Communications Strategies’ approach to public relations is grounded in a proprietary approach it calls ChangeMatrix, a multi-phased process that helps the agency develop programming that “changes the landscape,” shaping and redefining markets, shifting the mindsets of consumers and other stakeholders, changing public policy and professional practice, or up-ending a stagnant status quo; and in it’s WomanSmart approach to targeting female healthcare consumers. It’s no coincidence that two of the firm’s biggest successes of 2004 included programs for women’s health products: a project that cut through the political controversy to position Plan B Emergency Contraception for Barr Laboratories; and its continued support of Seasonale, drawing thousands of target audience women to events, gaining influential, high profile press coverage more than one year after the product’s launch.
Agency founder and president Donna Pepe learned her craft as vice president of public affairs at Johnson & Johnson, where she built the in-house marketing communications function and was responsible for corporate and employee communications, as well as community relations, crisis communications, advocacy development and marketing support. She is supported by Susan Patton, group vice president of client services, who leads the agency’s Barr Laboratories business, including Seasonale and Plan B; Eileen Murray, senior counselor and former principal at Davies & Murray, who joined in late 04; and Patricia Garrison, senior vice president of editorial and media services.
The firm ranks just outside the top 10 healthcare specialists in the U.S., and enjoyed moderate growth in 2004, with new business including the Connetics Corporation dermatology franchise (five brands) and Sanofi-Aventis, for an internal franchise branding program. It also took on an initiative for King Pharmaceuticals and grew its business with Barr, gaining the Plan B account and continuing its post-launch Seasonale campaign and corporate branding initiatives.
In addition to its healthcare (consumer, OTC and Rx) expertise, the firm has experience in the beauty market and corporate branding and has a relatively new medical education unit, CSI Medical Education.