Our rigorous and empathetic style centers on listening and focuses on creating clarity and alignment across an organization. We call it “design therapy.”
Talie Smith smiling at a work session with others around a table.

Working With Us

Our approach goes deeper than a logo or message or CMS platform. While these things are vitally important, we must begin with a clearly defined story. No matter the project — website, marketing, or brand — we always start with understanding and clarifying an organization’s vision, audiences, personality, strategic priorities, and its biggest barriers to growth. We start at the center and work our way out.

The people inside an organization are perhaps the most critical audience because they contribute directly to the mission and are its biggest evangelists. But if they’re not aligned with the vision and story, that can be a big barrier.

We’re experts at change management

When things change – new leadership, vision, or the world around us shifts – it can lead to identity crises inside an organization that we see as an opportunity to rethink the core narrative — the brand story.

Our specialty is working in the complexity of change to make something exquisitely effective and beautiful as a result that the entire organization stands behind. We call it “design therapy” because our approach is to help people open up and overcome barriers by getting to the root cause in a safe and inclusive environment. We create time and space for this work throughout the project to ensure the entire organization comes along with us.

We customize our engagement to each client

We are intentional about everything — from the values we live by, to the rigorous and empathetic engagement style we’ve honed over a decade, to who we work with. Our standards are high for our team — and our client’s teams as well. We leave our egos at the door and strive to be warm, inclusive, vulnerable, empathetic, collaborative, and fun.


Who we work with

Billboard for Third Nature
Oregon Community Foundation logo over photo of people walking
Berkeley Lab logo over building photo
Stanford Giving logo over photo of marching band

Smith & Connors was such a good fit in part because of the approach we took in the project. It required removing the sense of urgency, breathing through challenging moments and tasks, being inclusive of many ideas, and supporting diverse approaches. We shared values that truly added to the ease of working with them and the quality of the end project.

Headshot of Carol Cheney

Our Values

Everything we do is guided by our core values. We aren’t in this to just make cool stuff. People come first — you, your audiences, our team. The experience starts there. Our three partners founded Smith & Connors a decade ago with a mission to help values-driven institutions become more effective in their brand and communications through these values:

Let’s make something great together.