SMITH & ADAMS
Storytelling with a purpose
How We work
With decades of individual experience in the technology industry, Carolyn and Michael joined forces three years ago to combine content and design that takes key audiences on a journey from doubt to execution.
“Everything is nothing, with a twist.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
Michael has 30 years of technology marketing, communications, and thought leadership experience. Working with CXOs and board members, he distills complex business problems into clear voice and visibility programs that create market awareness and generate demand. Michael was part of an elite team at Cisco that developed thought leadership content used by CEO and Chairman John Chambers to position the company as a leader at important market transitions. More recently, he positioned Pryon CEO Igor Jablokov as an AI visionary to garner industry-wide visibility for the company, and established a full marketing program at AgilePQ. Unfortunately, Michael’s artistic ability stops at drawing 2-D airplanes!
Carolyn is a master of design and a pleasure to work with. She has more than 25 years of agency, company, and freelance experience. Carolyn’s award-winning work spans the technology, entertainment, video game, and software industries. Most important, her design helps businesses by establishing strong brands, amplifying key messages, and resonating with target audiences. You would never know it by looking at her work, but Carolyn is self-taught. Early in her career, an Art Director commented that her work was “free spirited.” She was concerned at the time, but now knows that is her “secret weapon!”
How We Work
For Carolyn and Michael, clients are partners. They understand and love technology, know how to navigate large and complex organizations, achieve executive buy in and support, and consistently deliver high-quality work. The rare times when one is up and the other is down, they support and encourage each other. In short, we’ll do everything in our power to remove the burden from your shoulders so you can focus on the next item on your to-do list.
Employee Engagement Best Practices
The technology industry is already fast paced and ever changing. When you throw in a global pandemic and the impact of climate change, even the most seasoned tech workers can become anxious, confused, and fearful. Creating an employee engagement platform is a good idea any time, however, companies that do so in uncertain times will experience even greater benefits. These include improved productivity, quality, and innovation, a stronger more defined culture, and increased business agility and resiliency.
The key is to deliver clear and consistent executive communications through a strategic and integrated platform. Here are five best practices to help you get started. Please reach out if you have questions or would like to learn more.
The main goal is for employees to understand, embrace, and act by being connected, engaged, and motivated.
Leverage the strengths of your culture and model how you want employees to behave.
Be clear, honest, sincere, and realistic – don’t be a cheerleader, ignore the challenges, or tell employees what you think they want to hear. The rules of good communication still apply.
Find the right balance for frequency, consistency, and content based on what is happening in the world, industry, and your company. Acknowledge difficulties and celebrate successes. Don’t just communicate when things are challenging—effective engagement is ongoing.
Include metrics and visuals. Both data points and design increase impact, engagement, and clarity.
DEUCE stands for Doubt, Explanation, Understanding, Commitment, and Execution.
Think about DEUCE as an algorithm for creating content that achieves business goals time and time again. Developed and honed during his 10 years at Cisco creating presentations and white papers with industry thought leaders, DEUCE is the cerebral journey audiences experience when reading and viewing content developed by Carolyn and Michael.
The key to DEUCE is a framework for organizing content into a cohesive story. It is like SCIPAB but more effective at engaging audiences and taking them from point A (doubt) to point B (execution or action). The components of the framework are situation, challenge, for the situation, challenge, opportunity, solution, benefits, examples, and call to action.
In addition to compelling audiences to act, DEUCE increases content effectiveness, ensures consistency, and streamlines development. Following our proven process also reduces costs and shortens timelines.
AgilePQ secures IoT devices to keep companies and governments safe today and safe tomorrow. Carolyn and Michael developed a voice and visibility strategy for the company and are executing the individual marketing programs and projects. These include launching a new website to support the company’s fundraising efforts, establishing a new brand, redesigning the logo, developing graphics for the social channels, creating functional templates, and writing several thought leadership papers.
At Cisco, Michael was part of an elite team that created thought leadership materials used by CEO and Chairman John Chambers to position the company as a leader at important market transitions. He also partnered with the company’s Chief Futurist, Dave Evans, and other industry consultants to develop thought leadership presentations, white papers, and two books that explored the impact of technology on business three to five years in the future. This content was key to generating good will from Cisco’s customers that resulted in hundreds of millions in revenue.
Pryon is an AI startup focused on augmented intelligence and knowledge management. Our work helped secure a $25M Series A round, generated wide market visibility, and was instrumental in CB Insights naming Pryon to its annual Top 100 AI Company list. Guided by Carolyn’s branding, we built two websites, created numerous keynote presentations, and wrote company overviews, white papers, news releases, and social posts.
Snowflake is the only data platform built for the cloud. Within two weeks of joining the company as Head of Global Public Sector, Jeff Frazier was asked to give an industry update to the executive leadership team. Knowing he had to hit a “home run” in his first “at bat,” Jeff reached out to Michael and Carolyn. Michael applied the DEUCE system to create the storyline while Carolyn created and polished the graphics. The result was enthusiastic executive support, the go-ahead for his plan, and a comment from one of the executives, “I wish you were here two years ago.”
Content + Creative:
Content creation and Creative Direction, front and back end development for the launch of agilepq.com
Development of Pryon’s
UI/UX Design System
Book: Orchestrating Transformation: How to Deliver Winning Performance with a Connected Approach to Change
Article: What Politicians Don’t Understand
About The AI Debate
Culture Shift: Next-Generation Government
Refreshed and refocused AgilePQ’s
unique visual identity
Content + Creative:
Content creation and Creative Direction, front and back end development for the launch of pryon.com
The Internet of Everything: How More Relevant and Valuable Connections Will Change the World