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Revenue grew 11% to about $33.5 million


“We will continue to evolve and grow as an omnichannel agency focused on customer experience. And we will continue to integrate with Cognizant” 
— Will Reese


“Digital transformation is the hot topic. A lot of that work is around automation and the role of AI and algorithms, and the impact those will have on future customer experiences” 
— Charlie Walker

Cadient continued to evolve beyond its digital roots in 2016, amplifying its strength in experience design and deepening its collaboration with parent Cognizant. The Malvern, Pennsylvania-based agency grew 11% to about $33.5 million in revenue, adding another regional office in Santa Monica, California, along the way. 

The year saw Cadient work on its first “end-to-end” AOR engagement, with Cempra for antibacterial solithromycin. Although the product ultimately failed to win FDA approval, the experience represented an important step forward for the firm.

“We had to add AOR capabilities to compete with the big agencies,” says co-president and COO Charlie Walker. “We really proved our mettle with that client, and we have been able to leverage that work with other clients to show we can be a true AOR, not just a digital AOR.” Walker reports Cadient won another AOR account with a top-10 pharma company this year.

At the same time, Cadient trades on its digital chops. “It’s been interesting to see all the agencies trying to catch up in the digital space,” says co-president and chief innovation officer Will Reese. “We have that heritage, but we realized we had to go further upstream and at the same time continue to evolve digital into the future, which is experience design. So we are creating an omnichannel agency of experience.”

A major driver of Cadient’s evolution is more in-depth collaboration with its parent company. Cognizant has existing client relationships with each of the top 30 pharma companies and often calls on Cadient for consulting. 

We really proved our mettle with that client, and we have been able to leverage that work with other clients to show we can be a true AOR, not just a digital AOR. – Charlie Walker, co-president

“We are a customer-experience layer on almost all their work,” says Reese. “We have been able to provide a significant leadership around innovation and strategy for the entire vertical.” In fact, Cognizant assigned formal roles to a handful of Cadient’s key leaders, including Reese and chief technology officer Bryan Hill, and the relationship appears beneficial to both parties. 

“Cognizant touches so many applications and, frankly, the user experience for all of them sucks,” notes Walker. “So this has been a huge opportunity for us.”

Cadient flexed its innovation muscle for a number of clients in 2016. For example, the agency was able to set up a moderated Q&A session using Facebook Live for Incyte’s myelofibrosis treatment Jakafi. It also worked with Cognizant to digitally transform another client’s front-end customer experience across 40 countries.

“We owned the experience design and the governance around it, and we leveraged the Cognizant technology teams to deploy it, so it was a good marriage,” says Reese. 

For AbbVie’s Clinical Trials and Me, Cadient teamed up with Cognizant stablemate Idea Couture to design a “seamless experience” for inviting patients to clinical trials and fostering their support and participation.

The agency plans to further extend its UX leadership position in the fall by opening a human experience lab in or near Pennsylvania. “It will be an immersive experience where you can see the technology of life sciences and healthcare coming alive,” Reese promises. “We will use it as a facility to train and educate, and offer up talks and symposia.”