On heels of big New York hire, Evoke vaults to top ranks in health communications with Kyne buyout

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Evoke merges its PR & Influence practice with Kyne to become one of biggest global pharma and healthcare communications agencies. (Alpha Stock Images)

Evoke is bulking up its communications practice with a big acquisition, right on the heels of tapping an experienced leader to beef up its New York outpost.

Evoke’s PR & Influence practice will merge with Kyne to double its size and become Evoke Kyne, one of the largest health communications agencies in the world. The Philadelphia-based Evoke practice gains Kyne's headquarters in Dublin and will merge its joint offices in London, New York and Los Angeles.

The move comes on the heels of Evoke's hiring Barb Box, a 25-year pharma and health veteran, to build out its New York outpost.

“For us, this acquisition creates more opportunity for our people as well as for our clients. When we look at both agencies, we’ve got very like-minded, growing agencies with complimentary skills,” said Evoke Kyne partner Maryellen Royle.

Kyne, for instance, brings experience working with foundations, nonprofits, government organizations and global pharma in public health, while Evoke adds a strong pharma and medical device corporate and brand practice.

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The merger comes after Evoke PR & Influence hired Box to helm the opening of its New York communications office. Box is a longtime pharma and healthcare communications leader, with 15 years at Weber Shandwick and 10 years before that at Golin Harris, where she built the healthcare practice.

Box was attracted to Evoke’s integrated model that pairs public relations and communications with the creative, data and digital marketing and media services modern pharma and healthcare marketers demand. She'll build out the New York communications team as well as strengthen the integration model that already exists, she said.

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Her challenge for pharma clients? Elevate the current narrative in the industry that “seems to be stuck in one story about pricing.” The story of pharma advancing treatment and making positive strides across disease categories is getting lost in the noise about pricing, Box said.

“I think a lot of pharma companies right now are feeling frustrated and unsure of how to move beyond this constant attention to pricing,” she said. “They’re just not sure how to move forward.

"Some don’t want to talk about it, while others are struggling to figure out what is the right message and what is the right way to deliver it. It’s a great time for PR people like me to help guide them through.”

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