La Piana Consulting Launches New Website
How Do We Look?
Everything is a little brighter around here these days! This summer, we are putting a fresh face forward with new branding and a completely redesigned website and blog — all reaffirming our commitment to helping nonprofits and foundations think ahead to stay ahead.
Over the past year, we have watched the sector evolve, examined our role in it, and identified new ways to communicate the kinds of partnerships we want to have with nonprofits and foundations like yours. In this post, we invite you to peek behind the scenes and share in some of the lessons we learned from this process, and we invite your comments and feedback.
Committing time and resources to a rebranding effort in today’s volatile economy required a real leap of faith. Although we have never shied from making investments in infrastructure necessary to continue to deliver high-quality services, we have also traditionally been more concerned with substance than with packaging (“more steak than sizzle,” one might say). Add to this the lingering effects of the recession on the sector, and the decision to allocate resources to choosing new colors and refreshing our messaging was not an easy one. But we are acutely aware that changing times demand more sophisticated ways of communicating, especially when it comes to the power of visual communication. We have also learned that this process entails much more than a simple brand face-lift, and taking on this work has ultimately given us a valuable opportunity to examine, hone, and reaffirm our commitment to our clients and to the sector.
Assessment is a first step of branding, much as it is in many consulting engagements. An organization must know who it is, what it does well, and what it does less well in order to make strategic decisions about its future. Working with The Brand Consultancy gave us a rare turn-the-tables opportunity to be the client and benefit from the role only a third-party consultant can play in eliciting candid evaluations of our work from key stakeholders. Anonymous responses to these stakeholder interviews were often revealing, sometimes surprising or amusing (who knew our reputation had qualities of both President Obama and Winnie the Pooh!). In many ways, the value in such findings is directly proportional to the level of discomfort they inspire. We are indebted to this process for not only affirming our strengths, but for pointing out hard truths about where we need to improve in order to be the firm we aspire to be.
On Project Management
Organizations are often challenged to set aside staff time for investments in systems and infrastructure; keeping up with programmatic work is typically more pressing on a day-to-day basis and can push other priorities to the back burner. We, too, had to balance our rebranding and website efforts with our client commitments (our “program,” if you will). Some of the ways we were able to keep client work at the fore yet continue to make progress on these internal projects included: assigning small teams (no more than 3-4 people) to specific tasks with limited decision-making authority, reserving major decisions for our monthly management team meetings, and providing staff-wide information-sharing opportunities on a roughly quarterly basis.
In addition to making the time, we also learned about the importance of taking the time. It has been more than a year since we began our rebranding discussions, and having chosen to develop marketing collateral and other materials on our own, it took us longer than anticipated to get everything ready for the big reveal. As our expectations bumped up against reality, we had to adjust our timeline and make some necessary trade-offs. For example, allowing ourselves more time to complete this work has had the disadvantage of making it difficult to maintain momentum, but the advantage is that we have been able to test and evolve our ideas at a pace that is conducive to reflection and learning.
One of our greatest struggles, particularly with respect to revamping the website, has been learning how to explain what has become second nature to us. At first blush, it seems like articulating our approach to consulting and our range of services would (and should) be easy, but similar to how the most common household word can become strangely unfamiliar upon too many repetitions, when we stop to examine what we do, it can be difficult to get it to sound quite right. This became apparent not only when writing copy, but when determining the very architecture of the website. This experience has challenged us to conceive of our work is new ways, to think more critically about how 21st Century audiences seek and process information, and to be more precise communicators.
This rebranding process has also invited us to retell our story: the story of who we are, what we do, and why this work is so important to us. The section below introduces some of the key threads of this story that we look forward to sharing with you, with our clients, and with the sector.
Collaborate. Create. Accelerate.
These three words offer a short-hand for much of what we stand for at La Piana Consulting.
- Collaborate. The word “collaborate” is well-worn in the social sector. But for us, collaboration isn’t just a concept, strategy, or area of expertise. It is integral to who we are and all we do, from how we partner with clients to how we work with one another as a consulting team.
- Create. We embrace the art of consulting. Our team has a depth and diversity of experience that uniquely enables us to create effective engagements to meet even the most challenging client needs. We are equally comfortable with structure as with fluidity, balancing both to achieve outstanding outcomes.
- Accelerate. In a rapidly-changing world, acceleration alone is commonplace, accelerating results more rare. We have always been inspired by the successes of our clients, and we look forward to sharing these clients stories on our new website — after all, advancing their work is our job
We hope you will explore our new website, connect with us on social media, and either get to know us or perhaps reacquaint yourself with our services as we continue to live our commitment to the social sector.
Don’t forget to add your comments or share this post with colleagues to whom it might be of interest. Thank you!