StoneArch did not sit still on any front in 2014. The agency added nine accounts in 2014, growing its medical device business and adding Jazz Pharmaceuticals to its client roster. Amid the flurry of activity, the 31-year-old agency paused to refine its own brand message.
“We haven’t changed who we are, our name or what we stand for, but we found our value proposition for supporting clients’ products and services aligns across the full healthcare continuum, from ‘prevention to intervention,’ ” says StoneArch president Jessica Boden.
While 2014 revenues were flat at $10 million, StoneArch was nonetheless able to add 3M, Acist Medical Systems, American Medical Systems, Bard Peripheral Vascular, Baxter and Covidien to its roster. “Some of our clients are cyclical, with a large launch one year and then a maintenance phase,” Boden says by way of explanation.
Promotions and new hires have enhanced a staff of about 44, which counts among its ranks individuals with backgrounds in pure branding and theater promotion. Senior writer Sue Katula took on the new position of content director, which involves integrating brand positioning, creative and content development across platforms. Julie Kaloides was recruited from Colle + McVoy to serve as lead programmer on the interactive team.
Boden attributes StoneArch’s recent successes to a strategy-first mind-set, especially within markets in which the gap between business-to-business and business-to-consumer is shrinking. Clients with both clinical- and consumer-facing audiences require strategically integrated solutions that meet needs across all audience segments, she notes. “Some of our most recent wins are interesting because they may not have historically been considered a healthcare offering. But as purchase patterns for health and wellness products have shifted, clinicians and payers are becoming more involved in the decision process for consumers.”
New client Medela sought help on the HCP side for pushing its breast pumps. “The interesting challenge for them was that it used to be a retail purchase decision,” Boden explains. “But with the Accountable Care Act, the pump is provided free. It presented Medela with the opportunity to look at its business differently and look at the clinician audience as a priority audience for driving branded referrals.” Plus StoneArch has taken on what Boden calls “some unique opportunities to help support initiatives that were more prevention focused” with start-ups in the health and wellness space.
The agency’s training and education division is deployed to ensure that sales teams are delivering message continuity across audiences and channels to pull through the value of differentiating strategies. StoneArch pivots to the digital toolbox for digital programs across the healthcare provider and patient spectrum, with recent campaigns including tracking apps to support the person managing the disease, mobile solutions and digital sales tools.
“When you look at the generational transitions that are happening in certain physician groups, to not bring forward solid, grounded digital strategies to our clients would be a miss from an agency perspective,” Boden says. “But for us, on the flip side, it is not about chasing the next hot tactic. Social-media channels make a ton of sense for some clients and for others it’s a secondary strategy that provides a nice base line of exposure. We are channel-agnostic; we’re looking at everything through the lens of ‘relevance first.’ ”