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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry
Natrel Communications Inc.
119 Cherry Hill Rd.
Parsippany, NJ 07054
Account wins 7
Accounts resigned 1
Active business clients 12
Brands by 2015 sales
Brand-product accounts held 28
$25 million or less 10
$25 million to $50 million 6
$50 million to $100 million 1
$100 million to $500 million 4
$500 million to $1 billion 1
$1 billion or more 2
Products not yet approved/launched 4
Convention & Meeting 10%
Relationship Marketing 5%
Executives say 2015 was a year of expansion and recognition for Natrel Communications, marking more steps toward the transformation of the agency into a major player in the New Jersey pharma corridor while retaining its independent structure and spirit.
After more than doubling in headcount in 2014, Natrel took the next step by nearly doubling its revenue in 2015. According to agency leaders, this was accomplished with key catalysts for growth, such as reconstructing a new cutting-edge workspace and making tactical new hires to expand its medical, strategy, and technology capabilities.
Explaining his overall strategy for transforming Natrel, founder David Nakamura says, “To continue helping brands stand out with a path to differentiation, we need to continue differentiating ourselves as an agency. This has resulted in revenue growth that lived up to expectations.”
The year’s accomplishments
Nicole Hyland, chief marketing officer, says the key to Natrel’s winning strategy is its ability to tap into the emotional side of brands by fostering a “culture of curiosity” in the company. “We delve into what lies beyond the traditional positioning and messaging to uncover the unique personality behind our clients’ brands,” Hyland says. “We continue to utilize Persona ID, our brand personality development model that helps client brands clearly stand out within their competitive space.”
Nakamura says Persona ID is part of a broader strategy called Bilateral Branding, which was named by PM360 as one of 2015’s most innovative strategies. Executives say Bilateral Branding contributed to more global account wins in 2015, including the blockbuster Pradaxa for Boehringer Ingelheim.
According to agency leaders, global business grew to represent more than 32 percent of Natrel’s total revenue by the end of 2015. In addition, the agency broadened its role as global agency of record for Eylea from Bayer. The agency also built revenue on existing accounts, including BreathTek for Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Nascobal from Strativa Pharmaceutical, and Kerydin from PharmaDerm.
Executives say in the Natrel tradition of developing differentiating creative work, the agency was recognized with several industry honors, including agency of the year nominations for the 2015 Manny Awards and Medical Marketing & Media. Additionally Nakamura was named an Elite Transformational Leader last May by PM360, which summed up his recognition as follows, “Based on its success and unique approach to branding, Natrel is now one of the most dynamic agencies in healthcare.” And Hyland was recognized as one of the 100 most-inspiring people in 2015 PharmaVoice.
Structure and services
In 2015, according to executives, Natrel was busy fulfilling the first initiative of Nakamura’s vision for growth – adding top-notch, management-level talent to expand the agency’s depth and breadth of capabilities.
“The first step to facilitate this growth was leveraging the role of technology to optimize the productivity of agency staff,” executives say.
Sophy Regelous, chief technology and operations officer, led the drive to roll out an agency-wide integration of a truly efficient digital workflow system. “Projects are managed and routed 100 percent digitally so our team members can be productive wherever they happen to be traveling or working at the time,” Regelous says. Executives claim this initiative has helped boost efficiencies and project profitability to enable the agency to focus on more expansion opportunities.
Another key area that fueled Natrel’s drive for transformation is establishing a new medical and scientific strategy department, which includes Dr. Joel Jacob, M.D., VP, medical and scientific strategist. Hyland says, “Joel is a game-changing addition to our team. His experience as a clinician, researcher, and medical communications professional makes him an asset few agencies can match. Our priority is to define, articulate, and deliver clinical value, which is science optimized, to deliver meaning and relevance to further differentiate our clients’ brands.”
As 2015 progressed, executives say Natrel looked to stay ahead of the evolution of pharma by exploring advanced innovations in technology. According to Regelous, in the future, “Natrel will bring together our human science, UX, and digital leaders to build out a line of next-generation health products to better service health care customers.”
One area of focus will be exploring the impact of patient monitoring devices and health-to-home technologies that expand the limits of patient care. Technical Director Carlos Fernandez says, “With Bluetooth-enabled patient monitoring devices, in conjunction with mobile smart devices, we can help manage patients’ quality of life before, during, and after treatment – so they can leave their hospital beds faster and get back to their lives.”
Executives say with proven technology leadership and a desire to embrace new innovations, Natrel now has expanded capabilities to serve the needs of health care companies in the United States, and around the world.
Agency leaders say Natrel continues to foster a strong culture of corporate and individual philanthropy. The agency is a long-time supporter of the P.G. Chambers School for children with learning disorders, along with organizations such as the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, and Meals on Wheels. Employees also volunteer for the Morristown Market Street Mission, Paterson Men’s Homeless Shelter, Essex Valley School for Troubled Children, and Contact We Care free counseling hotline. Other organizations supported by Natrel staffers include the North Shore Animal League America, Fighting Children’s Cancer Foundation, and Boxes of Love, a nonprofit that supports poor children worldwide. And the agency helped America’s Grow-A-Row rescue 4,000 pounds of apples to ease the food challenges of the less fortunate.
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