100 Agencies: evoke interaction

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B. Reid Connolly, CEO
B. Reid Connolly, CEO

Evoke interaction CEO B. Reid Connolly covers a broad range of topics in a conversation—fom big-picture assessments of the agency's fortunes over the last 12 months to a gaze into the crystal ball for the years ahead.

That conversation also includes Connolly's takes on the industry as a whole (“insights and analytics go hand in hand”) and on segments where he sees growth potential (“there's lots of growth in the oncology space, if you look at how pharmaceutical companies are investing in their own pipelines and portfolios”).

That said, it's difficult to assess evoke's success during the last year, as the agency is bound by restrictions from its parent company Huntsworth Health, a global healthcare agency network, and Connolly can only give so much in the way of precise information.


According to Connolly, 2011 revenue grew somewhere in the neighborhood of 30%; most of that growth came during the third and fourth quarter of 2011, with momentum continuing into the first half of 2012; half of the business won was in the DTC and consumer agency-of-record arena, while the other half was in the digital AOR arena; and the firm grew its New York and Philadelphia offices “from a footprint perspective.”

evoke clearly put together some very good work on behalf of Noven Pharmaceuticals (for product sites Daytrana.com and Intuniv.com) and Pfizer (the RAConversations video series, for rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel), as the agency picked up industry awards/plaudits for both of those assignments.

Given evoke's reputation among fellow agencies, everything that Connolly has to say about the firm's philosophical approach rings true. With every assignment, evoke attempts to connect on a human level with its audiences.

“When you reach people at a time in their lives when they need information to help them with a life-altering condition, you can't treat them in a transactional way,” Connolly explains. “Too often [agencies] think, ‘What are the brand needs and what are the customer needs?' We add ethnographic research and linguistic research to get at the drivers of how people are feeling.”

A pair of well-regarded hires helped enhance that agenda. In the last year, evoke brought on former Cadient Group exec Heather Torak as chief operating officer and former G2 USA exec Mike Dennelly to head its New York office as managing director.

Former Rosetta exec Dave Mihalovic, brought in as chief experience officer towards the end of 2011, left the company a few months ago.
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