Harrison and Star 2015
Harrison and Star
75 Varick Street
New York, NY 10013
In the contemporary market, customer connectedness is everything. And, Harrison and Star knows how to create enduring relationships between brands and customers. Whether it’s an accelerated launch for a rare disease, an integrated patient/physician CRM program for a chronic disorder, or a DTC Super Bowl commercial for a common condition, executives say it’s all about connectivity, for every customer, across every brand, each and every day.
Co-presidents Mardene Miller and Mario Muredda attribute their ability to build game-changing brands for health-care professionals and patients to the company’s unique approach to creating impactful brand experiences. “We leverage a combination of science, data, emotion, and a deep understanding of the customer, then pull it through relevant channels to deliver a truly meaningful experience,” Miller says.
“Creating a connection – that’s also how we cement enduring partnerships between the agency and our clients,” Muredda adds, “be they new or existing ones.”
In addition to maintaining long-standing partnerships with Bayer, Genentech, Novartis, and Teva, during the past year the agency won several new accounts from BTG, Daiichi Sankyo, Eisai, Genentech, Lexicon, and Merck.
“We’re hard-wired for success across all categories,” comments Ty Curran, chairman and CEO. “Our biggest differentiator is our people. We demonstrate this every day in our commitment to attracting as well as training and mentoring the best talent in the industry.”
This year, Harrison and Star has enhanced its creative and strategic offerings by securing new talent – all of whom bring exciting and innovative perspectives to the top roles. Curran says, “The leaders we’ve put in place are driving our clients’ brands – and their business – forward.”
As the leading oncology agency in the industry, Harrison and Star draws top talent to work on the most innovative oncology products. “Essential to our growth is our ability to continue to attract and groom the best and brightest high-science innovators, and it shows in our work and our clients’ success,” Muredda says. The addition of Marina Jean, M.D., as managing director, overseeing all of the agency’s oncology and institutional brands, is the most recent example of the application of this philosophy.
Strategic offerings have new leadership under Terese Kung, executive director, strategy and innovation. Harrison and Star strives to be a provocateur in the strategic conversation. The agency’s goal is to identify the most appropriate solutions for clients’ brands by seeking inspiration from within and outside of healthcare. As Kung says, “Strategy is a mindset that is woven through every employee’s DNA. We screen candidates for it in every function, train to further develop it, and make it central to what we do every day.”
Mark Friedman, chief creative officer, has similarly infused the creative department with a jolt of new energy and the promise of a differentiating ideation process. “Truly great ideas are in short supply today,” Friedman comments. “I want to foster an environment where we bring sticky ideas of all sizes and stripes to our clients to help excite their customers and move minds.”
Executives say Harrison and Star’s commitment to innovating the brand experience on behalf of clients has yielded more than 40 new apps, 65 websites, and over 1,000 releases this year alone.
The year’s accomplishments
As brand stewards for some of the most exciting categories and products in the pharmaceutical space, Harrison and Star has guided its clients through everything from launches to late life-cycle milestones during the last year. A key example is Harrison and Star’s long-standing partnership with Genentech on Avastin, which has helped shape the standard for customer-centric communication across multiple indications.
Increasingly, Harrison and Star is fulfilling needs for clients working in diseases with very high unmet needs, including most cancers and rare diseases, which are associated with accelerated regulatory review pathways. In the last year alone, Harrison and Star supported five new product/indication launches in oncology, four of them accelerated. And, 2015 is shaping up to have a similar trajectory.
This year, Harrison and Star expanded its offerings to include DTC commercial, print, and digital work. A key milestone was the launch of its first Super Bowl commercial.
As part its innovation pipeline, Harrison and Star developed several groundbreaking apps and experiences in 2014. These included an augmented-reality app for physicians that simulates the patient experience; and a novel interactive model of multiple sclerosis (MS) disease course that allows neurologists to plot disease activity utilizing a real-time simulation, or gaming, engine. In partnership with Teva and Next IT, Harrison and Star also helped to launch “Claire,” the first voice and keyboard-activated virtual health assistant in the MS category available on Web and mobile platforms.
“We have people who are born innovators. That’s what we look for in new talent, and that’s what we do for our clients – innovate,” Miller states. Because of that spirit, Harrison and Star continues to invest heavily in training and to foster an agency-wide culture of digital training and mentoring.
Structure and services offered
Harrison and Star is the top healthcare communications company in the Omnicom network. With headquarters in New York, it also has branch offices in London, Paris, and San Francisco. A key new addition to the global leadership team is creative director, Jon Watson, who brings over 20 years of advertising and communications experience in the global market.
Besides Curran, Miller, Muredda, Friedman, Kung and Dr. Jean, the leadership team includes Kirsten Kantak, global managing director, based in London; Charles Doomany, chief financial and operating officer; Robert Gemignani, director of human resources; and Bill Major, director of agency excellence.
Intensive in-house training in all aspects of digital creativity and strategy are ongoing, and so are Harrison and Star’s unique mentoring and manager training programs, which help people’s personal growth while advancing their careers at the agency. Harrison and Star’s highly specialized strategic and creative firepower, coupled with its leading technology offerings, poise the agency for continued growth and success in 2015.
In addition to a relatively new relationship with the Family Reach Foundation, the only charitable organization that raises and distributes funds to families who are under financial duress owing to the costs of cancer care for a family member, Harrison and Star continues to sponsor many charitable and planet-conscious initiatives. One of these is Caring Hands, a program that enables agency personnel to volunteer their time and efforts to help a wide range of charities and advocacy programs. The GHS initiative is an aggressive “green” program that has helped transform the business into one that is much more environmentally sensitive.
For many years, the agency has done pro bono promotional work for the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, an HIV social services organization in New Jersey, as well as additional fundraising for disease states that are directly related to the brands Harrison and Star and its clients are passionate about.
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February 2015 Focus: Agenda 2015, Top 10 Pipelines, SFE