Top 100 Agencies 2015: H4B Chelsea

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H4B Chelsea's AOC work for Alcon's Air Optix
H4B Chelsea's AOC work for Alcon's Air Optix

The trio at the helm of H4B Chelsea—Chief Operating Officer Michael Peto, Chief Creative Officer Christian Bauman and Chief of Client Services Steven Nothel—exhibit contagious enthusiasm and excel at finishing one another's sentences.

They have ticked off six years as partners of an agency that has tripled in size and ridden a wave of exceptional growth. “We grew because of the various disciplines and channels we have under one roof,” Nothel shares. “We call it the unification principle.”

Revenue for 2014 grew to the mid-$70-million range and if all indications based on the agency's performance during the first four months of 2015 are correct, the team expects to record another 10% growth in revenue by year's end.

The agency attributes the surge not only to a portfolio exhibiting traditional HCP work but also to market development, medical communication and extensive payer work, to name a few. “Our creative awards have gone through the roof in the last few years,” explains Bauman. “It's been great recognition for our employees.”

H4B Chelsea celebrated six account wins last year and the addition of a variety of smaller projects. The most thrilling account involved creative consumer work, including a TV spot, for the launch of Air Optix Colors contact lenses for Alcon, a Novartis company. 

The firm also resumed work with Pfizer on its launch of Ibrance for advanced breast cancer. “It was satisfying to return to Pfizer following their network consolidation that removed us from their agency list a few years ago,” Bauman shares. “But we're back, and back on a marquee brand.”

According to Peto, the shop closed the year out by signing on to do HCP and market access work for Biogen's hemophilia franchise.

With all of the growth (head count rose from 305 to 359 last year), the space that has housed the agency from its inception became a bit too cramped. At the time this article goes to press, the team expects to be nestled into new space replete with a world-class creative department, one that aims to entice clients to visit and is designed to spark its employees' creative approach. 

“Our current space has been outstanding but we outgrew it,” Bauman says. So the team drew up a wish list to replicate the old space and usher in the new.

According to Nothel, culture plays an important role in the agency's successes and accomplishments. Giving back is an important part of the Heath4Brands network, a quality that is impressed upon employees. Among many charitable endeavors is rebuilding the Santi School in Nepal following the area's recent devastating earthquakes.

The shop continues to evolve its training program and encourages employees to take on new challenges and expand their capabilities, Nothel says.

Part of that is an intense focus on the customer experience, Peto explains. “It relates to what our clients are talking about, going ‘Beyond the Pill,' ” he expands. “With so many touch places—mobile, tablet, rep, laptop, mail—how do we create the best message but also the best vehicle to disseminate that message?”

A 2015 pitch win for a biosimilars portfolio has been the culmination of all the hard work and dedication. “We are the first agency to work in this space and be part of healthcare's most up and coming area,” Bauman says. “There are strategic implications that I can't even begin to address.”

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