Starting a company has been exciting and daunting. While our company name is new to many of you, our team has evolved and grown within the digital industry for a long time. I like to say ParsonsTKO is a new firm that was 17 years in the making.
As an undergrad, I went to film school, back when making a film still used actual film, razors and hole punches on a Steenbeck for our “advanced” editing tools. While, I shot the first “digital video” for a senior thesis at Temple University—in 1999—I was only beginning to understand the impact “digital” would have across industries and eventually society. When I left undergrad I was not sure where I would fit within the film and creative industry, but I had a simple motto I still carry with me: make cool stuff and make a difference.
The digital space allows for my endless curiosity to be fulfilled; I get engrossed thinking through the application and use of technology, online tools, or working to frame an organizational identity by telling a unique story, then sifting through the metrics to learn how well a tactic is (or isn’t) working. Making cool things only sustains me somewhat though, my other passion is finding ways to try and improve the lives of others in this world, and with ParsonsTKO I get the chance to fully realize my motto by working across an amazing array of issues with our various and prospective clients.
As a Co-founder, I firmly believe that there is no ParsonsTKO without the “we”. I am grateful and fortunate to work with a team of owners and colleagues that are as passionate about their craft as I am, it makes every day exciting and educational. From my years of working in both filmmaking and digital communications, I know that experience matters, not just in terms of time spent learning a craft but also in how something feels and impacts you. My co-founders and I use our experiences from years of working across a wide range of projects, products, and industries as a lens in which to create great experiences and results for our clients.
As you get to know us better over the coming weeks, months and years you will hear quite a bit about our approach to right-fit solutions, change management, and data capture & analysis. These elements get to the heart of why we launched a new agency, now. While we are often contracted to run a single project we are keenly aware of how the work we are doing with our clients is part of a larger digital system–or ecosphere, if you will. As a company we work to ensure strategic vision is never lost in an isolated effort and will always consult on the current efforts with an eye to the constantly evolving future.
In the technology sector there is a term; “best in class” or “best in breed” for solutions and tools lauded as the apex of an industry. Many organizations focus on finding and obtaining these tools for their perceived value and because of the reputational security of having made a defensible choice. (The tech world has long used the phrase “no one ever got fired for buying IBM” to refer to this). While these industry leading tools are powerful, they also tend to be expensive to buy and operate, and often times, complex to learn. They’re far from ideal as entry-point solutions for nimble organizations evolving into new strategies and experimenting with tactics. While these tools might be the right choice for some organizations, they are not the only option. This is why we believe in identifying and implementing right-fit solutions—solutions that align budgets, staff capacity, time, and organizational goals with need. One thing we often hear is a requirement for a system that will “grow with us”, but what we’ve found is that buying too big up front leaves little budget for system configurations and weakens adoption. Given the ability to move data more easily in and out of systems these days there should be less worry about finding a “final system” that can eventually do everything and a more concentrated effort on getting a tool in place that will make you and your team more effective, immediately, and that leaves budget for future needs. Software products are always changing, and we want to help plan for technical evolution.
Just like many of our clients, ParsonsTKO has a theory of change developed through years of working on the front lines of industry and organizational change. While the obvious parts of our work involve communications, design, technical and data strategy, planning, and execution, our goal is to have deep impacts on not just our client’s brand identity but also their operational approaches and impact in the world. To help with this we work to manage the impact of change within organizations, too often that impact is scary, hard to master, and creates disruption—which is not always as cool as the buzz word seems to imply. Change management is generally not on the front of people’s mind when confronting choices of how technology can map to goals or what is the right software or tool to move forward with, but, for our team, it is always top of mind and a key aspect of our work.
Data capture & analysis
The rise of digital tools and platforms have brought about an explosion of data, with every interaction measurable, all of it added up into countless metrics. This is extending beyond virtual and into real life applications with tools like fitbit, Garmin devices or even smart phone tracking. As a triathlete, I love collecting and reviewing my performance data–speed, distance, calories burned–all used in an attempt to get myself across the finish line faster or go further–and, it keeps me honest with myself about how well I am doing in achieving my goals. In the digital space, the same tactics and premise apply, just a little less fear of cars on the road is involved…In the right hands, metrics can be used to guide tactics towards strategic success, find ways to improve user experiences, content strategies and identify the right pathways to broaden your reach and encourage your users to deeper engagement. Understanding and sharing your data with your teams can create efficiencies and show you where to push harder or know when to pull back.
So why a new digital agency and why now? Because change required it. Digital transformation is happening now–whether you choose to be an active participant or not, the industry marches on–there is an explosion of outreach platforms, SaaS tools, connected devices–it can be overwhelming, we understand that and can help bring focus. We are a dedicated team that loves working in this industry, we enjoy working with each other and we would love the opportunity to talk with you about your organization’s goals. And, if you know anyone or an organization that could benefit from talking with us, please don’t hesitate to introduce us!