For Purohit Navigation, 2020 was, somehow, business as usual.
With longstanding client relationships, a long-established work-from-home policy and a strong internal support system, the agency didn’t need to scramble when the pandemic descended on the country. “Our team just flexed. Nothing was compromised,” says president Anshal Purohit.
Purohit Navigation instead chose to concentrate on strengthening its strategy practice and intensifying its behavioral science focus. As part of those efforts, Purohit grew its strategy and critical analytics teams, putting formal structures in place within each.
The agency also established a team comprised of Ph.D.-level staff with commercial experience, designed to liaise with creative staff and bridge the gap to its scientific capabilities. As a result, Purohit Navigation found itself able to take on more early-stage support work.
Indeed, Purohit notes that behavioral science has been a company focus since its inception. “It’s not just lip service,” she emphasizes. “We were founded in research and have followed that trajectory for the last three decades, and are now dedicating resources to amplifying that part of the business.”
Revenue and staff size were flat in 2020, at an MM+M-estimated $19 million and 50 full-timers, respectively. The firm counts Gilead, Jaguar Health and Octapharma among its client mainstays.
Purohit Navigation was, however, able to add a host of assignments to its slate during 2020, including engagements with Enliven (in oncology) and Oxford Biodynamics (on the EpiSwitch platform). All of the new business came from clients who have previously worked with the agency.
What keeps them coming back? Purohit believes it’s the authenticity and reliability of the agency’s teams. “We’re roll-up-the-sleeves partners,” she says, noting that anytime a client assigns the agency a task, it’s as good as done: “They know that we know their business as well or better than they do.”
The year 2020 was fulfilling on the creative side as well. Purohit points to the agency’s disease awareness campaign for Jaguar subsidiary Napo Pharmaceuticals’ Mytesi, a drug that treats HIV-related chronic diarrhea. “Sometimes we get these disease states that are stigmatized, and patients don’t really want to talk about it,” she explains. “We wanted to find a way to make that more accessible for patients.” The creative execution: An engaging visualization that takes patients inside the gut to explain the condition’s origin.
Anshal Purohit also highlights recent work for Enliven Therapeutics, a small company in the molecular oncology space. Most corporate concepts in that space are “lots of blues and molecules,” she quips. Purohit Navigation, by comparison, “pushed them to think differently,” playing with color palettes to deliver something fresh and striking.
As for the rest of 2021, Anshal Purohit refrains from making any big predictions. “I just want to be doing a better version of what we did last year,” she says. The one major question on her mind concerns the future of the workplace.
“The acute COVID recovery period I’m not so worried about. It’s the bigger question of, ‘What is work generally after that?’” she adds. “I don’t have an answer, but we’ll find out this year.”
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The idea I wish I had…
It is hard for me to answer this question with a specific piece of work — I feel there have been and always are so many ideas that are inspirational to me and our team. It always reminds me of how in awe I am of those who can translate a feeling or idea into art, and evoke an emotional response. I don’t have that ability, and really admire it in those who do. — Anshal Purohit