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New brand launch: Spyglass helps Walman set their focus on the next 100 years

Spyglass is proud to announce the launch of the new Walman brand. Walman is the largest independent eye care company in the nation. If you’ve never heard of them, it’s because they’ve operated under many brand names and they do most of their work behind the scenes to bring you perfect glasses, lenses, contacts, frames and pretty much everything else you see in a successful optometrist’s office. Spyglass recently partnered with Walman to align their brands and give renewed focus to their vision to be the most trusted partner in the eye care industry. It’s a pleasure working with one of America’s great employee-owned companies—now celebrating 100 years of success. Take a look at their new look.




Trade Show Booth



Tags: Branding, Logos
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Patriot selects Spyglass: We’re thrilled to be working with one of the top retail bankers in the business.

pnbBlogFullPatriot is an East Coast community bank serving Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY. Since 1994 they have been dedicated to serving local areas with a complete offering of business and personal banking products and services and represent the best values of a community bank. “We are thrilled to have been chosen for this project and to be working again with one of the best retail banking minds in the business, Ms. Susan Neilson, Patriot Bank COO,” said Molly Rice, Spyglass President. “Patriot is in a perfect position to redefine what a community bank should be and have an even bigger impact on the communities in which they serve. Part of Spyglass’ job will be to help them tell a powerful story and deliver a superior customer experience.”


Tags: Branding, marketing
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Helping Reeher gain market share.

Reeher LLC_300Reeher is a textbook example of how a smart marketing strategy can help an up-and-coming business speed its way to market share. Andy Reeher and his team have been great to work with, and we’re thrilled (but not surprised!) that they have been able to more than double their business in the last year.

Read more in the Twin Cities Business Magazine.

Tags: Branding, marketing, Reeher, strategy
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Creating a new remedy for an infection that kills up to 20,000 people every year in the US alone


And you thought regular diarrhea was bad. Imagine having it so badly that it kills you. Welcome to the not-so-wonderful world of Clostridium difficile. This gastro-intestinal nightmare results from use of antibiotics and has a death toll that eclipses even HIV. Spyglass client Rebiotix is poised to change that. Their non-antibiotic treatment is > 90% effective, based on preliminary clinical data and features the most convenient patient delivery system developed to date. It has also gained fast track FDA status, so it will likely be offered at hospitals near you sooner than you think.

Poop in the news. It seems like you can’t open a newsfeed without bumping into an article about poop therapy. Rebiotix has taken the once inconvenient process of Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) to the next level with its microbiota restoration therapy (a more palatable name in medical circles). Doctors now know this treatment is one of the most effective ways yet to restore gut health and save lives. Do a Google search on microbiota therapy (and poop) and you’ll quickly see this is medicine’s newest frontier and possibly the breakthrough doctors have been looking for to solve other chronic conditions as far ranging as Ulcerative Colitis and obesity.

New product or a new category entirely? When Lee Jones and her team of veteran Twin Cities entrepreneurs (Mike Berman, Erwin Kelen, William McGuire) approached us to help them with their naming and branding, we took a hard look at the medical market space they would be selling into. We realized that, given the huge marketplace opportunity, the competition would be hot on their heels. So as a first-of-its-kind treatment delivery system we needed to not only invent a new category, but be able to own it and defend our turf. Prebiotics, probiotics and antibiotics all exist. We thought, “Why not Rebiotics?” This was exciting new territory, so why not own the treatment and be the undisputed category champ? Become the Kleenex (or in this case, White Cloud) of clostridium difficile therapy—one that will save thousands of lives annually. Oh, what a relief it will be to say, “Rebiotix me, doc!” Be the verb for the cure. And that’s precisely where we landed. We couldn’t be more thrilled for Lee and her team. Clearly, there are big things ahead for Rebiotix.

Visit for more info.

Tags: Brand FastForward, Branding, New Category, Rebiotix
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Global expansion expert selects Spyglass to help move its business to the next level


Spyglass Brand Marketing announced that Global Resource Associates (GRA) has selected the agency to help them prepare for growth in the online marketplace. St. Paul-based GRA provides FasTrack™ Global Expansion Business System technology to its customers, enabling companies around the world to capitalize on global expansion opportunities and accelerate their success in world markets. GRA is extending and converting its FasTrack™ system to a SaaS-based online tool.

“According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, exports to foreign countries account for more than $31 billion in revenue annually and tens of thousands of jobs in Minnesota,” said Molly Rice, president and founding partner of Spyglass. “The extension of the FasTrack™ Global Expansion Business System technology can help both local and international companies continue to expand in the global market. We are thrilled to be taking Global Resource Associates through our Brand FastForward™ process that will help them solidify their leadership position in the export marketplace.”

Through the Brand FastForward™ process, Spyglass will develop GRA’s brand story in anticipation of additional investment, including strategies for eventual growth into new and existing markets.

“We chose Spyglass Brand Marketing because their team has done this before with proven results, and they truly understand our need for goal-driven strategies and fast turnaround,” said Sandra L. Renner, president of GRA. “We’ve created an export process that has a proven, systematic approach to global expansion, and we’re confident that Spyglass will help us achieve our growth and expansion goals with current and future clients.”

Read entire article on MNPR Blog.

Tags: Brand FastForward, Branding, GRA
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eLumen chooses Spyglass Brand Marketing

eLumen selects Spyglass Brand Marketing

Spyglass Brand Marketing to help higher-education software

Spyglass Brand Marketing announced today that eLumen has selected the agency to help them prepare for significant growth in the marketplace. Minneapolis-based eLumen is a software company that has developed a best-in-class platform that helps colleges and universities track and assess actual student outcomes across courses and programs in real time, as well as helps them meet accreditation requirements.  eLumen is looking to clarify its position in the marketplace, grow exponentially, and have a major impact on the entire higher-education community over the next 2 to 3 years.

“This is an incredible time in higher education. The Student Learning Outcomes conversation is everywhere and eLumen is perfectly poised to lead the revolution in helping colleges and universities track what students actually learn.  We are thrilled to be taking eLumen through our Brand FastForward™ process that will help them solidify their position in higher ed.”

In addition to building the brand story, developing marketing materials and the marketing plan, the Brand FastForward™ process will also include aligning and engaging employees and key stakeholders, designing the user experience, and aligning all client touch points to ensure consistent delivery of the eLumen brand promise.

“We chose Spyglass Brand Marketing because their team has done this before with proven results, and they truly understand our need for goal-driven strategies and fast turnaround,” says David Shupe, CEO, and co-founder of eLumen. “We’ve made great strides over the past several years, and we’re confident that Spyglass will help take us to the next level.”

Read the entire article on MNPR

Tags: Brand FastForward, Branding, marketing
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Spyglass client Cretex Medical discusses their agency selection



Whether launching a new brand, repositioning an existing one or entering a new market, b2b marketers say they want their agency partners to understand their business and help formulate sound marketing strategies.

Marketers say their top criteria in selecting agency partners include solid b2b experience, knowledge of the client’s industry and business, responsiveness to the client’s needs and good chemistry (see box, previous page).

However, the processes marketers use to select agencies, the types of services they’re looking for and the people involved in their reviews vary widely.

“Agency searches tend to get tied to how the client is internally structured to handle agency relationships,” said David Beals, president-CEO of R3:JLB.

“If a client has a fairly robust marketing department with specialized expertise, and has bigger budgets to hire internal people and multiple agencies, those companies are much more likely to be looking at multiple agency relationships and specialized agency services. They may have one roster of agencies doing traditional work and other agencies handling social media and other specialized services.”

Beals added: “On the other side, marketers with smaller staffs and budgets are more likely to look for one agency or a small handful of agencies to provide multiple services and multiple areas of expertise.”

Cretex Cos., a 95-year-old diversified manufacturing company, is in the latter category, with a small marketing staff and limited advertising.

Last year, Cretex started looking for an agency partner to help it reposition its Cretex Medical division, which had recently acquired four companies in the medical device manufacturing space: Juno Inc., Meier Tool & Engineering, Pacific Plastics & Engineering and RMS Machining.

“No one recognized us as a big player because the individual companies went to market independently. There was no visual consistency and nothing connected the subbrands. We needed to have a brand story we could go to market with,” said Steve Ragaller, VP-CFO at Cretex, which does not have a corporate marketing executive.

“I’m a finance guy. We have a COO-operations guy, and our CEO is not a marketing guy either. We are not marketing experts. We were looking for someone to help us think through our brand strategy.”

Cretex, based near Minneapolis in Elk River, Minn., did not have a previous agency of record at the corporate level. Its individual business units hired agencies for specific assignments, primarily for marketing collateral, Ragaller said. The company historically has not done much advertising.

Ragaller, who headed up the review process, did some research on local branding and marketing agencies to come up with a short list of potential candidates. “Having someone local was important,” Ragaller said.

But the most important factor in the review process was finding an agency that understood Cretex’s business and its target market of OEMs in the medical industry.

“We are manufacturers. We are not flashy. Sexy is not in our vocabulary,” Ragaller said. “We were looking for people who understand what we do.”

Cretex selected Minneapolis-based Spyglass Creative to handle brand strategy for the Cretex Medical brand, as well as some other brands in the Cretex portfolio.

“What ended up winning the day was that they spent a lot of time asking questions, and listening and trying to figure out what we were trying to accomplish,” Ragaller said. “Other firms tried to sell to us, and that approach did not seem appropriate for the unique requirements of our business.”

Read entire article on BtoB

Tags: Agency, Brand FastForward, Branding
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I spy growth: bundling services helped brand consultancy show its ROI


Each time Spyglass Creative lands a new client, employees celebrate by slapping a singing toy fish that hangs on the wall at the creative agency’s Minneapolis office.

Lately, that fish has been singing a lot.

Over the past three years, billings at Spyglass have risen from $10 million to $16 million. Agency co-founders Molly Rice and Andrew Slothower attribute the growth partly to their focus on providing bundled, fixed-cost services to mid-sized companies who want clear pricing and deadlines.

Spyglass offers brand-consulting services for firms that want to redefine their place in the market. While the agency has ongoing partnerships with several firms, much of its work consists of one-time projects.

Spyglass began under the knowledge that marketing can be hard to buy. Clients often wonder what they’re really getting, what they’re really paying for and how much it should cost, said Rice, Spylass’ CEO. Businesses get confused when they receive vague cost estimates and invoices for hidden fees.

“They’re business people,” Slothower said. “They want to say, ‘$10,000 for my website, and $15,000 for this,’ and the problem is they’re missing the big picture. [We say] let’s put that all together, let’s figure out the story and decide which of those elements you need.”

Many clients already have good background information that Spyglass can use as a starting point, he added.

To help companies get what they need at a clear price, Spyglass introduced a product called Brand FastForward, which bundles all the services recommended for a business into a single, fixed-price package. Clients know the cost up front, and receive the finished package eight to 12 weeks after the initial meeting.

The package can include services ranging from website design to advertising campaigns, depending on what the client’s priorities are.

“I know when I’m going to get billed, I know how much it’s going to be and at the end of the day you’re going to solve my problem,” Slothower said, taking the client’s perspective.

In an industry where people frequently come up with innovative ways to do things, Brand FastForward helped set Spyglass apart, he said.

“Once you get out of the gerbil wheel of tracking every single phone call and billing for this and that, you can concentrate on the creative,” Slothower said.

Before launching Spyglass 10 years ago, Rice and Slothower worked for John Ryan Co., helping the Minneapolis-based retail marketing agency start up businesses in cities all over the world. The work honed their skills as entrepreneurs.

“She ran the account side and I ran the creative side,” Slothower said. “Basically, the two of us could get both sides of an agency started right away with just two people.”

When the pair realized there was a need among mid-sized companies for affordable marketing, they set out to create Spyglass.

“Our clients have a very specific need,” Rice said. “There are business objectives they’re trying to achieve.”

Some clients are looking to target a new audience, while others need a concise way to market their startup. Even so, businesses are often unsure what they should be doing to meet their goals, she said. Spyglass asks clients how they want to lead their businesses in order to determine which services will help.

“What is [their] story, how do we patch it up and how are we going to go to market with it?” Rice said.

Spyglass’ clients have ranged from travel-agency giant Carlson Wagonlit to The Urgency Room, a standalone emergency clinic in Woodbury.

Spyglass markets its own company largely through word-of-mouth referrals. In the coming years, the firm plans to form miniature packages within its Brand FastForward, such as a social media package, Rice said. For now, though, Spyglass is still riding off the celebration of a milestone anniversary.

“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years,” Rice said.

Read the article on Minnesota Business Journal

Tags: brand consulting, Brand FastForward, Branding
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