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What’s the value of a strong brand position? The bajillion dollar question. Answered.

At Spyglass we like our brands like we like our adult beverages: bold and distinctive. Yet, establishing a strong brand and market position requires a significant investment of money, energy and time. Is it possible to quantify the impact and payoff?

The recent acquisitions of two Spyglass clients gave us the perfect opportunity to answer this question—with more confidence and clarity than ever.

Earlier this year Reeher was bought for $43 million by Blackbaud Inc. Founder Andy Reeher remains with the company and reports: “I am thrilled to take this impact to the next level by joining with the world’s leading cloud software company to power social good.”

Meanwhile, Lee Jones, CEO and co-founder of Rebiotix, sold her company to global biopharmaceutical Ferring for an undisclosed price. The Rebiotix Microbiota Restoration Therapy platform is a proprietary system of delivering live, human-derived microbes into a patient’s intestinal tract to treat a range of infectious, metabolic, liver, inflammatory and neurological diseases. (Hence the “We’re #2!) Jones says: “My personal belief is that I think it could change the face of medicine.”

We reached out to both CEOs for their perspective on how the strategic branding process with Spyglass added to the value—and valuation—of their companies.

Here’s what they had to say:

1. You can create a new category—and own it . . .

Andy: “The challenge we had at Reeher was how to describe a completely new thing—a product category that didn’t exist. Spyglass’ deep upfront process of interviews and landscape analysis gave them the insight to clearly and simply articulate our offering in a way that resonated with clients. While we were enamored with our technology, they kept the focus on the customer benefits: the ease and speed to results.”

Lee: “This was a challenge—an entirely new area in medicine. There was no precedent and no real competitors. And the product—extracted from fecal material—was inherently tricky to describe. Spyglass helped us explore all the possibilities and find the best possible way forward, which was to create an entirely new category called rebiotics – and then position ourselves as the leader in the category (oh, and they coached us to rename the company to Rebiotix). It was genius.”

2. You can better equip your sales team with a more compelling pitch and story…

Andy: “Our product created tremendous improvement in performance for our customers, but we had to succinctly explain how. Spyglass created a visual explanation, as well as a compelling metaphor that helped our sales team launch hundreds of new conversations that led to rapid growth.”

Lee: “I had been struggling with the fact that my board wasn’t clear on the value of branding for our business. Spyglass came to the table with some very big strategic thinking that was ultimately very convincing – and they were right.”

3. You can engage stakeholders with a bigger vision…

Andy: “The brand plan became part of our website, as well as our sales pitch, and prospect journey to becoming a customer. Our visual explanation also was instrumental in helping customers understand the value of what they had purchased, keeping them engaged in our customer community. The more customers we had, the more success stories we could build.”

Lee: “Spyglass gave us the aspirational vision. They elevated our conversations to a higher level and convinced us that this product really represented a shift in how medicine was practiced. Spyglass helped create that picture of who we wanted to be… and that was pivotal.”

4. You can create more value and earn a higher valuation…

Andy: “The Spyglass work helped fuel the rapid growth and large customer base that bolstered our reputation and ROI—which caught the attention of Blackbaud, the market leader in the space. Reeher received a very strong valuation, and now our work is being applied in a billion-dollar enterprise.”

Lee: “Spyglass created a distinctive brand and we ran with it and executed on it consistently—which enabled us to secure the funding necessary to finance FDA testing and approval. The Rebiotix brand is the clear leader in this new category (that Spyglass helped define and create!) and is recognized worldwide. Without the brand, we certainly wouldn’t have the credibility and level of recognition that we have, which was part of what made us attractive to Ferring.”

So there you have it—words of wisdom and inspiration from two successful business executives and entrepreneurs in highly competitive technology and pharmaceutical markets. Will hiring Spyglass better position YOUR business for acquisition or ratchet up your stock price? Let’s get together and find out!

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It’s time to live it up!

It’s that spoooooooky time of year. In the U.S. we call it Halloween. In Mexico it’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). In Italy they call it Tutti i Santi (All Saints).  In India it’s Mahalaya. And in the Celtic tradition it’s known as Samhain.

Across cultures and throughout time, the waning days of October and early November are considered the time when the “veil is thin” and the spirit world is closest. It’s a time of honoring our ancestors, and remembering our own mortality.

Because it’s the season, and perhaps because we are spending so much time with our friends at Lakewood (Minnesota’s most beautiful and historic burial grounds), we’ve been thinking a bit about death. Not to be morbid, but there are lessons we can learn by studying what happens at the end . . . which can and should inform how we spend our precious time here on this green and golden Earth.

In this insightful interview, Frank Ostaseski, author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach the Living, shares some welcome wisdom:

“People often discover at the time of their death that they’re much more than the small, separate self they’ve taken themselves to be… We’re all in this boat together. All of us are subject to this experience, and recognizing that causes us to be kinder to each other… We let go more easily and this engenders a certain kind of generosity and gratitude in our life.”

For many of us, it’s frightening to contemplate death. Yet there are times when we walk through our days like zombies—failing to appreciate the gift of life, and forgetting how very indebted we are to our loved ones and the generations who have come before us.

Ostaseski continues, “When we come close to the end of our life, what’s really important makes itself known. For most people, it’s about relationships.”

So as those witches and goblins take the streets, and there are tricks at every turn, try to see past the masks and stay connected to what’s important. And mix up a batch of this spirit-forward potion if you really feel like living it up!


The Spyglass Spirits Rising

A seasonal, Spy-inspired take on the classic Negroni
1 part Mezcal (tequila’s smokier bro)
1 part Aperol (Campari’s sweeter sister)
1 part Capano Antica (vermouth’s classier cousin)
orange peel

Pour all ingredients into a cauldron filled with ice and use your broomstick to stir the potion. Strain and pour into a chilled chalice. Garnish with an orange peel and toast “to life!”

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Welcome to The Empathy Economy, Part 1

You’ve no doubt heard about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it’s radically transforming business and the world as we know it. But have you tuned into the complementary corollary of Emotional Intelligence — and the emergent value of “empathy”?

According to Business Insider, “Empathy is what most makes us human — the capacity for mutual understanding. As the Automation Age eliminates rote and some not-so-rote tasks, it will create an opportunity for humans to capitalize on empathy.”

So, what’s the promise of this shift for you and your business?

We’ll be diving in deeper in the months and issues ahead, but we’ll leave you with this intriguing article excerpt by Pedro Periera via Digitalist magazine:

“Today, the new breed of business is hinged on relevance and purpose—for customers, for companies themselves, for the world and community at large; and for the company’s purpose in the larger scheme of things. And this has led to a very interesting concept of the empathy economy. It is an economy that is human-centric, and values empathy, placing it at the core of all activities and business. It is an ethos that drives the pull strategy, by truly understanding and adapting to the needs of the customer.

How is an empathetic strategy different from personalization? Empathy strategy is more about a major shift in the mindset, focused on close learning from customers. Personalization on the other hand, is focused on selling more to customers.”

At Spyglass, we’ve been helping our clients apply this lens to their business with some inspiring and impressive results. Intrigued? Stay tuned for more. Meanwhile, we’d love to sit down and get empathetic with you.

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