Meet Christopher T. Spiro, the founding Brand Architect™ who placed his name on the door, gave us our jobs, and set new standards in marketing, advertising, public relations and, of course, brand architecture here in Southwest Florida and beyond. With two to four hours of sleep per night (maybe), fancy socks that would make NFL’s Charles James jealous and an office that looks like he robbed the University of Florida bookstore, Chris is not considered a legend yet, but trust us, he’s working on it. His trademarked ideas and campaigns that transitioned into awards have made him a CEO and Chief Creative Officer with whom nationwide businesses want to join forces. But it’s his 30-year journey that is living proof of what it means to make it in Southwest Florida — an area that not everyone is convinced has true potential.
From Rookie to Boss Man
The son, grandson and great-grandson of a printer, Chris often says that he was destined to have printer ink running through his veins. So, it’s no wonder where he gets his business sense and value for quality work. In fact, he launched his advertising career in a space adjacent to his father’s print shop in Cape Coral. Two years later, his agency and design service, The Spiro Group, Inc., became Spiro & Waites when he partnered with his friend and mentor, William Waites.
By the time that Bill was ready to retire in 2002, Chris was more than prepared to go off on his own, thanks to mentoring from Bill and two other partners who are affectionately known as “The Steves.” That is when Spiro & Associates Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations was born. Chris later added “Brand Architecture” and trademarked “Brand Architects” to demonstrate just how much the Agency plays a role in every Spiro & Associates-generated campaign (why, thank you, Chris!)
From Business Owner to Award Winner
Chris’s out-of-the-box innovation and sense of urgency — meaning answering clients’ calls anytime between the hours of 5 a.m. and 11:30 p.m., as well as committing to a same-day return policy on emergency jobs — earned his company hundreds of honors, awards and accolades locally, regionally, nationally and globally.
In 2017 alone, Chris and his band of merry brand builders took home 16 International Davey Awards, 26 Pinnacle and Summit Awards by the Lee County Building Industry Association (BIA) — the same organization that named him “Associate Marketing Representative of the Year” six times, nine Sand Dollar Awards, and 18 Southeast Building Conference awards — the largest amount for any single 2017 honoree, as well as led the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association to a 23% increase in membership.
Let’s not forget that Chris was named the 2016 Distinguished Entrepreneur of Southwest Florida by the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University, was honored with the Sam Walton Business Leader award, and made The News-Press’s “People to Watch” list.
From Florida Resident to Community Leader
Chris is a Florida man through and through. He has been living in Cape Coral since the city opened to residents in 1970. He attended the University of Florida, becoming a fraternity brother and college football aficionado. But anyone who has ever met Chris knows he cannot simply be a community member or Bull Gator. Rather, he must completely immerse himself in the task at hand.
So, he became a public speaker, conducting engagements for colleges and universities, business groups, real estate events, Lee County Public Schools gatherings, the Disney Institute, Women’s Council of Realtors, the Ford Motor Company’s Next Generation Learning initiative for students and the local STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative for high school students. But that did not seem to be enough, so he began serving on boards of directors and executive committees, such as the Chamber of Commerce of Cape Coral, the Horizon Council, Cape Coral Council for Progress, Lee BIA’s Sales and Marketing Council, the Southwest Florida Gator Club and most recently, Florida’s Southern Gulf Chapter of the American Red Cross — you know, nothing major.
Although Chris’s passion for Cape Coral earned him “Citizen of the Year” in 2004, he wanted to help children at risk in the region’s biggest city, so he cofounded “SOS: Save Our Summer – Feed the Cape” in 2013. The last event brought 300 business leaders, nonprofit organizations, city officials and others together to raise over $50,000 and donate over 50,000 lbs. of food to Cape Coral children and their families throughout the summer, as many of them rely on free or reduced lunch from the public school system — just a few examples of Chris being Chris.
From Busy to Hectic Schedule
As you could probably imagine, Chris’s schedule is a hectic one — so hectic that his desktop, tablet and smartphone cannot keep up with his calendar, creating problems that are far beyond a former IBM software engineer’s expertise. But that doesn’t stop Chris from plugging away, so you are in luck. Call him, text him and stop by anytime to pick his brain on branding, philanthropy and the Florida Gators.