Top 100 Agencies: Evoke Health

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Evoke's mix of digital and consumer skills shaped its work for Intuniv
Evoke's mix of digital and consumer skills shaped its work for Intuniv

Evoke Interaction changed its name in April of this year, to  Evoke Health. The name change is meant to better reflect the Huntsworth Health agency's expanded focus, which CEO Reid Connolly says includes a lot more consumer AOR assignments.

“Our mission has always been to build closer relationships between brands and customers, and we wanted that front and center,” Connolly explains. “Over the last couple of years we've become omnichannel-focused, but with digital still very much at the core. It had a great impact on revenue in 2012.”

Per Huntsworth, Connolly cannot disclose specifics about accounts, revenue or headcount. Though not confirmed, accounts won in 2012 are believed to include Eisai's weight loss drug Belvig (consumer AOR) and Shire's ADHD treatments Intuniv and Vyvanse (digital AOR on the professional side), as well as Allergan and Genentech business.

Connolly does report that organic and new business wins drove revenue up more than 50% over 2011 (in the $25 million to $40 million range). He also says total staff across the New York and Philadelphia offices doubled between January 2012 and January 2013.

“We had really a phenomenal year of growth,” he says. “Last year was particularly successful not just from a revenue standpoint but also in terms of the quality of our talent and our growth with new talent.”

Proactive recruiting has helped the agency scale quickly. Connolly says he spends about half his time on any given day focusing on some aspect of talent management or recruiting.  

New senior hires last year included Mike Dennelly, formerly of consumer shop G2, who joined as MD of the New York office. Former managing partner at CDM Princeton Heather Coyle was named EVP.

Jenny Streets joined from Digitas Health as SVP, client partner. John Nelson, formerly of The Kaplan Thaler Group, came on as senior director, strategic planning. Brian Whalen, Ph.D, brings experience in biomedical research as well as in peer-to-peer medical education and advertising to his role as VP, science and medicine.

Across the board, it seems that digitally focused agencies are seeking broader AOR work and more traditionally focused agencies are seeking digital AOR designations on brands for which they serve as consumer and/or HCP AOR.

“Some clients are looking to consolidate consumer and digital business, and we're one of the few agencies that can really do both well,” he says. “Unlike a lot of traditional shops, we have digital in our DNA. In addition, we've focused a lot on analytics and have built up strong strategic planning expertise and that lends itself to more consumer AOR-type work.”

Though he feels both agency and client consolidation is an ongoing a challenge, Connolly says many of Evoke's clients “are putting the quality of the agency relationship above just solely looking at financial benefits of perhaps consolidating.”

“On a brand level, there's much greater emphasis on ROI and marketing program efficiency,” he adds. “We welcome that. We've spent a lot of time and money in the last couple of years bulking up our analytics capability, so we're in a good position to handle changes the market is bearing.”

Plans for the rest of this year include continuing to promote the rebrand and focusing on expanding client relationships. “We're building on the success of 2012, and I expect another year of very strong performance,” Connolly says.
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