At that time, Buspar was competing with drugs such as Valium and Librium, which, as narcotics, worked immediately. Buspar,
which took three weeks to become effective, was not a narcotic and therefore was nonaddictive. But patients didn't want to
wait three weeks for the effect to kick in, and sales were flat. Becker designed a public education campaign for patient compliance
that outlined the benefit of hanging in there (persisting) for three weeks. Sales of the drug took off like a rocket, and
as a result, it became a blockbuster. The campaign set a new trend for the industry category of psychotropic drugs.
Word got out about Becker being an idea agency that follows up with execution, and soon we were on our way. It was a great
15-year run. The capstone came in 2003, when Becker was named Agency of the Year and had seven of the top 10 pharma companies
in the world as clients. No other agency—healthcare or consumer—had as many billion-dollar brands as the Becker Group.
We were able to accomplish all that because the culture of persisting through rejection and opposition became a way of life.
We did it with our brains and our hearts, but most of all, we did it with sweat. It was a no-excuse culture, in which the
leaders were known by their actions—not their titles or reputation. Persistence is that wonderful quality that separates leaders
from managers and a mediocre company from one capable of building a legacy.
Sander A. Flaum is managing partner of Flaum Partners. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org