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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

PALIO, GSW merge under GSW brand

Written by: | | Dated: Friday, February 16th, 2018

The rebranding of INC Research/inVentiv Health to Syneos Health in the beginning of 2018 was just the first of more changes within the company. In the rebranded company’s Syneos Health Communications subsidiary, the healthcare communication agencies GSW and PALIO have been combined under the GSW brand name.

The two agencies have collectively worked on more than 75 global brand launches, including 12 blockbuster launches across 12 different therapeutic categories. Their client rosters include large biopharma and med tech organizations tapping specialized services, and emerging companies who require a full suite of strategic, creative and digital solutions.

Sonja Foster-Storch, who joined GSW in August 2017 and was named president of the agency, remains president of GSW North America, providing strategic direction to help teams create brand experiences that drive results for GSW’s domestic and global healthcare customer portfolio.

“Unprecedented changes in the healthcare market require constant evolution to continuously bring customers unparalleled strategic and creative solutions,” Foster-Storch says.

“Bringing together PALIO and GSW under one brand creates an advertising powerhouse, fueled by incredible talent, insights and the resources required to meet our customers’ dynamic needs.”

Kim Johnson, president of PALIO since 2014, assumes leadership of the combined operations as president, GSW New York and Santa Monica. In New York, the collective 150 employees will be co-located with Syneos Health clinical and commercial colleagues in offices in the heart of the city’s Meatpacking District. Other North American GSW offices will remain under the leadership of Dan Smith in Columbus, Ohio; Jon Nelson in Newtown, Pa.; and Mark Jazvac in Canada.

Michael Austin is serving as managing director, Creative and Technology, GSW and is partnering with Nick Capanear, executive creative director, GSW New York.

“Michael Austin and Nick Capanear, and the deep talent roster and resources within our communications network, will continue to inspire creative solutions for customers that help bring life-changing products to the healthcare market,” Johnson says. “We are excited about this combination and what we’ll be able to accomplish together as we look to define the future of healthcare advertising.”

GSW was founded in 1977. PALIO, which was founded in 1999 in Saratoga Spring, N.Y., shifted operations in 2015 to New York City and Santa Monica to be closer to clients, talent, and other Syneos Health operations. According to agency executives, this move resulted in more than 25 percent growth for the agency in 2017.

The expanded GSW agency is part of Syneos Health Communications, which includes advertising brands such as Navicor and public relations brands such as Chandler Chicco Agency. Syneos Health bills itself as the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization, and includes a contract research organization and a contract commercial organization.





Med Ad News: What factors contributed to the decision to unite GSW and PALIO under a singular brand?

The evolution was really driven by client needs. Unprecedented changes in the healthcare market are requiring agency evolution in order to continuously bring clients unparalleled strategic and creative services. We decided to unite the agencies under a singular brand to ensure we can effectively meet those dynamic needs of our clients.

Med Ad News: How will the new organizational structure and realigned management of the combined agencies provide more value to clients than the previous stand-alone businesses?

We see a lot of possibilities in our combined agencies. Three main areas where we expect to be able to provide more value:
• More robust capabilities
• Valuable access to talent and increased scale for our NYC operations to drive better results for customers
• Expansion of our West Coast operations and increased focus on biopharma and medtech clients


Med Ad News: How does this move align with the recent brand-identity change for Syneos Health?

Syneos Health is the only company that brings together both clinical and commercial solutions. Although we’ve changed our name, the end-to-end solutions we offer to customers have not changed. Those solutions include best-in class advertising and communications solutions provided through a portfolio of brands designed to meet customer needs.


Med Ad News: What are the expectations/priorities for GSW in 2018 and beyond?

Being built to respond to the changing needs of the marketplace give us the opportunity to do even more collaborative, incremental work across communications disciplines to arrive at the best solutions for our customers. It’s also exciting for all our great talent who will be exposed to new people and approaches.

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