Many changes have taken place over the last year or so at the Dallas-headquartered agencies formerly known as imc2 and imc2 Health & Wellness. Consumer shop imc2 was renamed MEplusYOU in May 2012, and imc2 Health & Wellness followed suit this February. Both agencies have always been owned by a private holding company, which last year got the public-facing name, Agencies of Change.
The senior bench has also shifted. President Marc Blumberg is playing an advisor role. Scott Bennett joined this year as principal, responsible for account management. Lauren Lawhon, VP, strategy, is running healthcare. Hensley Evans, formerly chief strategy officer, left last year. Amber Benson joined as VP, innovation and development in October but has since left.
MEplusYOU CEO Doug Levy will not comment on revenue, though he says 55% is derived from healthcare clients and that 2012 was “a good year.”
“The name change is in line with the organization’s purpose, which is to advance relationships,” Levy says. “It’s very intentional that ‘me’ is first. As marketing has evolved it’s become focused on starting with the customer. Marketers have been trying to get to know what customers like and then try to become that, which can feel and be inauthentic. We believe the starting point for brands is knowing who you are, what you care about and living that in such a way that you attract like-minded people.” He reports that MEplusYOU is increasingly winning AOR assignments, and says the shift from solely doing digital work impacted the agency’s headcount, which was down 20 to 124 ending 2012. It’s up to 142 now.
“Digital has become so central to how clients communicate,” Levy explains. “They need agencies that can play a broader role. We’ve gone through that migration.”
Wins included AOR status for TLC Vision Lasik Centers; digital AOR status and strategic work for RESCUE Remedy flower remedies; work for Sonitus Medical; digital AOR work for prosthetics and orthopedics provider Hanger, Inc. and general marketing and positioning work. Business also reportedly expanded with Novartis.
Levy and Lawhon won’t comment about losses, but it seems fairly well known that Lipitor was lost.
Levy feels it has been an “exciting year,” with the agency putting its ideology about authenticity, purpose and depth of relationship into a methodology. He says the ideology isn’t new—it’s just been made explicit with the methodology, which includes helping clients develop a “purpose proposition” and “brand stand.”
“Consumers trust what their friends or experts are saying,” he says. “Marketers no longer control a brand. Mass media is on the decline. These are realities. What’s growing is the capability of a brand to be authentic, to know what they believe, not just what they want to convince people to do. We take a strong stand on that approach to marketing, and we’re seeing it work.”