Established in Rochester, New York, in 2004, Partners + Napier has long worked across industries, including food and beverage, travel, and finance. But it has been the agency’s work in healthcare, especially on behalf of longtime clients Bausch + Lomb and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, that has earned it a reputation for creative thinking.

“The more creative the work, the stronger the impact,” says Partners president Courtney Cotrupe. “And when you achieve impact for clients, your business grows, too.”Revenue derived from healthcare work was up 31.1% last year, from $4.5 million to $5.9 million (the agency’s 2016 revenue was restated to reflect only healthcare). Overall, the firm grew 15%.

Part of the increase in healthcare came via the acquisition of fellow Rochester agency Roberts Communications. The deal, Cotrupe reports, gave Partners additional depth in strategic planning in the B2B space as well as additional PR, social media, and analytics muscle.

Cotrupe notes B2B work is becoming increasingly important as the focus on accountable care and provider partnerships increases across the industry. To that end, Partners + Napier added B2B assignments during the past year from Bausch + Lomb, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, and Highmark Health.

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“Digital, social, and content are transforming the industry at a rapid pace, in terms of how healthcare is delivered and how the messaging is received by consumers,” Cotrupe says. “Our responsibility is understanding that and helping define the role of the brand.”

Cotrupe also reports growth in project-based work across all verticals. She attributes this in part to trust in marketing hitting an all-time low. “At the same time, we’re experiencing growth with project-based clients because we quickly prove the value of creative as an economic driver,” she notes.

Staff size surged from 106 people in 2016 to 141 last year, 19 of whom joined from Roberts. Two new director-level leadership positions were created: Luke Madden was promoted to director of growth and Jordan Murphy joined from Universal McCann as director of engagement and analytics.

Cotrupe says the integration of Roberts has proceeded smoothly. “It’s so important to stay really close to client business and to have regular conversations internally and with clients to foster the new relationships and ensure seamless integration,” she notes. The agency expects to see the fruits of this labor in its 2018 take: Cotrupe reports healthcare business was up 28% against the year-ago period in Q1 2018.