It takes considerable courage to launch a new business during an economic downturn, but tough times often present an opportunity, particularly for firms that offer a genuine alternative to larger, more established agencies. That’s one reason to believe that Revive—our New Agency of the Year for 2009—is likely to survive and thrive. Another is the track record of its principals, led by Brandon Edwards, who established and grew a successful healthcare practice at public affairs firm Davies before striking out on his own in the third quarter of last year.
With a focus on health service and healthy living—two sectors expected to deliver considerable growth over the next few years—the firm knows its strengths, and more importantly has zero interest in work that does not play to those strengths. From its Santa Barbara headquarters, Revive has the ability to manage national programs on behalf of hospitals, health systems, and health care providers, and is developing a complementary capability at the nexus of health and wellness, disease management, prevention, nutrition and fitness, helping clients targeting the space build market share, introduce new concepts, and ultimately enable better and healthier lives. In both areas, this new player has the credentials to compete with big full-service agencies and established specialists.
The firm has grown quickly to a staff of about 10, and fee income for 2009—the four months during which the firm was in business—was close to $900,000, with a run rate of close to $3 million. While the firm works with clients involved in sensitive, high-stakes or controversial issues, and does not discuss specific assignments, it is known to work with Piedmont Healthcare, Norton Healthcare, Providence Health, Hartford Healthcare, Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Tenet Healthcare, and Hawaii Pacific Health.
“We have worked with the team at Revive on a number of ‘life events’ for our organization,” says Nina Day, vice president, marketing and public relations, at Piedmont Healthcare. “No matter how complex the healthcare topic or business challenge, I can count on Revive to ‘get it’ and put together a great and effective communications campaign.” Adds Mitchell Yarbrough of Jupiter Medical Center: “The value and industry expertise Revive provides is unprecedented. It’s rare to find a PR firm that has the combination of deep strategic experience, exceptional execution, and personal touch. They truly take the time to listen and understand.  Our organization was facing a complex, high stakes issue and we were able to achieve our goal due in large part to Revive being on our team.”
Revive’s relationship with Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System has been among the most interesting assignments of the year, covering the system’s overall reputation, advocacy for a regional plan for health reform—establishing the system as a thought leader on the issue—and a series of important ”life events” for the organization: managed care contract issues, workforce issues, and a multi-year effort to create a new public/private collaboration between FMOLHS and Louisiana State University to transfer graduate medical education from a regional charity hospital to the system’s flagship hospital.