Uptick in revenue, rising $2 million to an estimated $19 million
“We’ll be monitoring the impact of growth on our culture, which goes back to our values statement. We want to remain who we are, at whatever level that may be”
“Finding the right talent will continue to be hard, not just because we are very selective, but because pharma marketing is a niche industry”
It’s a little silly to suggest a firm that opened its doors in 1985 has just started to grow up. Any company — big or small — that has survived both industry upheaval and the tumult that came with the analog-to-digital transition doesn’t need to tout its bona fides. The mere act of survival speaks for itself.
And yet one still senses 2016 was a milestone year in Purohit Navigation’s evolution, from a regional player that was well regarded in certain therapeutic categories to a jack of all trades.
The agency added a layer of management, expanded its operations staff, and bulked up its medical-research and digital offerings with a slate of scientist and programmer hires. It also diversified its client base, pushing deeper into dermatology (OTC and Rx), pain management, and diagnostics.
Those aren’t the actions of a company content to occupy a limited niche.
“We experienced a good amount of growth and expanded and upgraded our talent,” says Anshal Purohit, who last year became the agency’s president. Her mother, Ahnal Purohit, who founded the company, remains CEO.
Revenue jumped 12% to an estimated $19 million, while staff size grew from 40 to 60.
The growth came largely without headaches or complications, both Purohits say. And it largely came without complaints from clients used to the 24/7 attention they’ve been conditioned to receive from smaller agencies.
“Our thinking is very different. We’re more about that stewardship and ownership [of a client’s business] than a network agency can be,” Ahnal says. Anshal agrees, adding, “We operate more like a consultancy than an ad agency. There’s a high degree of availability. We’re not just running tactics.”
Gilead Sciences and BD remain Purohit Navigation’s flagship clients. Both relationships have withstood the test of time.
Of Gilead, Ahnal says, “They know our values and our thinking. So much of what we do is already established, which makes it easier to extend the relationship.” In 2016, BD tapped the agency for additional work in the diagnostics and instrumentation realm. “It’s highly technical work, but requires interesting strategic comms,” Anshal notes.
The firm also added an upcoming launch in dermatology from Cutanea Life Sciences, the U.S. subsidiary of Japanese dermatology giant Maruho. The only client loss was Promius Pharma.
Anshal believes there’s a simple reason the firm has been able to keep ever-flighty pharma clients happy for extended periods of time. “We take everything personally,” she says. “We treat their business like it’s our own.”
As a result, it’s unlikely the firm will tweak its approach anytime soon. “I don’t think we ever want to be in a position where we say, ‘Next year is going to be dramatically different.’ We’re on the right path,” Anshal adds.