Theorem Clinical Research

Case Study

  • Industry: Biopharmaceutical, medical device & diagnostics
  • Products/Services: Clinical research services
  • Specialties: Complex trials, combination trials, medical devices & clinical analytics
  • Headquarters: King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
  • Size: 1,500+ employees, clients in 40+ countries

A NEW COMPANY, 30 YEARS IN THE MAKING

1985

Omnicare was founded

2000

Omnicare Clinical Research (OCR) established, founding specialized therapeutic advisory teams and introducing numerous services throughout the 2000s

2010

Omnicare Clinical Research integrated with its sister CRO, Clinimetrics Research Associates, expanding operations

2011

Nautic Partners, LLC, acquired the combined CRO and restructured it to create Theorem Clinical Research, an independent company focused on delivering expert clinical trial expertise and support at every phase of drug and medical device development

2015

Theorem was acquired by Chiltern, making Chiltern the world’s leading midsized CRO, specializing in clinical development; oncology; device and diagnostics; data, analytics and evaluation; and functional service provision

 

Starting From Square One

Following Omnicare’s divestiture of Theorem, Nautic brought on new leadership in
both executive and oversight roles, expanding the company’s depth in Asia and other
geographies around the world while solidifying its strengths in device and clinical
analytics. While these changes reinforced industry-leading strengths in certain areas,
Theorem was not identified as a top-of-mind provider.

Not wanting to risk the appearance of transitional disorganization that acquisitions
often create, Theorem’s leadership understood the need to capitalize on its strong
and successful history. Theorem was known for handling complex global trials, it had
access to Asia, and although the organization was new, Theorem could work globally
with specialized business units for every phase of clinical development. It was time to
develop messaging that supported this.

After arriving at Theorem in late 2011, John Potthoff, president and CEO of Theorem, saw
valuable, yet unexploited space for the company in the marketplace and reached out to
SCORR Marketing to articulate the brand’s potential in a meaningful and memorable way.

Seeing the Potential, Planning for the Future

The industry was at an inflection point, and Theorem needed to define its space in the
market as a viable alternative to large CROs. Striving for more than a simple aesthetic,
Theorem sought to identify a strategy to engage its market in a way that acknowledged
its capabilities and true value to its clients. SCORR’s market intelligence team surveyed
current, past and potential clients while conducting initial research, including internal
assessments of Theorem’s leadership team and external evaluations of perceptions and
awareness of Theorem’s services.

After analyzing a mass of secondary research on industry trends, SCORR performed
an analysis of Theorem’s competitive landscape and a comprehensive SWOT analysis
to compose a Strategic Marketing Action Plan (Strat MAP). The Strat MAP unified and
condensed research, strategy and tactics, laying the foundation for a successful marketing
program. Theorem’s Strat MAP included an initial brand launch and public relations,
trade show and media plans to coincide with the new positioning and corporate identity.
Altogether, the collective insight and devised strategy set the foundation for Theorem’s
new brand as well as the company’s most ambitious step toward a new future.

“Theorem’s Strat MAP served as the company’s long-term strategic marketing canvas. It’s not just a tool for launch — when we were ready to pursue additional initiatives, the strategies, goals and tactics were reassessed and realigned within this centralized document.”

Krystle Buntemeyer
Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, SCORR Marketing

THINKING BIG: ARRIVING AT THE FIRST BIG IDEA

SCORR began to align Theorem’s strengths with values that would resonate with its target audiences. At the time, Theorem was a leader in complex, midsized trials for the drug, medical device and diagnostic industries. Theorem was committed to remain at the forefront of new health research technologies and techniques.

Acknowledging its ability to navigate the intricacies of complex clinical trials, the Big Idea — the visual concepts and core messaging that articulated Theorem’s value proposition — endorsed the speed, flexibility and expert guidance Theorem applied to every trial.

While it was clear Theorem could position itself as an industry leader for complex clinical
trial services, the company needed to build name recognition and brand traction before
it could hold any position. It was important to ensure that sponsors readily identified
what differentiated Theorem from the rest of the field, especially its experience and
thought leadership.

Ultimately, the perceptual space Theorem needed to occupy in the minds of clients was,
“I only think Theorem for my trials.” With many differentiators to address, the Theorem
brand needed to convey the same message across its numerous service areas. Meanwhile,
the main Big Idea needed to stand alone yet serve as a call to action: “Think Theorem.

In doing primary research, SCORR also discovered a market concern about the
fluctuation in the industry caused by ongoing acquisitions and divestitures. To
showcase Theorem’s commitment to a long-standing brand, while simultaneously
promoting its specialized capabilities, the company’s leaders were featured in the
Big Idea. In total, the Theorem Big Idea and breakouts introduced four of Theorem’s
executives alongside their areas of expertise: the overall brand message, medical device
trials, combination trials, clinical analytics and access to Asia. Further breakouts
followed a similar format: “When you need [XYZ service], Think Theorem.

With the Big Idea in place, Theorem was ready for real-world results. SCORR applied the
new Big Idea to marketing and sales support materials to set Theorem apart from the
competition, generate leads and create meaningful relationships.

Two Years Later, Twice the Size

By 2014, Theorem had more than doubled in size. Through continuous market
observation, client perception assessment and market analyses, growth trends
proved that the Theorem name and identity had gained the recognition the company
intended. While Theorem’s competitors were all vying for similar business, none clearly
differentiated itself. In the past decade, the top five CROs have been avidly acquiring,
merging and/or consolidating smaller CROs to round out in-house capabilities.

Theorem was a midsized research partner that was large enough to offer global reach
and capabilities, yet small enough to apply flexible solutions and senior oversight
to every project. SCORR knew that none of Theorem’s competitors could claim the
combination of expertise, capabilities and flexibility Theorem applied throughout every
trial it conducted, with defined target audiences spanning North America, Europe, China,
India and Latin America. Taking it one step further, Theorem and SCORR identified
specific targets within companies looking for outsourcing partners, including heads of
strategic sourcing groups, program directors, heads of data management and heads of
regulatory affairs. With the market and strategy defined, SCORR outlined the tactics to
give Theorem a competitive advantage over its competition.

“Successful companies know marketing isn’t a fleeting effort. You hit your first bull’s-eye, and there’s always one farther ahead to aim at. Theorem recognized that and was ready to evolve its marketing.”

Cinda Orr
President, CEO, SCORR Marketing

THINKING BIGGER: EVOLVING THEOREM’S BIG IDEA

Theorem had already gained significant traction since its launch in 2012; the brand needed an update. The evolved Big Idea was positioned to build on ground already gained. There was a very clear question Theorem wanted clients to consider before they undertook any project: “What’s really important when I’m looking for a research partner?” Therefore, Theorem’s premise to its clients was:

Theorem takes on fewer projects than big-box CROs, doesn’t only pursue the largest deals in clinical research and won’t push add-on services into your budget. That’s good news for you, because at Theorem more than anywhere else, your trial is important.

The extended proposition incorporates the expertise, capabilities and flexibility essential to Theorem’s proficiency in “Simplifying Complex Trials.”

 

Theorem’s 2015 Brand Evolution Objectives

Evolve the Big Idea to emphasize Theorem’s:

  • Unparalleled combination of capabilities, expertise, flexibility and focus
  • Premier thought leadership in key areas (e.g., combination trials, clinical analytics)
  • Partnership-oriented approach to executing complex trials
  • Appeal for acquisition

Launch the evolved Big Idea:

  • Internally in Q1 2015 to reposition the business development team for success and secure employee buy-in
  • To the public in Q1 2015, after the internal launch, utilizing resources comprising a revamped website and updated identity system, including sales/collateral materials, print and digital media

Theorem’s Internal Intent: Internal Messaging and Recruitment Campaigns

SCORR composed a guide for Theorem employees that covered the history of the company and the rationale behind Theorem’s communications strategies for business development, internal/employee affairs, recruitment and more. A video featuring Theorem employees sharing their thoughts about working at Theorem was created and played in the headquarters of Theorem’s front lobby. Theorem also distributed gifts (e.g., T-shirts, screensavers and new stationery) to drive internal acceptance of the new brand before its external launch.

One of Theorem’s best sources of new employees was internal referrals. To increase the rate of internal employee referrals, SCORR created the “Orange Is the New Green” campaign, which promoted Theorem’s recruitment and incentive program. As part of the campaign, SCORR developed a direct mailer, email template, dedicated microsite and more, for internal use.

Referral Incentive Direct Mail
Referral Incentive Direct Mail

In addition to these efforts, SCORR reinvigorated Theorem’s recruiting program around the “Think Theorem” campaign. Both provocative and motivational, this campaign clearly articulated Theorem’s desire for passionate candidates seeking demanding, competitive and fulfilling careers. This comprehensive, integrated program included recruiting events, digital media and a LinkedIn campaign, and ultimately raised the level of quality and talent companywide.

Innovation on Display: Attracting Attention and Leads

SCORR acted as Theorem’s complete trade show resource with the following promotional activities:

  • The Theorem Thinker: A living statue of “The Thinker” sat in the booth and interacted with attendees; the booth giveaway was a trip to Paris to see Rodin’s bronze sculpture. 
  • What’s Your Theory? A caricature artist drew pictures of attendees who shared their opinions on the current and future states of the clinical research industry; the theories scrolled live on a video screen at the show and later were assembled into a booklet sent to each participant.
  • Movie Theatre: SCORR transformed a business suite into theater-caliber presentation space complete with a marquee and movie popcorn.
  • V!P Suite: SCORR created a VIP space for qualified leads, and the main booth featured a five-foot-tall statue of the Theorem exclamation point and a liquid nitrogen freeze tank to make orangesicle floats for visitors.
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Leveraging the Big Idea: See Theorem’s ROI

Overall Growth

From 2011 to 2015

  • 200% increase in revenue
  • 200% EBITDA growth
  • 300% backlog growth
  • 200% employee count growth

Website

Compared to previous quarter before launch

  • 22% increase in user visits
  • 25% increase in page views
  • Month-over-month traffic increase over four months leading up to launch
  • More than 250k users as of Q3 2015
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Media

  • More ads through targeted media outlets
  • 25% increase in media budget
  • 10% increase in media placements
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Sales Collateral

  • More than 40 articles, white papers, webinars, podcasts and other thought leadership pieces

Social Media

  • 750% increase in LinkedIn followers
  • 300% increase in LinkedIn page views
  • 2,800% increase in LinkedIn post impressions
  • Brand new Facebook & Twitter pages
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Integrated Trade Show Campaigns

  • 16 trade show awards

Direct Mail Awards

  • Silver: 2015 Davey Awards
  • Gold: 2014 Aster Awards
  • Gold: 2014 ADDY Awards

Awards

  • 25+ won

“Theorem was not afraid to diverge from the status quo and was willing to venture outside of conventional marketing practices to arrive at more substantial differentiation.”

Christine Wigert
Senior Director of Program & Account Services, SCORR Marketing

Culture as Capital

Since 2012, Theorem also relied on SCORR to drive internal branding initiatives to build and maintain comradery among employees. Earning steady growth in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Theorem continued to stake out its position as the flexible, trusted research partner. SCORR worked to ensure that the essence of the brand and Theorem’s established personality continued to resonate internally.

From Divestiture to Acquisition

Theorem was recognized as a leading midsized provider of comprehensive clinical research and development services with a client base that included some of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical and medical device companies. Theorem established itself as the research partner of choice for complex combination product trials, and expanded its team to more than 1,500 employees, with operations spanning more than 40 countries.

Since partnering with SCORR, Theorem continued to introduce new business units and specialized service areas, and the quantity and quality of its business opportunities expanded. One of those opportunities came to fruition when Theorem accomplished one of its less publicized goals: to be acquired. In Q3 2015, Theorem was acquired by Chiltern.

To prepare for the public announcement of the acquisition, Chiltern turned to SCORR to develop a comprehensive communications plan. The plan encompassed all communications both Chiltern and Theorem would need to interact with internal and external stakeholders. Materials included press releases, media kits, emails, Q&A documents, PowerPoint presentations, call scripts and more — every facet of internal and external communication regarding the acquisition was directed by SCORR.

Chiltern is now the leading, global midsized CRO with more than 4,200 employees across nearly 50 countries. Today, SCORR serves as Chiltern’s full-service marketing partner.

“I think SCORR’s greatest asset is that they truly understand the businesses that they’re involved with. … They really understood what we were trying to do as a business. SCORR was Theorem’s competitive advantage.”

John Potthoff
President & CEO, Theorem