Revenue increased 40% to an MM&M-estimated $53.2 million
“We’re focused on maintaining a fresh, motivated pool of talent and being proactive about identifying the right client partnerships for us, as opposed to reacting whenever an RFP comes our way”
“Can anyone really predict? There’s so much noise right now and it’s loudest around policy. There are challenges, but there will be plenty of opportunities as well”
Cris Morton, president of Havas Life Metro, says his company enjoyed a barnburner year. He reports a 40% surge in revenue to an MM&M-estimated $53.2 million in 2016, up from an estimated $38 million the previous year.
But he says his personal highlight wasn’t any particular client win or comparable business success. Rather, he says, it was the year-end party at which the agency cut loose and celebrated those hard-won gains. “For me, that was just a great moment, because 2016 had been such a long and busy year,” Morton notes. “It was the apotheosis of it all: just the moment when it sunk in that all that hard work and team effort had really paid off.”
All of which, of course, isn’t to downplay the year’s individual successes. The agency notched five wins, adding the American Medical Association to its roster and oncology assignments from Pfizer.
And while Q1 2017 was relatively flat compared with the year-ago period in terms of revenue, Havas Life Metro still finds itself integrating everything it absorbed in 2016.
Much of the past year’s growth, Morton notes, came from existing clients, such as Genentech, which expanded its relationship with the agency. Morton concedes, however, that at times the growth was as much a challenge as a blessing. Amid the adrenaline of pitching new business, building relationships with clients, and producing top-notch creative, Morton says that the agency endeavored “to keep a good work–life balance, amid ongoing client and industry pressure.”
To that end, he says that Havas Life Metro’s highest priority will always be “making sure our teams can breathe and thrive, and keeping their spirits and morale up.”
Similarly, he notes that each client relationship is inherently different: “Some clients look at agencies as commodities, while others see them as being true partners. You have to set yourself up as the latter in order to be successful.”
While Morton believes that Havas Life Metro has “turned the corner” in staffing up across offices in New York, Chicago, Toronto, and San Francisco, he says the company is still in hiring mode, especially for people with digital expertise.
Along those lines, he notes Havas Life Metro is settling into parent Havas Health’s new corporate structure. Earlier this year, Havas decided to merge all of its global consumer health practices into a new division named Havas Health & You.
“We’ve stripped down internal walls and our thinking is now much more agency-agnostic,” Morton explains. “Being nimble and entrepreneurial, we are already seeing some of the advantages of this Better Together village model. Our clients love it and are clamoring for more.”
A final highlight has been the introduction of the American Medical Association’s new campaign, which kicked off in March. “The AMA is such a venerable organization and I love the way this campaign came together — the display, the out-of-home, and the social media,” Morton enthuses. “It is so well executed and it speaks to the values of the kind of agency we want to be.”