Increasing creativity among employees, clients and members of its extended community boosts staff retention and business for Arnold New York. Which is why, twice a month, the Havas-owned DTC shop invites a host of its collaborators and colleagues in for a listening session.

Featured guests, who have ranged from Run-D.M.C. to Kevin Rowland (of Dexys Midnight Runners/“Come On Eileen” fame), play music, tell stories about their lives and occasionally autograph books or CDs. The goal? For all attendees to leave the event feeling a little bit different about their work and the world than they did at its outset.

Music is such a huge part of Arnold’s creative life that the agency recently added an executive role that, as far as we know, is unique in the world of medical marketing: director of music and culture. To fill it, the company turned to world-renowned concert violinist Damien Escobar and charged him with coming up with innovative ideas for connecting brands with music.

“Our people get excited to learn about different ways to approach creativity, ways they hadn’t thought of before,” notes co-president and chief creative officer Rich Russo. “They take that inspiration and pass it on to our clients.”

On the backs of new assignments from Novartis, Sanofi, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Amgen, as well as ongoing engagements with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, Arnold continued to grow its healthcare business over the past year. The company saw revenue rise from an MM+M-estimated $25 million in 2021 to an estimated $30 million in 2022, a 20% jump.

Head count rose in concert, with the firm employing 118 people at the start of 2022 and 142 at its end.

Russo and co-president Claire Capeci go out of their way to interview every potential employee at every level before a formal job offer is extended. “It’s not just about whether people are good at their craft. It’s also a check for culture,” Capeci explains. “Is that person really going to love being in an environment where everyone truly works together to get to a really great product?”

Indeed, Capeci also credits much of Arnold’s recent success to what she calls “radical collaboration.” When asked how radical collaboration differs from regular, old-fashioned collaboration, Capeci says that the former used to be about little more than keeping clients in the day-to-day loop. Radical collaboration, on the other hand, “works a little differently, because most people know what every brand is doing and what’s going on. So, if a brand has a problem, we get a bunch of people in the room who may not even be involved in that brand, and we solve that problem quickly.”

That approach means that Arnold’s client relationships go deep — and, Capeci reports, leads to a wellspring of organic business growth.

“Every brand has given us more assignments because we don’t fail them,” she says. “They’re doing well and we believe that our culture has a lot to do with it. Radical collaboration is a big part of that.” 

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Our marketing role model…

We could not be prouder of The Coalition for the Homeless, an organization that exemplifies courage and resourcefulness every day for those in need. During COVID, their out-of-the-box thinking kept 76,000 people (including 22,000 children) fed, clothed and sheltered. They kept their annual charity event, Artwalk NY, alive by creating an online auction where top celebrities designed plates. Each plate was a fabulous work of art and The Coalition raised $125,000 — nearly $50,000 more than in previous years. That kind of nimble resourcefulness in the face of adversity is why we admire them so much. — Russo

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