Although it’s common practice for pharmaceutical companies to hire multiple agencies to deliver their brand plan, that doesn’t mean it’s the best approach. Imagine having to coordinate and communicate with all these agencies that don’t talk to each other? No doubt, it’s a lot of work for Pharma clients. No Fixed Address Inc. (NFA) Health doesn’t conform to this standard agency model – they do things differently.
Dorothy Czylyski, NFA Health Founder, spent 20 years working in the pharmaceutical advertising space, where she inevitably noticed what was lacking in the current agency model. One shortcoming was that pharmaceutical companies had to hire numerous agencies to execute their brand plan or even complete various stages of a project. Since these agencies didn’t communicate with one another, the client had to spend their time being the middleman with multiple agencies. Another complaint that Dorothy heard from clients was that their agency partners weren’t strategic and didn’t have the same level of insight about the brand and therapeutic area that the client did. This meant the Pharma Brand Manager had to do the heavy lifting when it came to strategizing. Lastly, most agencies didn’t have the robust digital capabilities that were becoming increasingly necessary. This required Pharma to hire a specialized digital agency, adding to their ever-growing list of agency partners.
Dorothy was confident that there was a better way to serve Canadian pharmaceutical clients. Knowing how difficult it would be to build an agency from the ground up, she approached consumer agency No Fixed Address Inc., who had developed the same model in 2016 with great success. NFA founders, Serge Rancourt and Dave Lafond, aligned with Dorothy’s vision, seeing the opportunity to expand NFA into the healthcare space. NFA Health opened its doors in January 2019.
Since its inception, NFA Health has worked tirelessly to improve upon the pitfalls of the traditional agency model. Perhaps the company’s greatest strength is that it provides a full-service offering to clients. Instead of hiring multiple agencies, a client can employ NFA Health, who has all the expertise needed in-house. All seven disciplines help to execute each project, eliminating the need for clients to communicate with several agencies.
NFA Health is also proud of their insight first and strategy-based approach. Their ability to come up with innovative ideas stems from their focus on conducting market research, from which they can develop a solid strategy and good tactics. Dorothy explains that one of the first things NFA Health asks a new client is if they have done market research in Canada: “Knowing what the Canadian patient experience is like, and how Canadian physicians prescribe medications, might be very different. This information is essential for us to build a solid strategy and make strong tactical recommendations, or even come up with a way of doing something that hasn’t been done before. It’s all about meeting the actual needs of patients and physicians.”
Finally, NFA Health is unique in that it has robust digital capabilities. The digital team at No Fixed Address Inc. is over 30 people strong and includes in-house technical development, User Experience (UX), Data Analytics, as well as Creative Technology expertise. In the last year, Pharma companies have been forced to do things digitally. “Clients are finding that traditional agencies don’t have the capabilities to do robust digital work,” shares Dorothy. NFA Health has always prioritized their digital proficiency, making their adjustment to the new virtual landscape seamless.
Despite the challenges of the past year, NFA Health has had the opportunity to work with their healthcare and pharmaceutical clients to develop innovative and industry-first initiatives. In partnership with a Canadian pharmaceutical company, NFA Health understood the challenge of multiple pharmacy visits for patients with chronic disease – especially during lockdown. “Now, a patient or caregiver can give a voice command to Alexa Skill, which goes to a nurse in the Patient Support Program for the drug. Then, a notification is sent when the drug can be picked up or delivered,” Dorothy explains. “This eliminates the need for patients to have to walk into a pharmacy or sit on the phone for 20 minutes.” The primary goal of this initiative is to make life easier, and potentially increase adherence for patients with chronic diseases. A prototype is ready, and the company is excitedly awaiting the launch this summer.
The integrated model that is NFA Health is taking the pharmaceutical and healthcare space by storm. The company saw enormous success in its first two years of operation, acquiring 16 clients and 20 full-time staff. “Our success is rooted in our integrated model and our ability to seamlessly incorporate ideas and innovation from the consumer world into the healthcare space,” explains Dorothy.
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