Making Neurostimulation Mainstream
Halo Neuroscience is a neurotechnology company that strives to unlock human potential. Their first product, Halo Sport, is a neurostimulation device that helps people accelerate the improvement of physical performance. The technology is also in trials to determine potential medical applications.
We were introduced to Halo by Andreessen Horowitz; the company was newly formed and needed help launching out of stealth and generating interest in pre-orders from professional and amateur athletes. The problem was that neurostimulation was not exactly a popular or common technique among athletes. In fact, most of Halo’s target markets (including musicians, gamers, and everyday consumers) were skeptical of the technology.
We realized the best way to get in front of these skeptical niche audiences was via first-hand testimonials and demos by trusted community members. Because the Halo device was so striking in person and was already receiving praise from several of the athletes who had agreed to test it before its release, the Halo team was comfortable with sending devices out to select influencers in the athlete, musician, gamer, and biohacker communities. In addition to identifying ideal trial participants, we created a flexible process to facilitate the distribution of the devices, evaluate inbound trial requests, manage reviews and other output, and recall the devices.
Over the course of our three years of work with the company, we developed strong relationships with influential writers at publications that catered to the technology, science, consumer, and sports industries (including extremely niche blogs, podcasts, and magazines for each type of sport). We worked with Halo to craft targeted messaging and compelling storylines for each audience, relying heavily on customer and partner testimonials for validation.
In order to stand out in several new consumer markets, we demonstrated Halo’s expertise and leadership in neurotechnology by referencing the team’s scientific and technical backgrounds and novel product concept. We placed contributed articles from Halo’s CEO in TechCrunch and Quartz, and worked with the team to ideate, edit, and curate the company’s thought leadership blog, The Athlete’s Guide to the Brain. We also created content for the executives’ and company’s social media accounts to help streamline messaging and develop their reputations as sports science experts.
Our event strategy was to consistently place Halo on stages where they could reach sports executives and trainers. We also targeted select technology, culture, and sports industry events where Halo could appear on panels and provide scientific commentary.
Thanks to consistent media interactions and a steady stream of athlete partnerships and device trial testimonials, we secured regular coverage in top-tier technology, consumer, and sports publications, including print stories in Men’s Fitness, IEEE, and Fast Company; digital stories in Sports Illustrated, Shape Magazine, Inc, ESPN, CNET, and The Smithsonian; and a handful of appearances on national and international broadcasts.
We coached Halo through five major launches, including partnerships with the NFL, MLB (San Francisco Giants), and NBA (Oakland Warriors), and the general availability of Halo Sport.
We earned speaking opportunities at coveted events such as Collision, TechCrunch Disrupt New York, Hype Global Innovation in Sports Competition at the Rio Olympics, and SXSWSports, and attended the National Trainers Association and CES.
“‘Most people think the brain’s role in exercise has to do with the mechanics of precise skill, like shooting a free throw or putting a golf ball,’ Chao says. ‘And that’s true—skill is neurologically governed. But what about how strong we are? When people do strength training by lifting weights, they think it’s all about the muscles. But with repetition, you’re also training the brain to master those movements.’ In other words, strength isn’t just about how big your muscles are but how well you can control them. And the Halo Sport, Chao says, will sharpen that process and essentially make your workouts better and more efficient. As a result, you’ll get stronger and bigger a whole lot faster.”
“Neurologists say that Steph’s historic shooting owes itself to his … intensive ballhandling practice? That’s right. By training his mind to process faster, Curry frees up brain space for locating the rim. Dan Chao, CEO of neuroscience firm Halo, says, ‘When some things become so innate, it opens up your cognitive ability to appreciate different aspects of the game.'”