Building Grassroots Support
When Evi, a mobile app similar to Apple’s Siri, came to us, we recommended they do one simple thing at launch: give the entire launch exclusive to TechCrunch. The flattering coverage kicked off a firestorm of downloads in both the US and UK, making Evi the #1 dowloaded app for nearly a month. Six weeks later, Apple told Evi’s developers that Evi was to be removed from the App Store because it was “too similar” to Siri. We immediately assembled a case noting this was an ongoing practice by Apple in restraint of trade and presented it to the same TechCrunch reporter. A new article appeared on the next day that launched a wave of ill will towards Apple and led to Evi downloads achieving all-new heights. Within two days, the antipathy towards Apple had grown so strong that Apple backed off its plan to remove Evi, which remains available in the App Store today.
Building Industry Leadership
Hitachi America asked Spiralgroup to establish for them a leadership position within the industry to attract CFOs of publicly-held companies as potential customers. However, Hitachi was a newcomer to a space already dominated by many leaders and the small Hitachi business unit had a limited budget with no internal marketing or sales force. Spiralgroup created Data Interactive, a Hitachi-sponsored blog that acts as an online magazine for news, information and commentary about XBRL and its progress. The impact was so signi cant that, when interviewed by The Wall Street Journal, SEC chairman Christopher Cox cited Data Interactive as the only place to visit for news and opinion in XBRL. Our companion book “XBRL for Dummies” was promoted by Cox as “proof that XBRL has arrived” and is considered the must-have reference for every CFO in the US.
ImportNow approached Spiralgroup to launch its online world bazaar ten weeks before Christmas. To create a provocative news angle, we illuminated the human interest angle: how their company allowed third-world communities — some without electricity — to participate in the tech economy. We sent a film crew to Papua, New Guinea to create a video news release showing how a village was leveraging the Web to create a major source of income for their remote community. We also brought the village directly to the U.S. media in the form of a tribal artisan, who spoke to how his village was benefiting from ImportNow’s unique distribution channel. Media loved the story, and we secured interviews with CNN, The New York Times, Fortune, and Forbes. The associated increase in site traffic met ImportNow’s major objective in time for holiday sales.
Building a Global Brand
Rhodia, a major global chemical company, needed a global brand and trademark for a new product: a chemical process that conserves the rare element phosphor, which is used in the manufacture of lighting. They needed a compelling story that played equally well in China and Europe. Research revealed little-known facts: (1) phosphor’s rarity caused industry concern over the demand for energy- ef cient lighting and (2) China is the only source of the element. We positioned Rhodia and its process as the result of a successful trail-blazing partnership with China to help meet global demand for green energy-ef cient lighting, putting both China and Rhodia on the global stage as eco-conservation leaders. The new brand name – MorningStar – supports the brand allusions goals, as an alternate name for the god Phosphor and as the star that rises in the East to bring the world into a new day.
London-based Blinkx, a small search engine company, had a small budget and was a latecomer to a eld dominated by Google. Spiralgroup’s strategy was to challenge Google by taking a contrarian approach, proposing that Blinkx was the search engine of the future. The positive response to the strategy was immediate. Om Malik wrote “[when I saw Blinkx], I got the same shiver of excitement when I rst met with [the founders of Google.]” Within days, over 5000 blog discussions took place about Blinkx, leading to standalone coverage in the Boston Globe, BusinessWeek, InformationWeek, Newsweek, Reuters and the San Jose Mercury. The launch was so successful that a major business publication suggested Blinkx’s biggest problem might be “too much good publicity.” Blinkx achieved its goal of over one million downloads a year ahead of schedule.
Spiralgroup negotiated with Apple to fund the launch of cash-strapped Be Here Corporation, developer of a panoramic 360-degree camera lens technology that was an excellent proof point for their soon-to-be-introduced Quicktime VR. We negotiated with Apple to build a customized website using Be Here technology and to highlight Be Here in their MacWorld keynote address. As a result, Apple spent in excess of $250,000 to produce these and other associated Be Here- focused events. The 10-minute introduction to Be Here in the Macworld opening address led to immediate coverage on CNN and other national news stations. Within weeks, Be Here was chartered by The Associated Press to shoot the upcoming presidential inauguration. Spiralgroup set up more than 140 interviews within the year providing the greatest breadth of coverage of any company in their industry.
Building a New Brand Category
Spiralgroup took raw software to create a Web-based product that made its founders a quarter-billion dollars. We created, designed and promoted Web Site Garage, an online website tune-up service that became an overnight sensation when it conducted over one million website tune-ups in its first 60 days. The company was purchased within nine months by Netscape, which – in turn – was purchased by AOL. AOL cited the powerful Web Site Garage brand as a one of the main reasons for the acquisition.
Repositioning for Leadership
Our network storage client 3PAR was in an odd position: successful, but in what was considered a traditionally “boring” and uneventful industry. We refreshed their messaging by highlighting how 3par’s network storage was the secret behind making cloud computing work. This resulted in a burst of positive media coverage — 5500 articles in all — catching the attention of Dell and HP, which were seeking more robust cloud computing storage solutions. Their interest led to a frenzied bidding war, resulting in 3par’s acquisition by HP for $2.4 billion. Industry blogger Dan Gilmoor credited 3PAR’S “brilliant” cloud positioning as a major reason for attracting the attention of the major companies.
Building Industry Leadership
Facing competitors like Microsoft and Google-funded Magic Leap, Spiralgroup helped Meta launch their newest product after nearly a year delay. Helping to broker an on-stage debut at the 2016 TED Conference, Spiralgroup president Stuart McFaul stepped in as acting marketing VP. He led his team on every aspect of TED and launch events including presentation development and training, also creating and managing all PR, social media, communications, and advertising. The TED premiere received enthusiastic social media buzz, which Spiralgroup leveraged before launch. We negotiated a two-week “embargo window,” allowing Meta to fully brief dozens of top-tier media. Meta’s launch received universally glowing reviews and established the company as a technology leader. Launch press generated over 200 million impressions worldwide, reflecting a 16x ROI for Meta’s marketing investment.