OPEN Health: one brand fit for the future

Written by David Rowley on Tuesday 26th February 2019

David Rowley, CEO, OPEN Health, takes 10 minutes out to discuss the recent re-branding of OPEN Health.

1. Why has OPEN Health moved to one brand?

Our organisation has evolved over the last 8 years into a group of diverse agencies that specialise in a whole range of disciplines. During that time we’ve seen far less discipline-specific requests from our clients and as such there has been much more connectivity and collaboration across the group when delivering our work. A lot of solutions for clients are now ‘channel-agnostic’; our clients are looking for solutions that cover a whole range of different things and we felt by connecting our businesses more closely under one brand it would enable us to deliver our services in a more seamless manner.

2. What is the rationale for 3 individual practices?

The rationale is self-evident as far as I’m concerned. When we looked at our organisation the businesses fell into 3 areas and we felt there was much greater collaboration and connectivity within each of these; therefore we thought it important to focus our resources accordingly.

  • OPEN Health Medical Communications: this is a re-branding of our Succinct business, but specifically now in partnership with Peloton Advantage in the U.S., which gives us a broader and stronger platform than we’ve had in the past. It also incorporates our independent medical education (IME) business which will remain under the name of Liberum.
  • OPEN Health Patient & Brand Communications: we felt there was a strong thread of connectivity between the patient engagement space, the patient focus that often occurs in a public relations environment and the need for the brand communications and advertising businesses to be centred upon patient needs. There are also some specific skill sets that are common to each: creativity, science writing, digital, health technology and patient insights  - all of those disciplines were relevant to our core business centres and so it made very logical sense to bring those businesses together.
  • OPEN VIE (Value, Informatics & Evidence): the pharmaceutical industry business has a very strong connection between market access requirements and  the need to look for real world evidence and insights in order to get drugs to market. We had businesses in all those core areas so there was a very strong rationale to bring them together and connect them.

The move to 3 practices is about collating our like-minded people and businesses around our core areas of expertise; it’s a simplification of what our businesses are, and we feel this will enable us to communicate more clearly with our clients whilst also ultimately strengthening and broadening the services we can offer them.

3. What benefits does that bring to your clients?

First of all it gives confidence to our clients that we are one connected organisation working together to deliver the best results for them, rather than ten individual companies that appear to be less connected.

Secondly, it gives a simplicity and a clarity of communication which enables our clients to understand our core practice areas and the breadth of services that we are able to deliver. We believe the brand bestows certain attributes around quality, high-science, delivery and going the extra mile for our clients. Our clients can be assured that by working with an OPEN Health brand that they will get the consistency and quality they have come to expect from us.

The strengths of OPEN Health are, and will remain:

  • Experienced, talented and loyal team of 550 people
  • Collaboration and partnership
  • Breadth of expertise
  • Focus on oncology, specialist medicine and rare disease
  • Long term partnerships
  • Digital and health technology
  • Global footprint

4. What benefits does that bring to your people?

I believe that the move to one OPEN Health brand conveys a sense of belonging to something that’s bigger and stronger; it bestows a sense of confidence and pride to our people that they are part of a dynamic growing organisation. It will also inevitably bring a lot of opportunity to work in a cross-disciplined fashion and to learn from colleagues who are experts in other fields. As we become more connected it gives clearer pan-group development opportunities, so our people can move from one business area to another while still remaining in the same organisation.

However, we need to strive for the benefits that are often associated with smaller independent companies; those of trust, loyalty and fairness. We need to make sure that we don’t lose the personal family feel of the organisation and we will strive hard to ensure it always remains.

5. How does Peloton Advantage fit into the new practice structure?

Peloton Advantage is very similar to our current Succinct business both in terms of the areas of expertise (medical communications and publications planning) and in terms of company culture and approach to supporting clients. Peloton Advantage will bring us a strengthened U.S. base on top of our substantial European practice.

6. What else does the future hold?

We need to continue to strengthen our 3 core practice areas by investing in talent acquisition, and also by expanding our services and capabilities in our core areas. 2019 is a year of consolidation; it will be about developing the culture of our 3 practices and making sure we have a positive collaborative working relationship with Peloton Advantage in our med comms arena. But it will also be a year to look at how we may build and grow the business further. We see ourselves expanding more geographically, strengthening our platform in the U.S. and potentially building regional hubs in Asia Pacific and mainland Europe.

Ultimately our long-term vision is to become the most respected healthcare agency group on the planet by: nurturing brilliant talent, commitment to delivering, focusing on innovation, and backing this all up with strong legal, IT & ethical governance.


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