Just over the Bay Bridge from San Francisco sits Splice Agency headquarters. An early home to a then-young Pixar studios, Splice’s colorful and creative space served as the perfect venue for “View from a California Agency: It’s Different Here.”
Featuring marketing leaders from local biotech entities and multiple founding members of Splice, the half-day panel discussion focused on the cultural differences between East and West Coast biopharmaceutical companies and the agencies that service them. The crowd of healthcare marketers, Splice employees and other local agency professionals took in insights on how commercializing West Coast companies are arming themselves with agile and nimble agency partners with the expertise and innovation necessary to take risks, explore unconventional approaches and make limited marketing dollars work hard for their brands.
MM&M’s GM and editor-in-chief Steve Madden kicked off the day’s discussion by asking Paul Hagopian, Jonathan Peischl and KC Maher of Splice to delve deeper into what they felt was behind the company’s recipe for success and what exactly made things “different here” compared to the concrete canyons of New York City, Chicago, Philly and beyond. The team had plenty to say on that front and shared how they regularly tap into the Silicon Valley model, where technology is a given, agility is a must and the user experience rules all. This uniquely West Coast state of mind leaves them better equipped for productive and efficient collaboration internally and with clients.
From there, Madden led the Splice group through a series of discussions covering topics such as what qualities distinguish the ideal agency partner, how they strive for a “we not me” mentality and the challenges of staffing an agency in this environment when facing intense competition not only with other agencies, but also industry behemoths such as Facebook, Google and Apple.
The team did not shy away when asked to divulge the ingredients of their secret sauce, sharing that their approach is grounded in treating each team member as a person first and an employee second. They emphasized that their goal as leaders is to ensure each member of the team experiences fulfillment in and outside the walls of the agency as much as possible. In addition, all successes and failures are shared as a collective group. This unique mindset fosters a more positive and inclusive workspace, motivating employees to go beyond the typical to engineer truly innovative solutions to the problems faced by their clients with small budgets but big expectations.
The group closed out the event with a discussion on what small to midsize agencies must do to deliver the best possible customer experience. They recognized that one key to success is breaking down walls that often exist with clients. Helping marketing, sales, medical and C-suites rally around a singular vision for a brand leads to better brand performance, better profitability and greater success.
But this same sense of collective purpose must also be shared within the agency itself. Within a willingness to put ego aside and work as a team, lies the possibly to create truly disruptive work. And there’s nothing more Californian than that.