Over the past 10 years, Ashfield, part of UDG Healthcare plc, has acquired 22 business in order to bolster its integrated healthcare services across strategic consulting, benchmarking, commercialization, customer engagement, events, marketing, and communications. Now, to help clients get a clearer picture of everything the company offers, Ashfield has announced a rebrand and the formation of three business units: Ashfield Advisory, Ashfield Engage, and Ashfield Health.
“For this new brand architecture, we put a very pure value proposition together to help healthcare organizations navigate the complexity that they face within the healthcare system and to make a clearer path to reimagine health and improve patient’s lives,” Ryan Quigley, Chief Operating Officer of Ashfield and UDG Healthcare plc, told PM360 in an interview. “This also allows us tell a simpler and stronger story for our clients about the capabilities we bring to the market and the three pillars of imagination, strategy, and action that drive the solutions we develop for our clients.”
What Is Ashfield Health?
Ashfield Health, which was formerly known as Ashfield Healthcare Communications, is global health communications network incorporating more than 1,450 people across four countries (United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Belgium). The network will now be led by Amar Urhekar as Global President, who joined Ashfield informally at the beginning of last year and since then has helped put a new strategy in place for the network while leading it through the challenges of COVID-19. Urhekar previously spent 19 years at McCann Health where he most recently served as President of the Americas.
In addition to the rebranding as Ashfield Health, the network is also launching two new global agencies: Mind+Matter and Ashfield MedComms.
Mind+Matter is a being formed through the merging of U.S.-based Cambridge BioMarketing, UK-based Ashfield Digital and Creative, and Pegasus. With 250 employees, Mind+Matter will blend data and technology with emotion to create meaningful experiences across the breadth of healthcare from consumer wellness through to established pharma and rare and novel therapies. The agency will be led by former President of Cambridge BioMarketing, Ben Beckley.
Ashfield MedComms is being formed through the combination of 14 agencies, including ACUMED, Ashfield Healthcare Communications US, CircleScience, Cirrus Communications, FireKite, Gardiner-Caldwell Communications, GeoMed, iMED Communications, Physicans World Europe, Seren Communications, QXV, Watermeadow Medical, Zoetic Science, and Ashfield’s Insights and Strategic Healthcare Research Group. Ultimately, this brings together more than 700 creatives, scientists, strategists, and client partners to form one of the largest scientific and medical communications agencies in the world. The agency will be headed up by regional Ashfield Health Presidents Richard Lawrence (International) and Matt Jacobson (North America), who will both report to Urhekar.
Besides the two newly formed global agencies, Ashfield Health also still includes the agencies Canale Comms, CreateNYC, Galliard, Incisive Health, and MicroMass, all of which will remain unchanged, except for being united by a new brand identity and shared purpose to make it matter.
“Ashfield Health is now designed to respond better and quicker to the new challenges our clients face,” Urhekar said in a press release. “We encourage independence and entrepreneurialism in our specialist agency teams but also have the unique ability to work as one team when needed. By unifying around our common purpose of make it matter, we have stronger connections that enable us to scale rapidly and provide our clients with tailored expert teams. We can truly deliver life-changing work that matters.”
What Is Ashfield Engage?
Ashfield Commercial and Patient Solutions is being rebranded as Ashfield Engage, which will offer strategic engagement capabilities across five specialist areas: Commercial, Patient Solutions, Medical Affairs, Market Access, and Event Experiences.
Now a single engagement and commercialization partner, Ashfield Engage will help clients stay ahead of the surging demand for remote strategies and the impact of COVID-19 on behaviors and engage with patients, HCPs, and payers whether virtually or in-person. The unit comprises 5,000 employees around the globe and will be led by Greg Flynn, Global President, Ashfield Engage.
“One of the benefits of working with Ashfield Engage is that we draw on diverse expertise from different specialist areas, connecting patients, HCPs, and payers with knowledge, support, and medicines,” Flynn said in a press release. “We execute sophisticated, omnichannel strategies that increase awareness and engagement, bring products to market faster and more effectively, maximize sales performance and ROI, and support long-term patient adherence.”
Additionally, within Engage, Ashfield’s Meetings and Events service offering is being renamed to Event Experiences, which reflects the changing times and the ability to help serve clients’ needs no matter the setting, whether is it remote/virtual, face-to-face, or a hybrid setting.
What Is Ashfield Advisory?
Unlike the other two business units, Ashfield Advisory is not undergoing a name change as it will remain as a curated ecosystem of healthcare advisory and consulting businesses with a targeted focus on accelerating business performance. This ecosystem is made up of Vynamic, Putnam Associates, STEM Healthcare, and SmartAnalyst. Moving forward, the one change that these companies will see is a slight redesign of their logos that adds a small call out making it clear they are Ashfield companies.
Like the other business units, Ashfield Advisory will be all about collaboration among the consultancies so that clients can benefit from the expertise of each company, no matter which one they work with. This will more formally be called the Advisory Ecosystem Model. Under this model, clients will be able to better leverage the four distinct offerings of each company. For example, STEM Healthcare focuses on brand management and commercial strategy; Vynamic is a management consulting firm focused on organizational change prioritizing culture; SmartAnalyst provides strategic consulting with a focus on science and data; and Putnam Associates is a strategic consulting firm focused on market access and commercial strategy.
Additionally, today Ashfield Advisory announced the acquisition of PHMR Limited, a Market Access Consultancy and specialist in Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR). Within Ashfield Advisory, PHMR will join forces with Putnam Associates, which will strengthen Putnam’s global value, pricing, and access practice area by adding complementary HEOR and research science expertise, as well as expanding the company’s reach in Europe and Japan.
Colin Stanley, who will serve as Global President of the business unit, said in a statement: “Our Advisory Ecosystem model allows customers to work through the existing relationships they have with our businesses, but still access our broader service capabilities. We work on providing them a connected, data-driven, insightful, and actionable solution, they get access to the best consultants in the best boutique firms.”
What Is Next?
Across all of this reorganization, there were no layoffs made for any of the business units. “There has been no optimization and that wasn’t part of the strategy behind this,” Quigley explains. “This was about taking the sum of the parts, making them stronger, and being able to connect the services in a way that we can drive better outcomes.”
Quigley adds that they were able to successfully undergo this transition during COVID and in a virtual environment by uniting employees across the entire company around a common purpose, which is: “We’re leaders, we’re partners, we’re changemakers, and market shapers. We strive to reimagine health and improve lives. We pursue every possibility with ingenuity and courage. We never stand by. We never give up because everything we do is a matter of life.”
“People have really rallied around that purpose and we got strong buy-in from the people in our organization,” Quigley says. “It is something also really helps the teams get out there and deliver the best for the clients, the healthcare professionals, and their patients.”
When it comes to adding the organization as a whole, and possibly making more business acquisitions in 2021, Quigley says Ashfield will always be a company that explores those opportunities.
“We always look to see what our clients need and look at the market today,” Quigley explains. “Right now, clients tell us they’re moving into more virtual and remote type settings, so we have worked to evolve our own services in those areas. But we’re also interested in complementing those services with more expertise in areas like data analytics and omni-channel. The other thing you continue to see is very strong approval from the FDA and in the world of pharma, market access is king. So the more we can further build out in areas like market access can really help us into the future. Plus, we’re always open to add depth into the areas where we are already strong, such as our strategic consulting, customer engagements, events, and marketing communication teams.”