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  • Luca Penati

We turned 1 year old: what I’ve learned so far.

Last November, when I launched PENATI AND PARTNERS, I had coffees (real coffee, not virtual coffee) with friends and former colleagues. During one of these conversations, at WeWork (imagine that!) I got a bit of smart, straightforward advice: "Just survive the first year, then everything else will come."


Twelve months later, I am happy to report that I indeed survived, and 2020 and many challenges aside, I’ve loved it. I have always liked to explore, learn, and try new things. There were plenty. But more importantly, I have loved my clients and the fantastic projects that I have had a chance to work on. I am grateful they believed in my ideas.


Whether they were agency principals or C-level executives at startups, I am glad that I could partner with them on creating a strategy that helped stand out and stay relevant during these challenging times.

I was right when I saw an opportunity to work with both agencies and brands.
  • For agencies, I helped CEOs, principals, or general managers with strategic planning, go-to-market strategies, or drive some of those critical strategic projects that are always getting pushed to the next "month" because there's never enough time.

  • For brands, I mainly worked with startups' founders and mid-size companies CEOs to help them navigate today's complex world of branding, marketing and PR. There's so much going on, and it can be overwhelming for a startup founder to know what they should focus on. I basically act as an interim CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and CCO (Chief Communications Officer) and work closely and collaboratively to develop the right brand strategy, the brand narrative, articulate the purpose, the vision for the company, helping them identify what's essential and what's not, crafting the right marketing and comms plan—building the foundations to succeed while saving money and time.

And a big plus is that I had the chance to work with many companies and organizations that make the world better.

Some of this year’s highlights include:

  • We designed a brand strategy for a blockchain startup that uses cryptography to enable developers to create web experiences that are entirely private and totally personal.

  • We developed the brand strategy for a space startup (as in outer space) whose purpose is to reverse climate change.

  • We developed a new brand strategy, a brand identity, and redesigned a website for a non-profit dedicated to end-racism through storytelling.

  • We developed a new brand narrative for a SaaS company for content creators and the process helped solidify some key strategic decisions.

  • We designed a thought leadership platform for a University and brought it to life with an interactive exhibit.

  • We developed a new positioning and growth plan for a 30-year-old PR agency, and despite the pandemic, they are having their best year in a long time.

  • We helped a presentation design, training and storytelling agency with the positioning and strategy for the launch into a new market.

  • We developed a new narrative and a Marcom plan for a 28 years old software company, completely changing the way they talked about themselves.And the customers are listening.

  • We built the brand narrative and brand identity elements for a newly created biotech company.

  • We helped dozens of global startups build an engaging brand narrative via interactive Zoom workshops.

Of course, I was not alone during the first year of this journey. I am lucky that I have built many meaningful relationships throughout the years. Many people were with me, and I am glad we’ve had the chance to reconnect. And I am looking forward to engaging with even more in the year ahead. The model of engaging very seasoned partners when and as needed worked well, and clients praised it. It's incredibly efficient, and we got things done at very high quality and quickly.

2020 has not been an easy year for anyone. But it was definitely a rewarding one for my newly created venture. When I launched it, I didn't know what to expect. Now I know. And I can't wait to see what the future brings.