Solidifying the foundation for its creativity, culture and brand took precedence for Havas Health Plus in 2018. Toward the end of the year, the agency launched its new website and developed a presence on Instagram to communicate with employees and clients, both current and prospective.

The business impact of such moves is impossible to quantify, but HHP co-president and chief experience officer Allison Ceraso believes the foundational reset helped pushed the agency toward one of its best years yet. Revenue for 2018 was an MM&M-estimated $32 million.

HHP’s new business efforts proved largely successful, with the firm landing AOR assignments from Merck and AstraZeneca. More recent wins came in the realms of diabetes, vaccines and what HHP co-president Greg Lewis characterizes as “a new therapeutic class.”

Another new addition, nonprofit Save the Children, tapped HHP to rebuild and reshape its campaign platform and positioning. “It was an incredibly rewarding experience for all of us,” says Ceraso.

The agency’s work with Amgen had a similar philanthropic component, with HHP highlighting the drugmaker’s presence in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. An expanded indication on an existing product prompted Amgen to grow its relationship with the agency even further.

“With Amgen, we have produced a great body of work, including the corporate piece,” Ceraso says. She adds that HHP prodded the company on the technology front. “Through events, we brought augmented reality to a marketing team that had never done it before.” Expect HHP to continue to look at new technologies, whether holographic telepresences or advanced data-visualization techniques, for use in everyday brand work.

Thanks to the additional business won in 2018 and the first part of 2019, HHP is on the hunt for workers. Staff size sits at 150, up from 140 at the end of 2017, and Lewis notes with pride that annual turnover at the agency is below 20%.

To ensure the creative vitality of its culture — not to mention keep staffers’ eyes open to the most recent creative and technological innovations — HHP will continue to bring in external speakers to address all interested parties. Recent visitors have included experts on AI and Paula Scher, an acclaimed graphic designer and the first female principal of design consultancy Pentagram. Ceraso and Lewis also host a regular roundtable with the firm’s Generation Z staffers, during which topics such as communication preferences and workplace inspiration are discussed.

Taken together, such internal efforts are designed to prepare HHP staffers, of all ages, to confront an ever-evolving environment around health and pharma. “I see healthcare marketers taking more risks than ever before, whether on something that doesn’t have a proven ROI or on a technology they have potentially never heard of,” says Ceraso. “Every health-related brand has to think, act and behave like a consumer product. For a creative agency, it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in the space.”