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The Packard Foundation

A Strategy to Help a Leading Global Philanthropy Activate its New Vision & Values

The David & Lucile Packard Foundation is one of America’s largest family philanthropies, working with grantees and partners since 1964 to advance solutions to a range of issues—particularly climate change and reproductive rights. Led by new President, Nancy Lindborg, Packard sought to translate its strategic plan into a brand strategy for expressing a new vision for impact and deepening engagement with stakeholders—carrying forward Packard’s history of impact and activating a new generation of leaders with a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. That’s when the Foundation asked Constructive to lead a deep-dive into the heart and soul of the organization to help them better understand themselves and align on their future. Together, we solicited input from every corner of their ecosystem to learn how people understood the Packard Foundation, how they connected to it, and their hope for its future.

Brand Research

Establishing our Baseline by Surveying the Brand Landscape

Prior to our partnership, The Packard Foundations had announced a new vision and strategy that promised to significantly change how programs were structured, how they approached partnerships, and how billions of dollars in funding would be leveraged. Staff, grantees, and partners were understandably excited, unsure, and a bit nervous about what the changes meant for them and the issues they were committed to. To understand the current state of the brand, we used a range of research methods, starting with a broad survey of 80 Packard Foundation staff, Board members, grantees, and partners soliciting feedback on their beliefs, perceptions, and attitudes, We then analyzed Foundation communications, media coverage, and Packard’s grantee perception report. What emerged was a complex picture of a brand with tremendous strengths and some tensions that needed to be understood in order to create an authentic brand that would align culture and communications with the Foundation’s vision for impact.

Stakeholder Engagement

Inviting Diverse Perspectives to Speak on the Foundation’s New Vision & Strategy

The Packard Foundation—in its staff, partnerships, and programmatic work—is diverse. To deepen our understanding of the breadth of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives across Packard’s brand’s ecosystem, we embarked on an extensive listening tour. Building on learnings from our brand research, Constructive’s strategy team conducted a series of 63 hour-long interviews with Board members, staff, grantees, and partners around the world. These eye-opening conversations added a rich tapestry of personal experience and perceptions, with stakeholders sharing their appreciation and respect for the Packard Foundation, their hopes and aspirations for the future, and at times, their frustrations. New vision and its implications for their work. Our key takeaway was that for Packard to embody a brand that lived up to its lofty ideals in the eyes of its stakeholders and realize it’s new vision for impact, the Foundation needed to close gaps in understanding and, in some cases, trust.

Brand Workshops

Diving Deeper into Staff’s Aspirations, Expertise, and Experiences

Equipped with months of learnings about Packard Foundation—and still countless questions—we led two days of collaborative brand strategy workshops to engage staff on key issues and deepen understanding. On day one, we turned our gaze inward, creating space for people to share their experiences, and understandings. Staff expressed their hopes and fears connected to the Foundation’s new vision and strategy, articulated what achieving Packard’s mission meant to them, and explored how Packard’s values showed up in the day-to-day—and where they sometimes fell short. Staff articulated their aspirational goals for how equity would show up in Packard’s grants and programs, relationships, communications, and operations—and what actions needed to be taken to achieve them. Hundreds of Post-Its and hours of engaging conversations later, both we and workshop participants wrapped up the day with loads of insights, a lot to think about, and another day of workshops to dive more deeply into the Packard Foundation.

Brand Workshops

Defining the Packard Foundation Within Its Impact Ecosystem

On day two of our workshops, we and Packard’s team first focused our attention on understanding external audiences, from grantees and investees to philanthropic peers and government officials. To help us build a brand that would both resonate with and be valued by audiences, Staff worked in teams to co-create audience profiles with empathy maps that detailed their needs, pain points, goals, actions, and mindsets. The results established a human-centered lens for deepening brand relationships and working together to make progress on important issues. We explored how greater transparency will show up in Packard’s increased emphasis on trust-based philanthropy.  Staff then collaboratively defined the roles that Packard plays in advancing its mission and the nature of its work—working through exercises that articulated the need for, value propositions, and impacts of each of the Foundation’s areas of activity.

Brand Assessment

Connecting the Dots to Guide the Future of the Packard Foundation Brand

Throughout the discovery phase, our team documented findings in a research database, organizing information into key themes to insights. Once completed, strategists analyzed volumes of quantitative and qualitative research and created a Brand Assessment that connects the dots from where the Packard Foundation has been, the current moment, and where they’re going. Our detailed report elevates the key intersectional themes that define the significant opportunities, challenges, and open questions facing the Foundation in building a cohesive brand identity aligned with its new strategy—providing them with the insights and recommendations to leverage their strengths, understand brand tensions, successfully navigate operational shifts, activate their values and DEI commitments, and sustain staff and stakeholder buy-in throughout the process. 

Brand Strategy

Building a Brand Strategy to Carry the Packard Foundation Forward

After reviewing our Brand Assessment with Packard’s leadership and refining our thinking, we were now set to develop the strategy to focus the Foundation’s work to align its culture, communications, and the experiences people have with the organization’s vision, values, and brand promises. Our brand strategy articulates Packard Foundation’s mission, beliefs and guiding principles, establishes audience profiles to focus brand activity on advancing shared goals and meeting their needs, and establishes both the personality of the Packard Foundation brand and the experiences they seek to cultivate. The results lay the foundation for how to activate Packard’s new vision and strategy—articulating an identity that both understood and lived within the Foundation to create organizational cohesion; and then projected outward to effectively engage audiences by expressing the key pillars of who The Packard Foundation is, what they do, and why it matters.

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