Submitted by admin on Mon, 08/28/2017 - 12:01

With its recent acquisition of India-based healthcare communication agency Sorento, Havas Health & You aims to increase its footprint in the fast-growing Indian health and wellness market, says Charles Houdoux, CEO, Havas Health & You, APAC



Earlier this year, the Havas Group made its first acquisition in India for its health and wellness division, Havas Health & You (HH&Y) by adding Sorento to its portfolio of agencies. With the latest acquisition, the group wanted to “further develop its regional presence and add to its depth and breadth in India to deliver for global clients”.

Renamed Havas Life Sorento (HLS), the home-grown healthcare communication company seems to fit right in, owing to the group’s growing focus on healthcare. In March this year, the group merged Havas Health and all of Havas Creative Group’s global consumer health practices to form the new entity, Havas Health & You. With communication for brands such as Novartis, Sanofi, AstraZeneca, Bayer and Bausch + Lomb already on their hands, the idea behind the merger was to capture interest in the growing health and wellness market. HH&Y currently consists of Havas Life, Health4Brands (H4B), Havas Lynx, and Havas Life PR. On his recent visit to India, Charles Houdoux, CEO, HH&Y APAC - along with Susan Josi and Sangeeta Barde, Sorento’s co-founders - talked about the crucial role that the recent acquisition will play in helping the agency get a stronghold in the APAC region.

Talking about why Sorento was the perfect fit for HH&Y, Houdoux said, “India is a critical market for our global clients and when we were looking at acquisitions, we were looking for entrepreneurial spirit along with talented people. We were looking out for people who have already started to go beyond pure pharma promotional activity. Today, most of our key global clients are looking for not only solution providers but also people who provide them with support and strategy behind each proposal. We found all these skills present in-house in Sorento.”

The erstwhile Sorento is often called one of the first healthcare communication agencies in the country, with brands such as Abbot, Johnson & Johnson, Alkem, Dr Reddy, Glenmark and Torrent on its roster. So, how will things change post the acquisition? Josi says, “In a way, we started healthcare communications in India and that involved a lot of learning. With the acquisition, we will get faster access to a lot of things happening in developed markets, and that’s really going to be a big growth trajectory for us in India.”

Elaborating further on how the acquisition would open floodgates of opportunities for the Indian agency, Barde says, “From an independently held organization, we are becoming a part of a large group. That opens up opportunities as far as talent is concerned. We have a specialized force with a deep understanding of healthcare, whether it is from the strategic, communication or the content side. We want to explore how this talent can be capitalized.”

For HH&Y, the focus is now on bringing in more strategic insights and taking a meaningful approach with an increased reliance on data. The agency is also working on making brands more meaningful by creating more differentiation in the market. Houdoux says, “Some of our top clients within the Havas Group include five pharmaceutical companies and for a lot of them, India is a big market with a huge opportunity in terms of specialized market and consumer health.”



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