Sector: Augmented Reality
Challenge: Meta was an unknown AR company competing against Microsoft’s Hololens and Google-funded Magic Leap. Meta was preparing to launch their newest product after nearly a year delay and were without a marketing lead.
Solution: Spiralgroup president Stuart McFaul stepped in as acting marketing VP. He led his tailored team on every aspect of launch events including all PR, social media, communications, and advertising, along with presentation development and training. Helping to broker an on-stage debut at the 2016 TED Conference, 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.
Results: Meta’s launch received universally glowing reviews and established the company as a technology leader and darling in a space dominated by the “big guys.” Launch press alone generated over 200 million impressions worldwide, reflecting a 16x ROI for Meta’s original marketing investment at the time. Coverage has gone on to reach over 21 billion impressions.
Sector: Network Storage
Challenge: 3PAR was already operating successfully at $60M/year when they came to us, but could not garner any attention in what was considered the traditionally “boring” and uneventful industry of network storage.
Solution: We launched a rebrand and refreshed their messaging by highlighting how 3par’s network storage was the secret behind making cloud computing work. We formulated our case using as a proof point how 3PAR was doing all the backend processing for every financial institution in the world, with every transaction going through 3PAR servers.
Results: This positioning resulted in a burst of positive media coverage— 5500 articles in one week— 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.
Company: Hitachi America
Challenge: Hitachi America asked Spiralgroup to establish for them a leadership position within the industry to attract CFOs of publicly-held companies as potential customers for their financial reporting technology. 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.
Solution: Spiralgroup created Data Interactive, a Hitachi-sponsored blog that acted as an online magazine for news, information and commentary about XBRL and its progress. To create the best environment for smart conversation, we brought in an experienced bilingual tech editor, developed provocative articles, and solicited articles from industry leaders.
Result: The blog became so popular among XBRL leaders 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. Within a year we took the division from complete obscurity to having the most ubiquitous presence with financial professionals of any player in the industry.
"Hitachi was a new player in the congested XBRL financial reporting market. Within one year, Spiralgroup made us the XBRL industry thought leader—and even had the SEC promoting us!” —Wilson So, General Manager, Hitachi XBRL Business Unit
Sector: Artificial Intelligence
Challenge: Evi was a conversation-driven search engine and app competitor to Apple’s Siri. Though Evi featured robust functionality such as the ability to add personalized information to Evi’s knowledge base, it was launching from a small UK company in a saturated space, with Apple as its main competitor.
Solution: Our bold strategy was to launch Evi as “Siri’s smarter sister” while giving the entire launch exclusive to a tactically selected TechCrunch journalist.
Results: The flattering coverage triggered an onslaught of organic downloads in both the US and UK, making Evi the #1 downloaded app for nearly a month. This attention brought Evi a new challenge: Six weeks after launch, 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 whose resulting article 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. Evi caught the attention of Amazon, which later acquired Evi to make its technology the core of Amazon Alexa.
Sector: Virtual Reality
Company: Be Here Corporation
Challenge: Be Here Corporation was a developer of a panoramic 360-degree camera lens technology which was a solution in search of a problem. The company was underfunded and they didn’t know how they could implement their proto-VR technology in a market that had yet to catch up with them.
Solution: Spiralgroup negotiated with Apple to fund the launch of Be Here Corporation, because we established that Be Here’s technology was an excellent proof point for Apple’s soon-to-be-introduced Quicktime VR (Virtual Reality). We negotiated with Apple to build a customized website using Be Here technology and to highlight Be Here in their MacWorld keynote address.
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. Be Here’s technology gained the attention of Google and became the core of Google Street View.
“Spiralgroup matched our under-funded startup’s technology to a key strategy for Apple. Spiralgroup helped arrange for Apple to fund our launch, plus placed us center stage at the Chairman’s opening address at Macworld.” —Mark Hilton, Co-Founder/Vice President of Marketing, Be Here Corporation
Challenge: London-based Blinkx, a small search engine company with limited resources was a latecomer to a field dominated by Google, but wanted to launch in the United States.
Solution: To launch in the US, we positioned Blinx as the underdog Anti-Google, building antipathy within the tech community, while branding the product as a way to “find” rather than “search.” We were tactical about early interviews, earning high praise from Om Malik who said after his first viewing of Blinkx: “I had a tingling sensation, when I saw Google and thought to myself – ‘well this shit is going to be huge.’… I got the same tingling sensation today, when I met with a little known search engine, no scratch that, search agent company called BlinkX.”
Result: 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.
"We were a small company launching a new and unknown product. Stuart McFaul and Spiralgroup's guerilla approach to PR helped us steal the limelight in a market occupied by such giants as Google and Microsoft.” —Suranga Chandratillake, Founder/CEO, Blinkx
Sector: Green Energy
Challenge: Rhodia, a French chemical company operating in China, 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. Research revealed that phosphor’s rarity caused industry concern over the demand for energy- efficient lighting and China is the only source of the element. The product needed to meet a seemingly impossible set of branding criteria: be product specific, have an available global trademark; and play well in China and Europe to show respect for its origin.
Solution: We implemented a massive multi-national research initiative using global business development and marketing experts to create an irrefutable branding dossier that would meet and exceed all stakeholder demands.
Result: 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-efficient 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. The branding effort was grounded in the ancient history of the element while also giving the company a tool to show respect as a true partner with China.
Challenge: ImportNow approached Spiralgroup to launch its online world bazaar ten weeks before Christmas. Broadcast, dailies, and weeklies were the only PR opportunities and the client did not have a vision for the company story.
Solution: Spiralgroup created an irresistible story to attract media to the company: we sent a film crew (protected by armed mercenaries at their request) to a remote village in Papua New Guinea to document how ImportNow was helping developing communities — some without electricity — participate in the tech economy and generate new income. We then brought the head artisan from the village on tour in the United States to discuss how his village was benefiting from ImportNow’s unique distribution channel.
Result: 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.
“Zacharias Kram, whose tribal carvings are for sale on ImportNow.com, hails from a remote riverside village with no electricity, telephones or running water. Yet he managed to make the rounds of Manhattan, DC and San Francisco in 10 days to greet representatives from some of the biggest media outlets in the world.” —PR Week
Company: AtWeb/Web Site Garage
Challenge: AtWeb developed a raw software with no sales or distribution strategy aside from their intention to sell the technology on a hard copy disk.
Solution: In a time before formal SaaS, when software branding was focused on complexity and process, we positioned AtWeb’s technology as a service- focusing on simplicity, benefits and results. To showcase AtWeb’s tech, we created, designed and promoted Web Site Garage, an online website tune-up service, where visitors could “park their website” and get it diagnosed just like a car at a mechanic’s garage.
Results: Web Site Garage conducted over one million Web site tune-ups in its first 60 days. The company was purchased within nine months by Netscape, which was then acquired by AOL. AOL cited the powerful Web Site Garage brand as a one of the main reasons for the Netscape acquisition.
“Spiralgroup’s marketing genius created and packaged a brand identity and product offering that took our market by storm. After we were acquired by AOL/Netscape, we looked for the opportunity to work with Stuart again... and did with our new startup SimplyHired.” —Anil Godhwani, Founder, AtWeb and SimplyHired