TCSinteractive Life Sciences may not be the longest-tenured firm in the Agency 100 — it opened its doors in 2015 — but its facility at the intersection of technology and creative has attracted plenty of admirers. And imitators.
Revenue jumped 14% in 2020, from $36.7 million in 2019 to $41.8 million. Head count similarly spiked, from 597 employees at the end of 2019 to 651 at the end of 2020. Key personnel additions included two directors of marketing technology: Prayas Khant, who arrived from Accenture Interactive, and Jay Rabheru, formerly with Astellas.
According to chief digital officer Nitin Kumar, the growth makes sense in the context of 2020’s myriad disruptions. “The overall transformation of the marketing landscape is where we see a lot of play for an agency like us. The amalgamation of technology with creative is our key differentiator,” he explains.
Chief commercial officer Alok Ghosh agrees, adding, “We start with the design thinking, we can do the brand strategy and we can do the critical marketing technology and analytics. And we can actually implement it, in one house,” he notes. “That holistic digital transformation has supported our clients’ growth and transformation.”
Kumar says a common theme of projects in 2020 was an increased emphasis on data and analytics — one of TCS-interactive’s guiding tenets — and what he characterizes as transformational work at a time when clients were newly open to such an approach. “People were scrambling to see where digital technologies could be utilized,” he explains. “The requests were in terms of how an ecosystem could be transformed to cater to the new reality we found ourselves in.”
TCSinteractive may have been ahead of the agency world’s transformation curve, but its post-pandemic reality is likely to diverge from that of its competitors. While many agency execs have expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of resuming in-person meetings and brainstorming sessions, TCSinteractive is forging ahead with plans for a more permanent remote future.
“One of our stated objectives is ‘25 by 25’ — that only 25% of our work force will be in offices by 2025,” Ghosh says. “Our going-in strategy is that remote working will become the norm, like the way it has been for the last year. We will have only a set of essential folks in offices.”
Kumar notes that TCSinteractive’s ability to collaborate was not meaningfully impacted during the shutdown months at home — which goes against what he and the agency’s other leaders expected at the pandemic’s outset. He downplays the effect on the firm’s ability to foster internal and external collaboration.
“Obviously there is a difference between being in a room together versus doing all of this remotely, but productivity has not been hampered,” he says. “In fact, in quite a few cases, it has increased.” He adds that agencies such as TCSinteractive “can get more talent and do a lot more when they are not constrained by an office or a particular geography.”
Beyond the changes that COVID-19 has brought to TCSinteractive’s own work environment, Ghosh expects the current elevation of non-personal promotion will outlive the pandemic by many years. “You will see that technology will continues to become more important to our pharma and healthcare marketers,” he says.
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The idea I wish I had…
PhRMA’s 30-second broadcast and digital message, In Common, features a diverse group of scientists and researchers working together day and night on the frontlines to accomplish the goal of treating and vaccinating COVID patients. It conveys a reassuring message of hope and pride in what the biopharma industry can accomplish when we embrace science. — Alok Ghosh