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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

GA Communication Group 2014

Written by: | | Dated: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

One East Wacker Drive, 32nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: 312-803-1900
Facsimile: 312-803-1999

Quick Facts

Account wins 2
Active business clients 16
Brands by 2013 sales  
Brand-product accounts held 20
$25 million or less 2
$25 million – $50 million 4
$50 million – $100 million 6
$100 million – $500 million 4
$1 billion or more 1
Services Mix  
Direct to healthcare professionals 30%
Direct to patient communication and education 30%
Sales support materials in all media 20%
Strategy and content development 20%

Client List

Galena Biopharm
Illinois Biotechnology Industry
Mylan Institutional
Obagi Medical Products
Sakura Finetek U.S.A.
Shire Human Genetic Therapies
Shire Regenerative Medicine
Upsher-Smith Laboratories
Vidara Therapeutics

2013 was another strong year for the GA Communication Group. Built on a solid foundation of long-term clients and brands, last year was accentuated with the right mix of new opportunities and assignments to keep the agency growing at the pace GA management desires. While in business for over 30 years, the agency has doubled size in both revenue and staff in the last five years alone.

The Year’s Accomplishments

This steady year-after-year performance was highlighted yet again by Inc. magazine, which recognized GA for the fourth year in a row as one of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

“This is really a testament to the work we do here at GA,” said GA Communication Group CEO, Joe Kuchta. “The better the work, the more clients we attract, and the more talented people we can bring onboard. We’re extremely proud of the success we’ve found and we’re excited about the direction our agency is headed.”

Long-standing relationships with clients Upsher-Smith, Valeritas, Shire Human Genetics Therapies, Mylan Specialty, Obagi and BioMarin were evident in the GA base business in 2013. New relationships and growing assignments from clients Baxter, Galena Biopharma, Merz, Invictus Medical and Vidara Therapeutics rounded out the year.

“We’re proud of both the breadth and diversity of our clients’ businesses,” observes Mark Goble, GA COO. “And when you see that the work we do daily ranges from the rarest diseases and highly specialized therapies to robust social media campaigns for OTC skin care, it’s evident that we can create and deliver excellent work in any manner our clients need us to.”

Structure And Services

To support this growth, GA bolstered its senior management in 2013 by elevating senior members of the agency to the Executive Leadership level.

Long time GA employee and Chief Client Officer Nancy Finigan was named president of the agency. Nancy has been with GA since 1998, and in her new role, oversees the entirety of the agency’s client and creative teams and offerings.

“Nancy embodies the perfect attitude and approach for what GA is and will always be about: our clients,” comments Kuchta. “She’s been with us 15 years, and as we continue our considerable growth, her acceptance of this expanded role to influence every aspect of what we do and how we do it is a significant move for both our clients and our teams.”

Barclay Missen was named VP, Chief Creative Officer and is now responsible for the agency’s creative and content development efforts on all fronts. Prior to this promotion, he had been a GA Creative Director/UX since 2011, when he rejoined the agency after an initial 10-year stint that began in 1996.

Additionally, Steve Buecking was elevated to VP, Executive Producer. Buecking joined GA in 2012, and is charged with managing the agency’s staff of producers and project managers as well as steering the efficiency and effectiveness of each team’s efforts on behalf of GA’s clients.

“These moves are directly reflective of how our business runs today,” remarks Goble. “Every client team is composed of these three disciplines, so having Barclay and Steve join our senior level account VPs rounds out the management team to ensure we have trusted leaders in place to drive exactly how we think, create, and execute on every level.”

Future Plans

One of the most exciting developments for GA was announced at the end of 2013 – that it would become the founding member of an ambitious and pioneering independent agency network: sandbox, a global marketing and agency network aiming to fill a void in an industry dominated by large holding companies.

“For years we have explored all kinds of options and listened to offers from all kinds of people who were going to help us keep growing,” remarks Kuchta. “But rather than join or get swallowed up by a holding company, we decided we wanted to strategically do something completely different. sandbox is exactly that. And as a founding member, we have an opportunity to build the type of network tailor-made for us and our clients.”

sandbox will build its network with midsize marketing and advertising agencies worldwide. GA’s unique culture, focus on client service, and penchant for creating an environment that is a destination for top talent will form the fabric of this new entity.

“Part of being a pioneer is having the courage to get started,” Goble said. “That’s what we’re doing here. We know that this is the right evolution for GA and a strategic move that will benefit both our clients and the talent that has gotten us to this point. The structure of sandbox and its offerings will take shape over time and GA will have a direct role in that.”

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