The Matterlab Method: How Communication Leads to Impact

by | December 16, 2021

Matterlab is a team of educators, communications experts, and creative strategists. We’ve come together out of a shared passion for impact-driven work and a desire to help education organizations, nonprofits, and foundations reach their potential. 

We’re an agency of non-agency people. By that, we mean that we work to disrupt the traditional agency model to connect the right clients with the right people, ensuring we are providing the greatest value, and empowering creative talent across the country. We build engagement teams with the specific talent and expertise for every project. Our full-time team members lead strategy, oversight, and project management. We source and staff creative talent who are subject-matter experts, mission-aligned, and driven by impact. Together with our clients, we launch strategies and content that will positively impact children and families.

We know that complex problems require complex solutions. And complex problems are what we get to solve alongside our clients every day. Oftentimes, these problems require bold approaches. Audacious Philanthropy is one framework used by many nonprofits and social enterprises for solving social problems. The approach, informed by 15 world-changing initiatives over the past century, includes: 

  1. Developing a shared understanding of a problem
  2. Bringing stakeholders together in pursuit of a common goal
  3. Identifying key milestones that indicate progress is being made
  4. Designing strategies that leaders can adopt, scale, and scale
  5. Considering both the “product” and the “promotion” of that “product” as equally important

What do each of these steps have in common? Communicating.

Communicating your ideas, goals, milestones, strategies, and solutions — to the right people, at the right time, and in the right ways — is critical to making an impact. Without effective communication, you simply won’t get where you’re going.

Why Communication Is Key

You could have the most incredible program, inspirational goal, or innovative idea, but if no one knows about it, how far can you get? Communication leads to impact because it provides the through-line — and powers the heartbeat — of your organization. It is what ultimately brings your vision and mission to life.

Example in action:

Following a strategic planning intensive with the Texas-based Holdsworth Center, Aldine Independent School District engaged Matterlab to roll out its new strategic direction. As part of the rollout, we rebranded the entire urban school district (the 9th largest in Texas), two of its turnaround schools, and four of its choice schools (and counting!). The work wasn’t just about the rebrands. There has to be a strong why. And that why comes from strategic plans, which become the bedrock of these types of partnerships. Together we created the strategic plan book, one-page plan, website, and more — all of which are still used to this day (two years later) to guide the district on its path forward. The leadership team at Aldine ISD knew that having a new strategic plan wasn’t enough. When the plan gets approved, the real work begins, and effective communication can make or break it.

The Matterlab Method: Communicating for Impact

At Matterlab, we help education leaders clarify their organizational identity and communicate its impact. We do that through a unique approach that is rooted in identity.

The Clarify Process

First, we clarify your identity through a discovery process in close partnership with you — because you can’t outsource your identity:

  • Identity Interviews: We conduct interviews with key internal and external stakeholders to understand the current reality, assets, and aspirations, leading to usable insights that drive the identity work ahead.
  • Workshop: In collaboration with your team (and ideally in person), we align the core components of your strategic plan with target audiences and stakeholder insights to codify your identity.
  • Strategy: We determine the specific goals for each audience — what we want them to know, feel, and do.

The Creative Process

Then, we can begin to communicate your impact together, by developing the creative content you need to successfully navigate through change. This can look like:

  • A new brand
  • A strategic plan rollout
  • An executive thought leadership strategy
  • And more

Through our process, we’re able to be standardized in our method, yet flexible in our approach to meet every partner’s needs and goals. Want to learn more about communicating for impact? 


Connect your work to your why.

Share This