FINN Partners, an independent marketing and communications agency, is expanding its global footprint even further with the addition of SPAG, a leading, Asia-headquartered, health-sector communications and marketing firm with offices in Bangalore, Delhi, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mumbai, the Philippines, and Singapore. SPAG, which serves global biopharma companies, health trade associations, and health provider systems, is also one of the most awarded agencies in the region having been named Global New PR Agency in 2015, Asia-Pacific Healthcare Agency of Year (2017 & 2019) at Sabre awards, and Large Agency of the Year in 2021 & 2022 by E4M (IPRCCA).
“Our businesses are linked and united and for an important reason: The U.S. is home to fewer than 5% and Asia holds 50% of the world’s population,” Peter Finn, CEO and founding managing partner of FINN Partners, told PM360. “But the need for health innovation to sustain life transcends region and regulatory systems. More and more life sciences innovators are looking toward Asia for growth, and companies headquartered in Asia are marshalling talent and financial resources to invent. FINN is now a powerhouse in these essential health markets—driving innovation and providing solutions.”
SPAG will become part of the FINN Asian region, which will now be rooted in six countries and is overseen by Howard Solomon, founding managing partner of FINN who also leads the agency’s efforts on the West Coast of the U.S. SPAG founder and managing partner Aman Gupta will join FINN as a managing partner and lead for the Agency’s Health Practice throughout Asia. Gupta will work closely with Global Health Practice colleagues Gil Bashe, Chair Global Health and Purpose, and Fern Lazar, managing partner and Global Health Practice Lead.
Before founding SPAG in 2013, Gupta held executive positions at agencies and biopharma companies, including Imprimis Life (part of Perfect Relations Group), Lupin Laboratories, and Ranbaxy. He has been recognized as one of the “Top 25 Innovators” by PRovoke Media, Asia-Pacific, for shaping influence and engagement in an era of dramatic marketing and communications disruption. He was the first and only Asian to make it to the TED Fellow list in 2003. Joining FINN will help Gupta and SPAG expand their own regional and global expertise with the benefits of FINN’s scale and reach around the world while also helping FINN clients better understand the Asian region and its growing impact in healthcare.
In terms of reaching audiences within Asia, Gupta told PM360: “As the biggest continent in the world, Asia is home to five billion people with more than 2,300 languages and dialects. Its racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic diversity is unique. What is common across Asia is the importance of emotional connection and personal touch to build engagement and connect across audiences.”
Additionally, Gupta explained that Asia’s impact on global health is increasing for two reasons. Inwardly, as Asia is quickly becoming the global supplier of medicine as well as an innovation hub for health tech, the companies in the region are looking for support to take their solutions to global markets such as the U.S. and Europe. Meanwhile, the global biopharma and health-tech companies in other parts of the world are looking at tapping into the vast opportunity that exists in Asia simply due to the scale the continent offers (e.g., markets in China, India, Japan, Korea, and the emerging needs of Southeast Asia). Gupta says these opportunities range from introducing innovative life-saving molecules/the latest health technologies to becoming the hub for research and clinical trials.
“Asia is a reflection of where the wheel of change and transformation are in constant movement and evolution and the interplay is only understood by a team that has its roots in Asia as they know and understand subtle nuances, that otherwise are not visible, but are key to success for any change that is being sought,” Lazar told PM360.
In a statement, Lazar added that the addition of SPAG creates a strong connection among existing FINN Health Practice hubs in New York, Beijing, Boston, Chicago, Jerusalem, London, Minneapolis, Nashville, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, Shanghai and Singapore, and opens new opportunities to serve clients globally. She says, “More and more our significant clients in biopharma, medical devices, and policy seek to work with the agency across geographies—to maximize the opportunity that their advances offer payers (private and public), providers, and patient communities—and to leverage clinical and regulatory successes across regions.”
SPAG will now be branded as “SPAG, a FINN Partners Company.” There are no staff redundancies or client conflicts as SPAG will bring its 85 employees to FINN in Asia. In total, FINN will now have 150 employees in Asia and more than 1,300 employees around the world. That includes SPAG Co-Founder Shivani Gupta who joins FINN as managing partner, Culture and Brand Reputation, Health Asia, and will focus on building brand communications and Practice culture throughout Asia.
Shivani’s role will be vital to employer branding, building a solid culture, and external communications. She shares in FINN’s values that center around brand purpose, proper hiring, building the agency brand into a cause, identifying cultural ambassadors, recognizing employee achievements and contributions, and building a transparent and open line of communications for a motivated community.
“SPAG offers both global thinking and local implementation,” Shivani told PM360. “Together with FINN we can leverage what we can do for clients now across continents and provide access to global skills, knowledge, and experiences from two agency leaders now united as one FINN.”
Bashe told PM360 that SPAG and FINN began collaborating around new business and client needs—in brand marketing, company thought leadership, and global public health—almost a year ago.
“From the initial introduction to in-the-trenches activation, we have seen that combining connections, experiences, and resources was a winning growth path,” Bashe said. “Among the more significant benefits of FINN values—which are identical to SPAG values—bonds of trust and transparency accelerate possibilities.”
In a statement, Aman Gupta shared similar sentiments. “After getting to know Peter, Howard, Gil, Fern and the FINN team, it was clear that our values and goals align,” Gupta said. “I’m eager to become part of this dynamic community, which recognizes that dedication to a shared mission is essential to unlock human potential and achieve greater success for clients.”