Greenhouse Management: What does bringing brands like Nexus, RBI and others under the new Prospiant umbrella mean?
Tom Vezdos: While we had these different brands, sometimes they had these specialties or were associated with certain markets. So, along with the specialty, they had adjacent markets that they worked in. What happened is that we saw how different brands were more connected to other markets than others and we just wanted to try and unify all of the businesses that anyone in the agriculture technology business might know. There are shared technologies between different companies that don’t just sit on an island themselves. This is about putting this all together as one company for clarification for the customer, but also to show that each business is working on controlled environment agriculture or the processing side of the business.
GM: Why this moment for the Prospiant launch? And what steps do you take to do it?
TV: It’s probably been in the works for a year and half. The biggest challenge is that we don’t leave behind what we’ve all been known for. That’s probably the biggest concern, right? But we were reaching a tipping point where it was becoming more confusing to continue to go to market with essentially six different brands than it was to just change it. We did a lot of market research. We talked to our customer base. We talked to our vendor base. We asked our individual companies. We wanted to know from each of them what was important to them, what each brand meant to them and moved to consolidate all of that information. That was about nine months.
And then we had to decide, who was our target audience? We have some very large companies, very small companies and new companies and companies that have been around for decades. It’s a wide swatch of audiences, so we had to make sure we have a brand that appeals to everybody and ask why people do business with us. And, at the end of the day, it’s an agriculture business, but also a technology business.
GM: What has doing business during the pandemic been like?
TV: It’s always a challenge. The one benefit we did get out of these days and times are that people are a lot more willing to communicate over the phone and via email. Sometimes it’s actually easier to get ahold of people via a phone call than it was historically. So much of what we did before was face-to-face. And that’s great. But people have become accepting of communication via other means now.