Fewer new drug approvals, the political spotlight on the pharmaceutical industry, promotional budget cutbacks. What else can go wrong in the healthcare communications industry? Pitted against their more endowed competitors, small agencies may be well-suited to survive in today’s adverse environment. They don’t carry huge overhead, are managed by seasoned managers, and are unencumbered by holding company mandates. Still, these agencies face specific barriers as they try to establish their voice and identity.
Awareness — Who are you?
Name recognition is one of the biggest obstacles facing the small agency. Available resources for self-promotion are usually limited; however, anonymity is not inevitable. First, to show the world they can create powerful brands, small agencies need to be branded themselves. The brand should be embedded in everything the agency does, internally and externally. This way, clients know what to expect from the agency.
Legitimacy — What have you done lately?
The question really is, “What have the people who will be working on my account done?” Any agency can come in like the Chicago Bulls and talk of their many past wins. But what good is that if they set a client up with an unseasoned team like the post-Jordan Bulls? When hiring an agency, no matter what the size, a client is hiring about 7 to 10 people. The client should know who those people are and what they’ve done. If they’re good, it’s not important how…
Expert on this topic
Rico Viray is a partner at The CementWorks, a full-service independent healthcare advertising agency located in New York.