38 Greene St. New York, NY, 10013
212-920-2400 • [email protected] • bgbgroup.com
- Healthcare advertising: 50%
- Medical communications: 35%
- Strategic consulting: 10%
- Market access and payer marketing: 5%
In 2005, it seemed like a simple principle, according to agency founding partners Greg Passaretti and Brendon Phalen: Clients shouldn’t have to decide between a scientific or creative agency. With that basis established, BGB was born.
And on the nearly two decades since, Passaretti and Phalen state that BGB Group has proven that it’s not enough to master these disciplines individually, especially as the industry has evolved from the mega primary care blockbusters of the past to increasingly complex, astoundingly precise, scientific advances. “Creating impactful work requires a seamless integration of left brain and right brain infused throughout all agency offerings,” managers say.
“BGB hasn’t just kept pace in the face of market challenges over the past few years; it has thrived, with a diversified client portfolio, expanded capabilities, and influx of industry-leading talent,” executives say.
Managers believe at the heart of this success are the people. “Our people collectively share a belief in the power, and necessity, of science to transform brands,” Passaretti says. “We know that transformation requires identifying and nurturing the right mix of talent, experience, passion, and hard work.”
While poised for unprecedented growth, the key to ongoing success for BGB has been a continued focus on partnership and excellence, according to the leadership team. “First and foremost, we prioritize our current client business,” says Teresa Day, president. “That’s how we’ve been able to maintain long-term relationships and drive organic growth while adding new clients to the roster.” As the agency has grown to support expanding business, so has its commitment to communication, training, and development.
“Our hybrid culture continues to thrive,” says Kit Kempler, chief people officer. “We listen, share experiences, and exchange best practices on work topics, as well as on topics outside of work. At BGB, culture is a shared priority that starts from the top. Every single day since the beginning of the pandemic, Brendon Phalen has sent out a Leader’s Log: a newsletter that features content provided by our people.
“The title started as a way to show that our leadership team is dedicated to communication and transparency in an unprecedented crisis. The title has now taken on a deeper meaning; every single one of our BGBers is a leader in some way.”
Every employee, regardless of level, is shown the same dedication to onboarding with START Class, which executives state is a best-in-class, comprehensive agency, department, and skills training for every new employee. “BGB has paid special attention to ways employees can nurture their mental health,” managers say. “BGB has extended behavioral health benefits, featured guest speakers specializing in mental health, blocked mandatory ‘time-outs’ on calendars, and reimburses employees for opportunities to meditate, appreciate music, and exercise.”
“Creating room to think, for everyone, has to be a priority for employee happiness and to driving inspired work,” says Adam Siers, executive creative director. “A campaign that makes a difference in someone’s life is more than just the creative piece. We ensure a story works for the overall customer experience and is thoughtful and meaningful.
“We did this recently for patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that many people don’t know they have, but one that causes life-limiting symptoms and serious complications. We needed to give patients answers with a truly authentic voice – and authenticity means doing research, listening to their struggles, and expressing that in our campaign.
“We did that with our partners at Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the results have been amazing. The campaign has reached millions since its launch. That means transforming struggles into triumphs. This is the type of work we create time after time — we call it SMARTCreative. It’s insight driven, purpose-built, deeply informed, and ultimately drives results.”
Structure and services
Committed to staying ahead of client needs, managers say BGB continues to expand capabilities by supporting workstreams and an growing its leadership team. These include growing SCHEMA, a payer and market access capability, expanding digital innovation, and identifying new, early-asset partnership opportunities for SCIOD, a BGB scientific consultancy group.
In 2022, BGB recruited Fred Bennett as its first ever chief digital officer, to lead a growing digital department.
“With a very talented department to work with, Fred was brought on to build and scale the current digital efforts with a lens for not only what clients are looking for now, but what they’ll need in the future,” executives say. “Fred comes with a blend of both agency and client-side experience, offering a unique perspective to the business.”
“We’re a unique group because we bring unique individuals together,” says Art Chavez, BGB’s new chief of business integration. “The way that we integrate our medical, creative, and digital teams makes for truly unique output. In my new role, I am lucky enough to help guide how this integration takes shape, and know we have exceptional people in place to make our offerings even more valuable to the brands we represent.”
To help support client growth, and to further add to the strong leadership team, Lila Shah-Wright recently joined as executive VP, managing director, having come from executive roles at Omnicom agencies. “Lila has already begun to use her years of experience to make a strong impact on client business teams with managing director partners Susan Duffy and Julie Yoon,” executives say.
According to the leadership team, 2023 will be a year of expansion and innovation while staying true to BGB’s strengths. “We have all the capabilities of a full-service agency, but with consultancy-level expertise and attention to detail, supported by some of the best leadership in our industry,” Passaretti says.
Managers say a flexible structure allows BGB to best serve clients of all sizes, from those who run blockbuster brands to those commercializing their first asset.
“We continue to evolve because clients’ needs never stop evolving,” executives say. “This year BGB will explore new technologies, data insight opportunities, new partnerships, and, critically, will continue to bolster talent.”
As part of the expansion, BGB will build offerings from its London office, providing strategic and medical communications support to global clients.
BGB is dedicated to education and mentorship and spreading appreciation for the impact science and creativity have on the future. The agency supports STEM/STEAM career days for all levels of students from historically underrepresented communities.
“Our employees help determine where we focus our philanthropic efforts to support their passions,” Kempler says. “It never ceases to surprise me how our people are always looking to share their knowledge, foster curiosity, extend kindness, and inspire great things.”
Day adds, “We’re proud of our team that accomplishes great work for our clients while having such a positive impact on people’s lives. In that same spirit we will continue to seek new ways to positively impact our community. Our dedication to the future is what has and continues to drive BGB’s success.”