In late March, around 200 of the 280 people employed by the agency newly unified as ConcentricLife assembled for a launch event in Fort Lauderdale. Over the course of three days, the group discussed everything about its consolidated offering — services, culture, vision and more — and people from the company’s seven locations were able to interact outside the confines of a Zoom square. It marked the first time in Concentric’s 21 years that the agency departed its usual settings and united to focus on, well, itself.
“Having everyone together and realizing how we’re going to live our values — in my two decades of running Concentric, it was one of my proudest moments,” says Ken Begasse Jr., who became founder and CEO of ConcentricLife following the merger of Stagwell siblings Concentric Health Experience and Scout Health.
Thing is, nothing that anyone heard during the retreat was a revelation. Ordinarily, post-merger agency get-togethers have all the awkwardness of a blind date, with a dash of professional insecurity thrown in for good measure. The process that birthed ConcentricLife, on the other hand, was purposeful and deliberate.
Concentric Health Experience and Scout Health started to work together around a year in advance of the February merger announcement. When it became evident that the pieces fit together exceedingly well, the firms hired Kristen Lisanti, a change-management expert who had advised Stagwell on its own megamerger.
“Maybe we anticipated the worst-case scenario and wanted to make sure we avoided it. But it was clear that for this to work, we needed to focus on our people,” Begasse recalls.
By all indications, ConcentricLife aced the culture challenge. The company grew revenue by 7%, from an MM+M-estimated $75 million in 2021 (that sum represents the revenue of Concentric Health Experience and Scout Health as distinct entities) to an estimated $80 million in 2022. It excelled in the new-business arena, adding engagements from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (including its ATTR franchise), Mindera Health (for digital skin analytics) and CeQur (for its wearable insulin patch).
They joined a host of high-profile assignments on ConcentricLife’s roster, notably consumer and HCP work on Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster weight-loss drug Wegovy. Begasse knows from blockbusters, having worked on the launch of Viagra. “This is going to be the biggest product in the history of the healthcare industry,” he predicts.
That’s the kind of big-game hunting in which the three brands under the CL umbrella — ConcentricLife, rare disease specialist ScoutLife and wellness unit RitualLife — plan to partake. Begasse points to work on a Takeda stem cell therapy, a “completely new delivery system” designed to help people with a GI condition associated with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, as another example of the type of assignments in the firm’s wheelhouse.
“We’re not marketing anything against an established footprint. Almost everything we do requires us to build the right market conditions for amazing products to be recognized for their value, and to create access for those who need them most,” he says.
Begasse sees blue skies ahead. “We’ve achieved our high-level goal of coming together,” he adds. “We’re well on our way.”
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Our marketing role model…
Ted Lasso.Like Ted, we help people believe in themselves and, through true connection, achieve more than they believed was possible. Similarly, we are not afraid to do things differently, lead with compassion and keep dreaming. Most importantly, like Ted, we appreciate that we are a continual work in progress and embrace improvement on the path to greatness. — Begasse Jr.