Havas Lynx resulted from last fall’s merger of two digital shops—New York-based Euro RSCG Life 4D and a new acquisition, Manchester, UK-based Creative Lynx, a 25-year-old firm known for its work on Janssen’s pioneering Psoriasis360 social media campaign. The network has around 250 employees, with half of those in New York and the other half split between the London and Manchester offices. The network’s bailiwick, says Havas Chief Digital Officer Larry Mickelberg, who serves as president of the network and heads the New York office, is “to identify new technology and actually create markets, create spaces in which to operate.”
Havas Lynx’s role in Havas has been as technological “lighthouse,” says Mickelberg. It’s their job to push the envelope, to peer into the future. So what’s new?
“For almost every client, we’re designing a mobile-first strategy,” says Mickelberg. “The desktop is not necessarily an afterthought, but for our clients, mobile is really where it’s at.”
That shift is happening in tandem with the arrival of a post-pill business. “Many of our clients have in clinical trials sensors and devices as companions to pharmaceutical products, and so they’re looking at both the molecule and the molecule-plus-diagnostic to see what the delta is in terms of outcomes, and what they’re finding is really exciting.”
And with that, the nature of the marketing business is changing as well. “In the old days, we were doing advertising. We pushed a message. Now we provide value-added services and support, we do what we call service-driven design, which is taking a robust understanding of the customer, whether consumer or HCP, marrying that with our expert knowledge of the channels to create really differentiated experiences that people can have with these products.”
They’re also investing in their own tech platforms that they license out to clients. They launched Virtual Environment, a 3D-rendered environment used for training, back in 2008, and more recently released a proprietary e-detailing platform called Profile. A companion remote-detailing product, code-named Correspondence, is in development.
Mickelberg says such platforms are about a quarter of the shop’s business. “It’s a place where we’re really investing and one where I think all agencies have to play. We like to play in the content business as agencies, but it’s nice when you can actually manage both the content and the channel.”
The shop had its fourth straight year of growth, despite the loss last summer of two developmental products that failed to meet their endpoints. So far, 2013 is looking “even better from a growth perspective.”
Going forward, Mickelberg expects the network to do a lot more consumer work. “We sense an opportunity to create a new kind of consumer health agency,” he says. “Today, we work in biopharma, in devices and diagnostics. Over time, we’ll expand into ancillary businesses like healthy living, gyms and spas, retail health and consumer products.”