Top 100 Agencies: DiD
DiD's growth—from 35 full-timers at this time two years ago to 53 now, plus another dozen contractors who are in the office more than they're not—is, by most measures, a very good thing. But that sharp spike in business and headcount left everyone at the suburban Philly firm feeling cramped.
So in April the agency moved from one quirky workspace (a renovated hotel that DiD partner Peter Kenney calls “a rabbit warren of little rooms”) to another (a renovated power plant dating back to the 1880s). The old space had closed doors aplenty; the new one is all glass and open space, complete with 24-foot ceilings. “What we have now is something that's more reflective of our team approach,” Kenney says.
The new space has proximity to a big client—McNeil Consumer Healthcare is practically within shouting distance—and to mass transportation. “We overlook the train lines, which should help us in terms of attracting talent,” says managing director Patty Henhoeffer.
The office upgrade was one of several for-the-better changes that DiD has experienced over the last year or so. To ease the day-to-day management burden on Kenney and fellow partner Rick Sannem, DiD restructured and expanded its leadership team. It elevated three staffers into new roles: Elyse Cole (VP, strategy and strategic services), Bill Fay (director, client services) and Abby Galardi (director, creative services).
“There were a lot of things that weren't getting done because Rick and I were off working with clients,” Kenney admits. “These were three people who had gained loads of respect and were chomping at the bit for more responsibility. It was a logical transition.”
DiD expanded into new therapeutic areas. Endocyte became DiD's first client in the oncology space (on a drug for ovarian cancer). Interleukin Genetics gave the agency a foothold in personalized medicine (on a product that determines disposition for periodontal disease). Business came from WellSpring Pharmaceutical (for heartburn drug Gelusil) and homeopathic product supplier Similasan. Yeast infection drug Monistat returned after years away. “It kind of wandered back,” Kenney cracks.
DiD had frustrations as well. Owing to a conflict with client Bausch + Lomb, the firm no longer works with Alcon Canada. Its work on behalf of Biomers failed to evolve due to funding issues. “We invested a lot in some clients who never had the resources to execute anything,” is the way Kenney puts it.Expansion into other therapeutic areas is on the to-do list, with Henhoeffer pointing to skin care and animal health as likely targets: “They seem the natural next step.” Kenney, for his part, hopes the relationship with McNeil will intensify even further. “That new consumer journey they're on, with social and search and so many other components—that's the type of assignment that really gets us going.”