Top 100 Agencies 2015: Razorfish Health

Real transformation in action

An unbranded campaign for abuse-deterrent opioids for Purdue Pharma
An unbranded campaign for abuse-deterrent opioids for Purdue Pharma

Publicis-owned Razorfish is a familiar name in the industry but its latest guise, Razorfish Health, is a new agency that came into being at the start of this year. It combines the health expertise and insights of Rosetta's health division with the ­technology- enabled capabilities and global reputation of Razorfish Healthware.

“We were doing similar types of work,” explains managing director Shannon Hartley. “We came to the conclusion that if we brought those together to create greater scale and capability, that would help us best deliver for our clients and provide the greatest opportunities for growth.”

Hartley's leadership team is largely comprised of execs from the merged groups. Scott Reese is executive creative director, Jeff Smith is global head of technology and Edward Nathan is head of strategy while Mark Hunter, Patti Habig, Karl Tiedemann and Kim Corrigan are client partners. Total US head count is around 300.

The European group continues to operate as Razorfish Healthware under the leadership of ­Roberto Ascione. Hartley says the interaction between the groups is “seamless and collaborative.” 

While the Rosetta Health and Razorfish Healthcare entities have each been through numerous realignments in the past few years, Hartley acknowledges it doesn't get any easier each time. She has focused much of the first quarter on managing the changes internally.

“It's really uniting around a common vision that we are all about transforming the health experience,” she says. “Aligning our teams, our capabil- ities and our culture around how we deliver that is our main challenge. And by having a clear vision and focus of where we are headed, people can at least say, ‘Okay, I understand why it may be a little messy right now, but we are getting to a better place.' ”

Hartley sees three macro industry trends ­having profound effects on the healthcare landscape and providing immense opportunity for Razorfish: the data explosion, connectivity and customer-centricity.

“In the past, most traditional agencies have focused on building the brand and pushing that brand message out across channels,” she says. “We think there is an untapped area that is no longer just about the brand or the product. It's about the experience and the context in which that brand exists. So when we see that kind of merging brand and customer experience, that's where real transformation is going to happen. And that is the type of work we are doing with our clients today.”

Hartley cites an example of a client that is entering a real-world-experience clinical trial in diabetes. “We are building that customer experience portion for them,” she says. “It's not about the brand—it's about what the patient really needs to support the overall management of the disease and how you can show the impact it has on real-world outcomes.”

Similarly, for a pain product, Razorfish Health is exploring metrics way beyond sales. “I want to make sure that we are crafting data and collecting real-world experience that can demonstrate why this product is better at getting to the pain outcomes, because that's how customers are now going to be looking at it,” Hartley explains.

Overall, she believes it's an exciting time to be in the business. “We live through the challenging experiences of the patient and it's a real privilege and responsibility to help. We aren't just selling another piece of cheese. We are making a real difference.”