Greater Than One’s 2019 was all about expansion — geographically, yes, but also in terms of its offerings, in-house expertise and branding.
The agency added outposts in Madrid and London and jumped head count from 98 at the end of 2018 to 115 at the end of 2019. Revenue increased by 18%, from $21.3 million to $25.2 million.*
Still, Greater Than One president Kieran Walsh points to the development of the agency’s new branding as the defining moment of the year. “We’ve rebranded ourselves as the imagination agency,” he says. “It really helped set the tone for a cultural shift.”
Walsh adds that Greater Than One’s ambitions are, well, great: Its mission is to be the most imaginative agency in health and wellness.
“It’s a pretty bold statement,” he admits. “Part of that is to transform what’s possible for our clients and their customers by coming up with these imaginative solutions.”
Imagination is not an undefined, untouchable notion at Greater Than One, Walsh adds. Team members spur imaginative thinking by organizing group outings to museums and uniting in the company’s “imagination lab” to tackle challenges.
The approach paid off in the form of four new clients in 2019, with the agency adding work from Foamix Pharmaceuticals, Encore Dermatology, Seattle Genetics and Rhythm Pharmaceuticals. The work spans brand, digital and media services — the “three-legged stool” upon which the agency was built, Walsh notes, adding that in recent years Greater Than One has pushed deeper into the realm of enterprise solutions.
“It is really starting to develop into the fourth leg of the stool,” Walsh continues. “When we start to create these enterprise platforms, we’re exposed to the commercial team and we may be able to develop relationships with them and then opportunities arise. Before you know it, you’ve got more of a full-fledged relationship with the organization.”
Heading into the second half of 2020, Greater Than One hasn’t substantially veered from its pre-pandemic plans. Walsh says clients have given no indication their needs have evolved, so the agency has been functioning as close to normal as possible given the overarching circumstances.
That, of course, could change. “So far we’re managing it well, but it’s just impractical to think that everything is going to proceed as planned,” Walsh says. “We haven’t made any drastic change because we haven’t been led to believe by any of our clients that anything other than the status quo stays in place. I hope that continues because it would signal that, at some hopefully not-too-distant point in the future, we’ll have this pandemic under greater control.”
* Editor’s note: Greater Than One revised its 2018 revenue total from $54.3 million to $21.3 million after reconciling the calculation of revenue derived by its in-house media department with good accounting practices. Earlier revenue figures had erroneously included net media pass-through costs.
The best marketing we saw in 2019…
The National Safety Council’s Prescribed to Death campaign. Seeing the scale of the opioid epidemic and hearing personal accounts of its devastating impact on family members is jarring, emotional and behavior-altering all at once. The campaign is a wonderful example of the power of insight and creativity. — Kieran Walsh