ELITE Transformational Leader David Nakamura of Natrel

David Nakamura




Differentiating Brands—Differently

Natrel’s expertise lies in “differentiating, differently”—but that could apply to its founder David Nakamura as well. In Natrel’s case, it has to do with a system developed under David’s lead for differentiating client brands. This system goes beyond regulated product claims and messaging alone, appealing directly to the emotions and intellect. David also has a way of making himself stand out from the competition that goes beyond results alone—he is able to achieve a level of trust among his clients that is unmatched.

As Shawn Fatholahi, former Vice President, Impax Pharma, tells it, he first met David 15 years ago shortly after joining Muro Pharmaceutical as Head of Marketing. After a comprehensive agency review, he selected Natrel as Muro’s agency of record because of David’s “demonstrated strategic thinking, purposeful creative and tactical execution prowess.” But it was David’s ability to serve as a true business partner that really sold Fatholahi on him—and Fatholahi hasn’t looked back since.

“My experience with David and Natrel was so rewarding that as I moved along in my career, first to Cephalon (now part of Teva) and then to Impax, I made sure that David and his team were soon working alongside my marketing teams,” Fatholahi explains. “When I think about why it has been so important to me that David—and Natrel—join forces with my staff, the word that comes to mind is ‘trust.’ While there may be many in the industry who can functionally espouse competence, very few have the personal integrity, professionalism and ethical standards along with the necessary business acumen to succeed at every level.”

And under David’s leadership, Natrel has certainly succeeded. In 2014, the agency landed nine major account wins, doubled the size of its staff and space and hit triple-digit financial growth in the fourth quarter. After 16 years in the industry, Natrel recently repositioned itself to focus on the agency’s ability to differentiate differently. Based on its success and unique approach to branding, Natrel is now known as one of the most dynamic agencies working in healthcare. And David continues to be known as one of the industry’s most trustworthy leaders.


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