of growth” last year.
Iomedia took on 10 new staff—now up to 70—including newly appointed studio director, Thom Graves—and gained five new accounts in 2009.
Account wins included work for Baxter BioTherapeutics, Baxter BioPharma Solutions and Centocor, a Johnson & Johnson division, to name a few.
Armstrong says the agency is also “heavily involved” in pro-bono work, highlighting extensive web and interactive projects with Project A.L.S. and TEDMED.
Korian notes that one standout factor last year was the overwhelming number of job-seekers that contacted the agency.
“For 2009, there was a lot of volume, but there wasn't necessarily a lot of quality in certain areas,” he admits. “Because we use so much high-level programming and intelligent web design, we have very complicated systems, so we tend to educate and bring on people that come to us at a certain level.”
And, says Armstrong, the preservation of the agency's leadership team is fundamental to their business's stability. “In terms of upper management, we have a consistent, core leadership team here,” she discloses. “I've been here for six years and I was the last one to join on.”
Agreeing, Korian remarks, “I always liken Iomedia to being a university, because the upper hand pushes R&D and we have a level of knowledge that tends to keep people happy here.”
Challenges for the year ahead include growing the agency's client base with an even bigger mix of pharma, says Korian: “We have built a lot of relationships, and we decided that amongst our biotechs and our small-to-medium-sized groups, we'd like to add at least two or three major pharma brands, because we think our offerings are ready for that stage.”
Armstrong adds that her team has noticed another trend developing over the past year—trepidation amongst physicians in engaging with community-oriented online portals.
“There's still a lot of hesitance among doctors to enter a site that is overly engaging,” she says. “So, we're still working on ways of getting adaptation from the end-user to be comfortable in a really immersive environment.”