From Spinoff to Sold: McBru Builds A Brand That Gets Bought 

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Challenge: Reaction Design, which developed fuel combustion simulation software used to model engine design, was spun out of Sandia National Lab, which for years had offered a free version of the same software to academic and research institutions. In addition, the actual audience for these technologies was tiny—the software had only 300 to 400 users in the world. Many of them worked for leading energy producers and auto manufacturers, and were forbidden to publicly reference the technologies they use.  Reaction Design planned to commercialize the modeling software with additional technologies and services, and turned to McBru to build a marketing strategy to convince the market of the value of its paid version.

Action: McBru began by holding a brand identity workshop with Reaction Design, followed by a positioning and messaging exercise, to build an understanding of the company’s highest level value propositions. Using these findings, McBru created a new logo and brand for the company, and launched a brand narrative program to build Reaction Design’s credibility in the market. McBru’s custom strategy included PR via industry publications, thought leadership positioning through white papers and contributed articles, plus creation of a program called the Model Fuels Consortium. This members-only organization was controlled by Reaction Design and offered access to the latest, most accurate fuel models. McBru used the halo effect gained by managing the consortium to boost Reaction Design’s standing and credibility to the group’s elite audience, and through the auspices of the consortium, produced a supportive video from General Motors that showcased Reaction Design’s expertise without requiring an endorsement.  

McBru used a similar strategy to craft a one-of-a kind social media persona campaign using LinkedIn networking groups to grab the attention of influencers, industry leaders and potential customers. 

Impact: By making Reaction Design’s LinkedIn channel a curated space open only to a targeted group, McBru transformed an off-the-shelf social media discussion group into an exclusive, members-only forum. In the process, McBru raised awareness for Reaction Design with a key audience, and positioned the company as technology innovators and thought leaders in their industry space. After working with McBru for six years to boost its credibility in the industry, Reaction Design completed the journey from spinoff to merger with ANSYS in 2014.

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