GCI Health (UK/WPP)
At only four years old, the London business of GCI Health, WPP’s only specialist healthcare agency, is in fine fettle. It grew to 19 employees in 2017, and revenue rose 60% to £2.5m, smashing targets and successfully competing for work with much bigger agencies in a year where a huge global talent shortage for healthcare comms professionals became evident.
The currently all-female agency has a formidable leadership team – joint MDs Kath Kerry and Rikki Jones, client services director Hannah Morris, director Claire Martin and associate director Caroline Burtt – who are rightly proud of the progress they’ve made this year in navigating the business out of boutique territory and firmly on course to be a mid-size European healthcare agency. They’ve done this while maintaining a caring environment that encourages flexible working and treats everyone like a grown-up, leading to 96% staff retention.
The agency is always seeking inspiration from beyond the healthcare universe, and seems to have the balance right between not taking itself too seriously, and doing innovative work on products that have the potential to change lives. The team has spent time this year building relationships with other healthcare teams within the WPP network, which has led to three times more partnership work and more opportunities for being included in big integrated pitches.
The agency works across life sciences, market access communications, consumer health and strategic consulting. Client retention for the year stood at 89%, with stand-out work such as building Merck KGaA’s name in oncology R&D, breaking new ground for the pharma company’s social engagement, and making a significant media impact for Pfizer’s autoimmune disease biosimilar drug Inflectra. — MPS