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W2O Becomes Real Chemistry, a Global Health Innovation Company

By Ben McNutt

This one is special to me.

Not just an incredible body of work going live, but the fruits of a longstanding relationship our agency has had for several years.

We met the W2O crew in 2017. As players in the brand game, there is some natural overlapping interests. But our companies connect in less obvious ways. Their ethos and approach to building a company, designing businesses and products, shaping teams and culture, in addition to their partnership with us on WGI. There is a deep foundation of like-mindedness there. Plus, we simply like each other as people.

It was a rare moment we found ourselves in when they asked us to be their strategic partner in shepherding the evolution of their business and brand into its next defining chapter.

On paper it didn’t add up. Why would a 1600+ person, global network of healthcare comms, tech, PR, and ad agencies looking to do a major evolution, hire a (at the time) 30-person brand experience shop geared for clients of the new economy? (We’re now nearly 100 with ops in the US, Europe and Mexico.) 

It’s a choice you can’t flowchart, but it does have its own kind of logic. At Butchershop, we do focus on hyper growth companies in a state of transformation; we do bring a unique combo of consultancy level strategy with the high flex of a creatively-led shop; we do work with a lot of brands pushing health + wellness into unlikely places; we do specialize in category-defining storytelling; we do stay nimble in the pocket and don’t expect the c-suite to have it all nailed down from the start. We’re like a pro-athlete trainer; we’ll go on the journey with you, so you can hold that trophy at the end.

The opportunity W2O Group faced had all these elements in play. And like all journeys, this one had its turns. Where we thought we were going when we started, and where we arrived today, are quite different. And that’s ok. More than ok. It’s remarkable, a testament to the relationships, resilience, vision, and people that make Real Chemistry who they are. Their leadership brought courage, calm, intelligence and fun to a process I’ve seen so many bring fear, anxiety, reactionary thinking, and alterior motive to. We brought our gang of gunners to the party too, all ready to throw down. Too many names to name in gratitude and recognition, but together we made 1+1=11.

Like most great stories, this one is about rebirth. From a network of health agencies, to a global health innovation company, fusing tech, data, creativity and medicine into something the world of agencies, consultancies and healthcare haven’t quite seen. 20 years in the making, it’s more alchemy than addition. And the real chemistry is human in kind.

I’ve had the pleasure of helping quite a few companies forge uncharted paths, so I think I can say this with some level of credibility — what Real Chemistry is doing represents a gigantic leap forward, a model that will do powerful things to help improve health outcomes for communities and individuals. It’s going to put their side of the industry on notice. I look forward to watching while the rest try to catch up.

If you think this is a rebrand, you’ve missed the point.

Special thanks to:
(Real Chemistry) Paulo Simas, Aaron Strout, Jim Weiss, Bryan Specht, Wendy Carhart, Frank Mazzola, Lauren de Remer, Gracelena Ignacio, Scott Hummel, Larry Savage.

(Butchershop Crew) Sara Cobaugh, Cody Beard, Nina Mueller, Marc Hill, Hampton Dunlap, Myles Soderstrom, Eric Von Doymi, Caroline Fox, Kyle Harrison, Lauren Miller, Shawheen Khorshidian, Melanie Huff and Trevor Hubbard.

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