2018 North America Midsize PR Agencies of the Year

The Holmes Report


GCI Health (WPP)

Still only 10 years old, GCI Health has established itself not only as one of the best healthcare PR firms in the US — it won Healthcare Agency of the Year last year — but one of the best midsize agencies of any kind. Another year of 25% revenue growth brings the firm close to the $50 million mark, and GCI now has a team of 160 people globally—more than 140 of those in the North American market. New business came from Abbott’s nutrition and diabetes care divisions, Bristol Myers Squibb, and a number of new Pfizer brands — GCI now works for eight of the top 10 global pharma companies — and smaller passion projects like Cohen Veterans Bioscience, which is helping veterans address PTSD.

At the heart of the agency’s success is the patient-centric approach it developed three years ago, which uses both traditional research and its own immersion in client communities to understand consumers’ whole lives, not just their conditions or treatments. That has led to some innovative work in the sector, whether it’s a corporate storytelling campaign for Pfizer humanizing its CSR work fighting neglected tropical diseases; an influencer-driven strategy for device-maker Abbott and its Freestyle Libre diabetes technology; an unusual media partnership with IHeartRadio to encourage patients to “tune into AFib” for BMS/Pfizer. The firm also has its own media partnership — with Redbook — promoting women’s health.

As should be evident from all that, GCI Health is a very “mission-driven” company — something that global CEO Wendy Lund and president of North America Kristin Cahill have continuously encouraged — resulting in one of the lowest employee turnover rates in the industry and regular appearances on our Best Agencies to Work For lists, voted on by employees. — PH

GCI Health forged a partnership with Hearst women’s title Redbook and online health information source HealthyWomen.org. The HealthiHER Project is an attempt to better understand the health habits of women 30-60 years of age. As a first step in the project, there will be a survey of women in that demographic, addressing their healthcare decisions and needs. The goal of the research is to give these women the information and inspiration they need to make healthier choices. “We’re excited to be working with Redbook and HealthyWomen to uncover some key insights that will help us better communicate with this important population,” said GCI Health CEO Wendy Lund.

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