Editor’s note: This story is part of our 2022 PharmaVoice 100 feature.
In Beth Crouse’s office is a coffee table book she wrote that documents her company’s unique approach to customer service. “The Guide to Creating Brand Fans,” she says, sets the philosophy for the work environment at 2nd Spark Consulting — to cultivate raving fans.
“Brand fans aren't created overnight,” says Crouse, CEO and co-founder of 2nd Spark, which defines itself as “a boutique customer engagement agency" that specializes in healthcare. “It takes thoughtful, authentic moments that keep customers coming back for more. This book is gifted to each 2nd Spark employee on their first day.”
A creative problem solver, Crouse is committed to increasing meaningful marketing experiences within the healthcare space. With a knack for connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated ideas to see the bigger picture, nominators say they are inspired by her ability to rally the team to bring epic ideas to life.
Crouse says she leads by example, striving to create a fun, healthy, happy and productive workplace while focusing on customer-centric experiences. Whether guiding her team or her clients, she knows it comes down to caring about the people.
“Success starts with caring. The best leaders are in it for the long game, not the quick wins.”
CEO and co-founder, 2nd Spark Consulting
2nd Spark team members say the culture Crouse has created — from COVID-19 family friendly initiatives to participation with diversity-aligned nonprofits — inspires them to think differently, care about the clients’ business in new ways and generate great work. They say Crouse “has big dreams, big visions and an even bigger heart, and she is a CEO who exemplifies the true brilliance that unfolds when leadership and love intersect — a philosophy that sparks ideas, inspiration and joy along the way.”
Crouse discusses what leadership means to her, her brand, and why a great working environment can lead to inspired work and, more importantly, inspired employees.
PharmaVoice: What initially drew you to the life sciences industry?
Beth Crouse: As one of the least customer-friendly industries, life sciences is left in the dust when it comes to customer engagement. I have a knack for spotting the potential — the blank canvas — in everything that surrounds me. I saw this as an opportunity to bring my unique gifts to customers — healthcare marketers. This inspired my company's mission to create more joyful and meaningful experiences for physicians and patients.
What new leadership skill did you hone over the past two years?
My leadership style is to leverage joy. My ability to lead with the heart has inspired others to want to work with and for me. By investing in my people, they invest themselves back in the business. The joyful energy and experiences I put out there come back to me like a boomerang, making me an unstoppable force, igniting and inspiring ideas everywhere I go.
If I were to sum up my leadership style in a phrase, it would read: ‘big visions, bigger heart.’ I’m on a mission to lead with head and heart while building incredible experiences for my team, clients and partners alike.
Success starts with caring. The best leaders are in it for the long game, not the quick wins. Whether guiding a team or clients, it comes down to caring about the people and their unique gifts. The business follows innately when you lead with head and heart. Take the time to create unforgettable moments for your team to show you truly care.
What keeps you up at night?
SFG is a mantra we use at 2nd Spark to describe the work and experiences we create for our customers. SFG stands for ‘so freaking good.’ It also stands for ‘Snackable. Fun. Genius.’ Everything we create must meet these standards to ensure we ‘wow’ our clients with brilliant work. As a visionary, I constantly see the potential of where we can go and what we can do better. This insatiable hunger to bring epic ideas to life in an SFG fashion often keeps me up at night.
What is the most important trend that is affecting your approach to business?
The best brands in the world today are less about selling products — they're all about creating a fantastic customer experience. Amazon's leading principle is ‘customer obsession.’ They define it as starting with the customer and working backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. This is the single most important area of focus for my business. While revenue is important, we're all about servicing our customers so well, they become 2nd Spark brand fans for life.
If you were a brand, what would your brand be?
Disney. Walt Disney once said, ‘When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.’ This resonates with me immensely. I love the incredible, thoughtful experiences Disney creates. Every detail is carefully put in place and well thought out, all with the goal of wowing and delighting their audiences.