Creating a Goliath out of David

K2M, Inc.

Turning the Identity of a Spinal Surgery Product Manufacturer Around

As part of its effort to enter the spinal surgery marketplace, K2M put together a unique business strategy and an experienced management team to make it happen. But the industry was dominated by billion-dollar companies with deep pockets and established brands. K2M turned to Sage Communications for help raising their profile.

View Full Case Study


As a relative newcomer to the spinal surgery equipment market, K2M wanted to establish an overall branding standard that would set the company apart from its much larger competitors. K2M also wanted to develop a suite of professional marketing pieces to support its sales team and reinforce K2M’s status as an established company.


Sage needed to create the entire K2M corporate brand, including the company’s corporate logo and a creative suite. The agency was also tasked with developing an individual brand for each of the company’s 20 different product lines, so each product could be instantly recognized in the market place.

Our Process:

When Sage completed our competitive research and brand audit, we discovered that most medical companies grew by acquisition. As a result, the original product names and images became incorporated into the larger brand of the new company, causing confusion in the market as product lines became disjointed and fragmented. Eventually, customers couldn’t determine which company managed which product lines. Since K2M was creating all of their product lines instead of acquiring existing products, they could choose a name for each product line, establish a distinctive look for that product, and market it more effectively. This allowed Sage to build both corporate and product brands from scratch.

For each product line, Sage presented possible names for K2M’s review, then created an individual logo, color palette, and a main photographic image. The agency then developed a two-page flyer template, a PowerPoint presentation, a 36-page surgical technique manual, a 44-page launch packet for the sales force, a 35-page technical monograph, a trade show pull-up banner display, and a DVD cover and packaging. The goal of every content layout was the same – to give surgeons a way to find the information they needed quickly.

To ensure that all pieces met a brand standard, Sage created a 76-page Style Guide, outlining primary and secondary colors for the corporate brand and all of the company’s product lines. It also established which fonts could be used in corporate materials; usage guidelines for all of the new corporate and product logos that Sage created; and listed every marketing piece Sage created for K2M, along with how much it cost to order them from the company.

Our advertising campaign also took an unconventional approach. When marketing their products in medical journals, most of K2M’s competitors chose to show a large photo of the product they were trying to market. Sage advised K2M to have each ad focus on one unique benefit of the surgical implant being promoted. We have written, designed and produced eight different ads, developed a comprehensive media plan, coordinated all space reservations, and delivered the finished ads to the publications.

Sage also created specialty pieces for many of K2M’s products as the client objectives changed. For one of their product lines, the agency designed a three-dimensional sales tool kit with a carrying handle. It opened to reveal that product’s suite of marketing materials and two DVD surgical tutorial sleeves. Sage has also created patterns for ties and scarves, sales conference signage, surgeon case presentation posters, and Flash animations used for product demonstrations.

For NASS, K2M’s largest trade show, Sage designed individual booth panels and created a three-dimensional direct mail piece. The goal was to increase attendance at their booth for the newest product line. The agency also designed and produced a three-ring binder for the product to hand to the doctors with all the product information in it.  For this one trade show, Sage designed, printed, and delivered at least 30 collateral or trade show pieces every year.

Since 2008, the agency has been managing all aspects of K2M’s public website. Sage has also designed and programmed a database-driven Extranet, where sales representatives can download all the latest collateral PDFs and catch up on the latest K2M videos.


With Sage's help, K2M has elevated its brand in the eyes of Orthopedic Surgeons around the world. The company's corporate sales and market capitalization has increased each year and the K2M sales force has a brand and collateral suite of materials that they can stand behind confidently.

Hide Full Case Study