Huntsworth has 60 offices and 1,650 employees worldwide. Dorland will be part of its Huntsworth Health Division, which offers marketing, Internet service, and public and professional relations, as well as branding and a variety of marketing communications.
As Dorland grew, so did Rita, acquiring new skills in general agency management while filling the role of executive vice president. Rita became president and COO of Dorland Global in 1998.
Much admired in the field, Rita has garnered numerous awards, including being named one of the Top 50 Business Women in Pennsylvania.
UNDERCOVER: RITA SWEENEY
AGENCY CONFIDENTIAL: So, why did you do it? Why, as the oldest independent agency and one of the most successful, go the acquisition route now?
Rita: Independence was important, and for a long time it was a competitive advantage for us. It gave us a unique selling position. As an independent, we believed we were able to accomplish everything that a publicly held agency could. We had the top-tier talent; we had the global accounts; we had the award winning creative.... But, our focus was on business practicalities in a rapidly changing environment. The fact of the matter is that the evolving healthcare-marketing landscape is heading in a new direction. The competitive advantage we enjoyed as an independent for decades just wasn't going to be on par with the needs of the marketplace within a few short years.
AC: How do you see those needs?
Rita: In today's environment, clients want an agency with a true footprint in markets around the globe. It's not good enough anymore to just have a loose agreement with a partner agency that allows you to put a dot on a map during a pitch and say you're global. The marketing and communications teams at healthcare companies today are dealing with increasingly complex situations, and juggling multiple agencies in multiple markets adds work for them and is almost guaranteed to create a lack of alignment somewhere along the way. Clients want to know that if they need a program in Beijing or Berlin they can pick up the phone to talk to their agency in Philadelphia and coordinate everything from a central location.