Diana Marszalek 10 Mar 2021 // 2:00PM GMT
SAN FRANCISCO — W2O has rebranded as Real Chemistry, a name that aims to reflect the healthcare firm’s expanded capabilities after rapid growth and numerous acquisitions.
Calling itself a “global health innovation company,” Real Chemistry houses W2O, the healthcare marketing and comms firm Jim Weiss founded 20 years ago, as well as the 12 companies he acquired with the goal of making the firm a leader in data and analytics.
The acquisitions (10 of which have occurred since 2019) have made Real Chemistry a roughly 1,600-person company with offices around the world, and expertise in marketing, creative and communications with clinical trial, health economics and outcomes, and value, pricing and access advisory.
“For 20 years, our work and our passion have been about making the world a healthier place for all,” Weiss said. “Innovation in healthcare has never been faster or more important. The pandemic has shown us that communications plays a more vital role than ever to ensure life-changing healthcare solutions get to the right person at the right time and place. That is why this moment is about so much more than a new name or approach. It’s about how our ethos of action, our two decades of intentional evolution, and our drive for constant improvement helped us create what we see as the real chemistry between people and the brands born to change their lives.”
The rebrand comes two months after W2O’s most recent acquisitions, which occurred in January when the agency bought Swoop and IPM.ai, sister companies that use technology to identify, target and engage patient groups. Swoop and IPM.ai are housed under W2O’s new health technology business, along with Symplur, the social media analytics company W2O acquired in April.
Other acquisitions W2O has made since it sold a piece of the company to New York investment firm New Mountain Capital in 2019 include the October purchase of influencer and entertainment marketing agency Starpower as a means of accessing high-profile talent to help drive public health messages. W2O acquired Elysia Group, a health economic and outcomes research consulting firm, in September and Baltimore consultancy Discern Health two months before that. In January, the independent agency group added an advertising agency to its portfolio with its acquisition of 21Grams.
Weiss said Real Chemistry is the result of a systematic approach to building out the capabilities necessary to keep pace with the rapid transformation of the healthcare industry, and the fundamental role communications plays in “health, health outcomes and how things go in business.”
“This has been heavily curated and thought through. Every time we do an acquisition, we add something to our capabilities. There are no redundancies,” he said, adding the run on purchases is not over. “We will continue to curate the right things that we know will be necessary.”
W2O’s success earned it the number three spot on PRovoke Media’s 2020 Agency of the Decade list. The firm was cited not only for its numbers (W2O Group finished the decade as a $220 million business) but also for leading the industry in making analytics a core part of its business.