Global Healthcare PR Agencies of the Year | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations

2016 Global Healthcare PR Agencies of the Year

The 2017 Global PR Agencies of the Year are the result of an exhaustive research process involving more than 400 submissions and face-to-face meetings with the best PR firms across North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.

Analysis of all of the Winners and Finalists across specialist categories can be accessed via the navigation menu to the right or below. Winners were announced at the 2017 Global SABRE Awards, which took place at the PRovoke17 Global PR Summit in Miami on the evening of 25 October.

Winner: Pegasus (UK/UDG)

With the traditional Rx pharmaceutical business going through a difficult period—relatively few new blockbuster drugs, and a challenging regulatory environment—healthcare PR firms are being forced to look for new avenues of growth, and those looking to the consumer health space have found at least a couple of established competitors taking the lead. Pegasus, based on the south coast of England and focused on “inspiring healthy decisions,” must be the most eye-catching of these, growing 39% in 2015 to almost £9m in fee income. A team of 100 (up 30%) in Brighton now works across a broad range of services, including digital, social and creative, helping the firm net new business last year from Daiichi Sankyo, Denplan, DuPont, Elanco, GR Lanes, LloydsPharmacy and PAGB. Existing accounts include Thornton & Ross, Holland & Barrett, Godrej Group, LF Beauty, Danone, Novo Nordisk and Bayer (OTC & Animal Health) — helping to demonstrate how Pegasus has grown as health has become central to conversations across a range of sectors, including technology and food.

Recognising those shifts, Pegasus has invested in both specialising its sector skills and broadening its relevance to clients in adjacent sectors, via more thought leadership and focused hiring plans. All of which is underpinned by an outstanding workplace culture — turnover is just 6% and there are numerous initiatives in place to improve learning and development. It was hardly surprising, therefore, when UDG subsidiary Ashfield Healthcare Communications acquired Pegasus earlier this year in an eye-catching deal. — AS


Finalists

FleishmanHillard (Global/Omnicom)

FleishmanHillard has always possessed an excellent healthcare practice across its North American and European offices, but this year it was the firm's Asia-Pacific operations that stepped to the forefront, having grown by better than 50% over the past three years.

The ageing population in many Asian markets has led to a renewed focus on healthcare public relations among many of the major multinational agencies operating in the region, but there is nothing new about FleishmanHillard’s emphasis on the sector, which has been a key component of its regional business since it expanded into Asia more than 20 years ago. Its capabilities have expanded from pharmaceutical marketing to include market access, regulatory and legislative issues, clinical trial work, and technical medical communications across the full lifecycle of products from drugs to devices.

The firm has strong healthcare teams in Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Mumbai, New Delhi, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, and also collaborates with other Omnicom-owned healthcare-focused agencies to deliver and even broader array of services across even more markets. More and more of that work involves engaging directly with consumers, as the look for information themselves rather than blindly following “doctor’s orders,” leading to increased demand for digital and social content.

Fleishman now has more than 40 experts across the region, while clients include Abbott CEVHAP (The Coalition to Eradicate Viral Hepatitis in Asia Pacific), GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, Novartis, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Philips, and the World Health Organisation, while new business came from Ayumi Pharmaceutical, Bayer, Becton Dickinson, and Ferring Pharmaceuticals. — PH 

ReviveHealth (US/Weber Shandwick)

The fact that Weber Shandwick made ReviveHealth its first US acquisition in 15 years is a testament to several things: the firm’s unique positioning as a leader in health technology, health systems and health services, at a time when healthcare practices are diversifying beyond pharma; the firm’s impressive growth, from zero to $10 million in six short years; and the firm’s strong culture—a multiple winner of this publication’s Best Agency to Work For title and a good match for its new parent company’s own empowered workplace.

The acquisition came at the end of another impressive year for ReviveHealth, during which revenues grew by 14% and the firm expanded its client list, which is split evenly between providers and technology/services companies, including big names such as Arcadia Healthcare Solutions, athenahealth, Cleveland Clinic, Hospital Corporation of America, Trinity Health, Connecture, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and Tenet Health. The firm also expanded its digital capabilities: 30 percent of its revenues now derive from web design, UX, video production, advertising, and other digital services, up from zero a couple of years ago. — PH

Spectrum (US/Independent)

Spectrum has remarkably navigated a series of changes initiated in 2014 — a restructuring from  a cross-functional model to one with distinct practice areas and a leadership change as founder John Seng began a transition to being emeritus, meanwhile while Jonathan Wilson ascended as president.

Even so, the 20-year-old firm emerged with revenues up 56% to nearly $15m in 2015 with 65 employees across its offices in Washington DC, New York (opened in 2015) and Atlanta (opened in 2015). New clients AbbVie, Tesaro, Zafgen and Genocea join an existing roster with Astellas, Covidien/Medtronic, Roche Diagnostics,  St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Acura Pharmaceuticals, among others.

The firm points to its “One Spectrum” ideology for its enduring success. For instance, Spectrum operates as one firm across all offices, sharing teams and resources, with a single P&L. It also looks to have expertise across the divergent worlds of trendy, consumer brands and high science pharmaceutical products, bringing a unique mix of scientific rigor and contemporary smarts to its work. — AaS

Togo Run (Global/Omnicom)

Since its launch in 2012—emerging from the ashes of CPR Worldwide, previously acquired by FleishmanHillard—Omnicom’s TogoRun has quietly and confidently emerged as one of the best of a new generation of healthcare specialist firms. With two major clients at start-up—Lilly and Philips—CEO Gloria Janata quickly recognized the need to diversify, and over the past three years the firm has added about 30 clients: 2015 saw the addition of Accumen (a blood management consulting agency), CareCentrix (paid and earned media), the Digestive Health Physicians Association, Flexion (executive visibility, positioning and influencer outreach), the Italian Trade Commission (introducing healthcare startups to the US market), Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Merck (CSR), the National Hemophilia Foundation and the Obesity Society.

Those clients join a roster that includes the original two, Allergan, Bayer, Novo Nordisk, Valeant and more, and showcase the broadening of the firm’s capabilities—corporate reputation, CSR, executive leadership, as well as public affairs through an expanding Washington, DC, office. They also helped the firm to 16% growth in 2015, ending the year with fee income of around $14 million. Meanwhile the firm—named for the 1925 Nome Serum Run, when a dog called Togo helped head off a diphtheria epidemic—continues to focus on its work environment and talent, with impressive inter-office cooperation and a culture of volunteerism. — PH