Guidemark Health jumpstarts rebrand, brings on big-agency grad
Mid-size ad agency network Guidemark Health looked like it was in evolutionary mode when CEO Matt Brown shook off the mega-agency ICC Lowe last fall.
It was more of a flashpoint. The company with about $25 million in billables has kicked-off a rebranding effort which includes consolidating its roster of agency brands that includes Convergent, eCrossings Media and Tricor, into one: Guidemark Health.
This is in addition to bringing on Tina Fascetti as the group's chief creative officer. Like Brown, Fascetti's background includes working at a string of network-owned shops: Her portfolio includes executive posts at Publicis's Saatchi & Saatchi Health, inVentiv's GSW Worldwide and William Douglas McAdams/ICC Lowe (IPG), and her roster of corporate accounts includes work for bold-faced names such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Astellas.
The duo's immediate mission is to bring members from all three New York-area offices to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, tomorrow and begin to cultivate the new brand. “New” Guidemark, like the constituent agencies, will continue to offer services like Convergent's medical education, and eCrossings Media's strategy, but with one vision and one culture.
Brown said bringing all three of Guidemark's disciplines under one name is not a cosmetic move, but a reflection of the change that has been flowing through the messaging continuum. As an example, he noted that medical-communications teams are having conversations that “are not separate” from the ones marketers are having when they launch projects and create content.
The firm has already appointed a culture committee charged with thinking “about the agency as a whole,” which means identifying and implementing things that “we will do in every office that will continue to tie us together.”
Fascetti, whose first official day was Monday, but whose appointment was announced today, has been spending her first week preparing for the branding kickoff as well as tackling the usual getting-to-know-you duties.
In this case, Fascetti said the conversations with the creative staff and leadership are as much about current strengths as they are about discussing goals and asking, “could they evolve into another role?”
Brown and Fascetti's previous partnership at GSW has been a career-long reference point for both. The project that brought their styles together over a decade ago was a hormone growth deficiency game that was designed to teach kids about their condition and how to manage it.
“At the time it was pretty cutting edge for the industry,” Brown said, noting that “new” at the time also meant format — the game came on a CD. “It really pushed the envelope. It was innovative. It was cool. It was new.”
It was also an opportunity for the duo to learn that they were partners who were invested in doing something different, even when it meant taking on risk. “You don't forget those opportunities. Where you both have the same philosophy and belief and passion” he said.
With a headcount of 120 and the expectation that this will jump to 150 by year's end, Brown said the group wants to continue to bring in big-agency talent, like Fascetti, and that big-agency talent wants to come to mid-sized firms because of the ability to connect with their clients and “have a direct impact on what we really want to do.”
He said this same migration of big-name talent will draw clients because these smaller firms “can provide the big idea you expect from a big agency” and deliver it “along with a more personal interaction.”
Even with all the newness, Brown says clients are not waiting for the agency's logo and color schemes to be finalized before testing things out. Brown said the goal was to kind of ease into things, and announce the one-Guidemark branding between the first or second quarter, “but we've already received a couple of RFPs from clients that we don't currently work with.” This is in addition to getting calls from current clients who want to hear about the new offering.