The judges were highly impressed by OVID Health’s tangible results in their first year – delivering 20 client briefs alongside pro bono work for four health charities, as well as achieving a healthy profit margin from the outset. They demonstrated innovation through their work with the NHS Confederation, delivered by forming a coalition with other leading health organisations to give the campaign messages more weight with policymakers. The company has already carved a niche as a specialist healthcare agency with a focus on campaigns and policy work. A worthy winner!

Finalists:

  • The Agency Partnership
  • The Fourth Angel
  • Vested

Winner entry:

Business objectives and analysis of performance against budget over the last two years:

Our tagline, “Reinventing Healthcare Communications” wasn’t chosen lightly. In a space dominated by global agencies, OVID set out to bring clients a creative and personal experience.

We have an agency culture designed to uproot the traditional delivery model by treating our team like our clients – giving them a voice and incorporating their ideas into how the business is run. Our business objectives in our first 18 months of trading were to:

  • To be truly profitable (min 15%) without outside investment or funding
  • Build a roll-call of passionate and savvy clients
  • To have clients describe us as ‘creative, strategic, good value, fast, effective and honest’
  • Grow a small team of happy, engaged and talented consultants.

Not only have we over-delivered on the above, we’ve had a fantastic time doing it, winning awards and clients as a result. One of the reasons for this success is we believe in being kind and passionate – it’s a requirement in our job adverts!

We have given our clients ideas and advice that are consistently impressive – leading to unique, policy-changing (and award-winning) campaigns.

A brief overview of business / team strategy:

Our purpose is to increase the number of people living healthily and inspire good care through the power of communications. Before OVID began, we spoke to clients, prospects, our network and other industry influencers to test and shape our offer. We identified a gap in the market for a specialist independent healthcare agency with know-how across public affairs, campaigns, policy and PR. The sweet spot, if you like, to reinvent health communications.

Becoming the go-to agency in this space within 18 months was no easy feat. Working in a highly competitive arena, we had no existing client base to start with and no outside funding or investment. It really was from a standing start, working out of the air raid shelter in our Founder’s back garden…

In order to achieve this and to set ourselves apart, we’ve differentiated our offer. We’ve prioritised investment, meaning we spent time establishing reliable processes, eye-catching marketing materials and a body of work one would expect from an agency 10 times our size. For example, we’re shortly to launch the first ever OVID Health Patient Engagement Index in association with PharmaTimes – to track and analyse how pharma companies embedding patient centricity into what they do.

We’ve hired great (and diverse) people and we’re incredibly supportive and flexible with our team in order to get the right ethos, expertise and loyalty.

A summary of commitment to CPD and professionalism:

Part of our vision for OVID was to attract talented healthcare consultants (who are disproportionately female) dropping out of the ‘talent pool’ once they have children. We arrange OVID associate socials and invite them to contribute to our thought leadership outputs – ensuring the client receives a seamless service from all of our consultants.

We have also:

  • Invested £7k in training, events and development for our people in 2019
    • Training courses included ‘Grow Your Own Gravitas’ and training in the ABPI Code amongst others.
  • Increased staff pension contributions
  • Introduced a £50 gift for each new employee to spend on something for the office
    • Items so far include a coffee machine and starting a library of campaigning books.
  • Supplied standing desks on request and provide fruit each day to ensure we live up to our company purpose of helping people to live healthier!
  • Live by a set of policies to rival a much larger organisation
  • Set up an enterprise-grade IT system to allow remote working, collaboration, and security of client information
  • Commissioned a suite of market-leading design templates and a stunning new website which bridges the divide between PR and public affairs.

A summary of recent outstanding achievements, including client list growth / retention:

From a standing start with zero clients in August 2018, we have:

  • Played a huge role in launching a new cancer charity, the Tessa Jowell ACT for Cancer Foundation
  • Achieved 57m+ social media reach for clients and extensive national news coverage
  • Won 20 client briefs – securing organic growth and repeat business from 30% of our clients
  • Won a PRCA Public Affairs Award 2019 for our campaigns work (and a PRCA Insights Prize for our youngest employee)
  • Helped to secure national policy changes – in brain cancer, social care funding and in sexual and gynaecological health education in schools
  • Provided pro bono advice to 4 health charities
  • Published leading articles and insights in industry publications such as PR Week and PharmaTimes.

A summary of a campaign you are particularly proud of, including details of the brief, objectives, strategy, tactics, outputs, outcomes and budget:

NHS Confederation – Health for Care Campaign – Fix the Social Care Crisis.

Budget: £30,000 incl all third party costs.

We led this campaign in 2019 – bringing together 15 organisations to make the case for putting social care on a sustainable, long-term footing. We broke the mould for this leading trade body – devising an integrated campaign on behalf of the Confederation’s members. Our objectives were to:

  • Execute a game-changing public affairs campaign for a membership organisation traditionally focussed on NHS-only issues
  • Engage members in a new way by forming a coalition with leading health organisations
  • Elevate the social care crisis to the top of the agenda through a suite of momentum-building campaign tactics.

We launched the largest online public petition of its kind which gathered over 156,000 signatures. The results of the campaign were:

  • An increase in print and broadcast media reach from 2.82m (launch) to 9.63m (six months later after OVID’s involvement)
  • A 17.8m social media reach since launch, with an engagement rate of 3.54% (Orlo)
  • Coverage in all the top national broadcast and print outlets incl BBC News, Daily Mail, Sunday Times, Guardian, Radio 4’s Today and BBC Breakfast
  • For the first time ever we also secured 72 signatories (a large portion of the Confed’s chief executive membership) for a letter to the new Prime Minister.

Most impressively we secured a £1.5bn uplift in social care funding and an immediate pledge from the new PM to fix the social care crisis.