SocialxDesign, a new strategy firm focused on businesses, government agencies and NGOs, launched Tuesday.
Pronounced Social “by” Design, the firm is the brainchild of Toby Chaudhuri, a D.C.-based public affairs consultant, and Giovanni Rodriguez, a former partner at Eastwick Communications. The two met working on a 2011 White House initiative encouraging citizens to collaborate with federal and local elected officials through open space meetings.
Along with Barbara Bates, cofounder and CEO of Eastwick, they say the goal of SocialxDesign is to take clients’ field operations online through social networking, while also increasing offline engagement.
“Our approach increases the impact, while decreasing costs, of a campaign by empowering donors, surrogates, organizers, volunteers and other supporters at every level of the organization to take part in the work,” Chaudhuri told C&E. “The social design creates a ‘network effect’ through a series of online and offline activities that grow exponential support over time.”
The firm launches with three locations—one in D.C., another in San Francisco and one in Silicon Valley.
SocialxDesign boasts connections to Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab, which has used behavior design to assist Facebook and Instagram in optimizing their social technologies. Facebook collaborated with the lab when it shifted from college campuses to a wider adult audience, and now Chaudhuri and his partners plan to introduce the new marketing approach to the public and NGO sectors.
Chaudhuri says Dashboard—the Obama campaign’s online organizing network—is a simplified example. While it expands the reach of a campaign’s influencers and provides real-time data about interactions, it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.
“What we’re talking about is much bigger than that,” Chaudhuri says. “It’s not just about the technology.”
Chaudhuri wouldn’t detail the firm’s clients, but says SocialxDesign is already working with one national campaign, in addition to a handful of NGOs and business startups.