Increasing online visibility and engagement for the Spencer Foundation by over 300%

When you are weighed down by 50 years of history, it can sometimes be difficult to articulate exactly what you stand for. This was the challenge facing the Spencer Foundation, the leading funder of education research in the United States since 1971.

Based in Chicago, Spencer wanted to make their work more accessible and transparent, and to better communicate the ongoing impact they have on policy and ultimately in transforming lives.

But their vision was clouded by trying to say too many things to too many people and their message was becoming diluted.

Enter Wondersphere.

The Spencer Foundation came to us with a simple brief: modernize the website.

We saw this as an opportunity to do not only this, but also help the foundation simplify their message and make it more powerful.

“We find that large organisations often get caught up trying to say too much, repeatedly to everyone. We try to focus them on who they are talking to at any one time and making that message very simple and easily accessible,” says Francis Court, Wondersphere founder.

Experience has taught us that sometimes you need an outsider to help you see your organization or business more clearly - and that’s what we helped Spencer do.


So, how did we do it?

After some head scratching, creative thinking and lots of coffee, we came to the conclusion that the goal of research is essentially to answer fundamental questions.

We got our client to think about the important questions which Spencer’s work could help answer. This became the starting point for a new, joined-up communications plan.

This concept was reflected in how we updated the website too - the sections open with a powerful question that truly connects Spencer’s work with its audience.

Holding on to the past.

Spencer’s brand was already unique and reflected their history. 
This equity was not something we wanted to do away with completely.

We gave the brand a fresh look that felt both new and familiar. We believe that brand evolution is about holding on to things that have relevance, letting go of things that don’t and giving some things new meaning.

With that in mind, we took some of Spencer’s recognizable assets and gave them a modern interpretation yet still nodded to their noteworthy past.

We got technical too.

Whenever a client comes to Wondersphere, we ask them to tell us what they would really love their website to do, putting all practicality to one side. We then come up with a realistic solution.

For Spencer this meant embedded functionality that helped them automate time-draining processes, giving them more time to focus on their community. This included centralizing their communications, newsletters and database, and integrating it with social media, which was part of their strategy to drive traffic back to the website.

Eventually, the website will help them have a two-way dialogue with their audience, not a one-way lecture. Our bespoke solutions help clients address their pain points and ultimately makes things more efficient and easier to manage. And that makes for happier clients.

Speaking of happy.

Spencer loved what we did for them. If they didn’t know exactly where they wanted to go, what Spencer got back was the destination.

Not only did they get a beautiful website (if we do say so ourselves), they also got a fresh brand that came to life across all their communication touchpoints. Our view is that a website is not static; we see it as a living, changing piece of Spencer’s organisation that will grow and adapt with them. That’s why we’ve been retained by Spencer as their branding and communications agency. But don’t just take our word for it:

“I have worked with many agencies and have never felt so much like a partner in the work. Every aspect of Wondersphere’s service is first-rate; from their technical expertise and strategic leadership to their project management. We asked them to deliver a new website on a tight deadline and without much oversight. They over delivered in every phase of the project. Wondersphere has made me a more successful communications director, and I can’t recommend them highly enough.” says Emily Krone Phillips, Spencer Director of Communications