When federal management consulting veterans Greg Blaisdell and Jim Loreto founded Evoke Consulting in 2005, they set out to break the mold.
“At that time, if you were a management consultant and you wanted to advance in your career, you really needed to quit your job and move to another company,” Blaisdell said. “That was the way to move to a higher position, get different opportunities.”
Evoke would take a different approach, offering its consultants professional support, training and the opportunity to advance.
As Evoke rounds the corner on 15 years, with over 250 staffers and growing, the firm is celebrating the success of that initial vision. It recently rolled out a new brand image, with a refreshed logo and marketing materials that reflect that ongoing commitment to professionalism in the federal management consulting arena.
“We take pride in being a federal management consulting firm and not just labeled a ‘contractor.’ We hire smart, talented and motivated people that partner with our clients, supporting their most challenging initiatives that are mission focused,” Loreto said.
In an industry where skilled professionals find themselves job-hopping for advancement, the managing partners of Evoke have looked to build a culture of longevity.
“That was our big experiment: to create a place where people didn’t feel they needed to jump around in order to get a promotion or to work on different types of projects,” Blaisdell said.
The approach has paid off not just for the firm, which has attracted a loyal cadre of longtime consultants, but also for the federal agencies that trust Evoke to guide their projects through to successful completion.
“Because we take care of the employees, because we put the colleagues first, we have people who are going to run through brick walls for the client,” Blaisdell said.
Last year, the firm set out to recreate its image to better reflect the sense of closeness and community that underlies the Evoke brand promise.
“The rebrand really was a way to reintroduce the top priorities for us as a company, which are our colleagues, the clients and the community,” Blaisdell said.
Local design firm Merrick Towle Creative helped to create the new visual style, which rolled out in early September. The new look embraces a change in the corporate color palette and especially a refresh of the corporate logo or mark.
“If you look at our mark, it has three prongs, and three elements inside each one of those prongs,” Blaisdell said. “We view that as a representation of colleagues, clients and community. When you combine all those things, the impact of that combination is what Evoke stands for.”
The rebrand also makes creative use of color as a communications tool. The lettering isn’t black anymore but rather steel blue, a nod to the federal government’s embrace of blue as the symbol of strength and boldness. The new mark isn’t red or orange but something in between, a deliberate choice meant to embody a certain value set.
“It’s not an aggressive firetruck red,” Blaisdell said. “Because it’s a warm tone, it helps to embody what we have said for more than a decade: that Evoke is a home for federal management consultants.”
Consultants themselves have echoed that theme of home, proudly identifying themselves as “Evokers,” a community with a shared professional experience and a common basis of understanding.
The partners have strived to instill that sense of community across a geographically disparate workforce. While the Evoke team spans 20 states, corporate engagement efforts help to ensure everyone feels part of the larger enterprise. This extends to the broader community as well, with Evoke leaders embracing a wide range of philanthropic endeavors.
As a small sample, in the last year, the company has supported more than 12 philanthropic initiatives across the communities it serves nationwide. Additionally, 20 Evokers went to Puerto Rico, providing hands-on work supporting the rebuilding for a week.
“We view it as an obligation to support the communities we support. Often, the most fulfilling events are hands on, working as a team. We do it not just because it is the right thing to do; we do it because it is what should be done,” Loreto said.
The main focus meanwhile remains firmly fixed on supporting the consultants themselves. That was the point behind the initial experiment — to build a firm that gave its experts all the support and encouragement they needed to succeed and thrive — and it’s remained the driving impetus all along.
“We don’t just send a management consultant to a client engagement with nothing but their wits and their own experiences to draw from,” Loreto said. “Many competitors just view federal consulting as staff augmentation. We view our employees’ time at Evoke as an opportunity for career fulfillment. This can be through internal promotions or assignment to new projects that meet career path aspirations and customer demand. We have a methodology for how we deliver service to our clients and an education program that drives what we do here.”
Hard-pressed federal managers need consultants who can drive key end results, seeing through to completion projects that will help government run smarter, leaner and more cost effectively. The best way to deliver that, the partners argue, is to cultivate and nurture consultants who are ready and able to deliver.
“We are not just a caretaker of someone’s paycheck,” Blaisdell said. “You have a career at Evoke. That means that the content of the work is going to be interesting. There’s going to be training and professional development. You’re going to be surrounded by people who are as good or better than you. It’s going to force you to up your game — and you are going to enjoy that challenge.”