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The Brand Shepherd Podcast

The Brand Shepherd Podcast

By Brand Shepherd

Each episode of The Brand Shepherd Podcast focuses on a topic connected to or part of getting your products to your people.

A wasteful go-to-market strategy is why great products never reach their intended people. Brand Shepherd helps brands get their products to their people with simple and efficient strategies. These brands thrive because their products get to their people and the people love them. Brand Shepherd wants to guide, grow, and protect your brand to help you get your products to your people!

This podcast is hosted by Daniel Crask, Brand Shepherd's co-owner and brand strategist.
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Brand Shepherd Podcast - Video Tips for 2023 with Les Fultz from Valere Studios
Brand Shepherd Podcast - Video Tips for 2023 with Les Fultz from Valere Studios
Video became most businesses' default media during the COVID-19 pandemic years of 2020-2021, and in 2022 video continued to dominate how both B2B and B2C consumers get valuable information when they are seeking an experience. With that context in mind, Les Fultz joins the Brand Shepherd Podcast to talk about what he anticipates for video in 2023. Les is the founder of Valere Studios, a corporate video production agency in Cincinnati. Whenever Brand Shepherd needs to know the pulse of video as a medium, or where video as content is headed, Les is the guy we call on. A trusted peer and partner for many years, Les is a well-established expert trusted by B2B and B2C brands nationwide, and even news sources like ABC News and Fox News. We normally do not produce dated content like this. The shelf life of this content's relevancy is likely just 9 months, max. Yet as we head into what should be the first full calendar year with no lockdowns within the American economy, we believe sharing this timely guidance serves our clients and listeners very well.
31:29
December 10, 2022
The Brand Shepherd Podcast: Creativity Best Practices
The Brand Shepherd Podcast: Creativity Best Practices
In this episode, the core Brand Shepherd team of Daniel, John, and David sit down to have a casual conversation around this question: What are the best practices of creativity? Hear what we came up with and how our answers evolved in this no-filter conversation about what to do and what not to do in order to get the best results from creativity.
35:19
August 11, 2022
PR Power for Products with Julie Simon, Senior VP with Orca PR • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
PR Power for Products with Julie Simon, Senior VP with Orca PR • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
What comes to mind when you hear about PR? You know, Public Relations. What is your vibe check on the role of PR in today's landscape of brand marketing options? Whatever you thought, this episode of the Brand Shepherd Podcast will be super informative because we get to hear from Julie Simon, Senior VP with Orca PR. What makes this even better is Orca PR is all about product people! As "America's PR Firm for Inventors and Entrepreneurs," Orca is constantly at work for that "Shark Tank" demographic, the product inventors and entrepreneurs we love to hear about – and Brand Shepherd loves to work with. So this is a natural fit and we took our sweet time covering a lot of ground about the power of PR for products.
30:43
May 23, 2022
How Strategic Planning Grows, Guides, and Protects the Dollywood Brand
How Strategic Planning Grows, Guides, and Protects the Dollywood Brand
Dolly Parton is America's most beloved artist, and each year, millions of people flock to East Tennessee's Smoky Mountains to make new memories at her Dollywood theme park and resorts. In this episode of the podcast, we get to hear from The Dollywood Company's Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, Melissa Walker. We cover a lot of ground in this episode: What was the Dollywood strategic plan's role in response to COVID lockdowns in 2020-2021. How is Dollywood handling the post-COVID brand experience now? The Dollywood brand experience is cherished by generations -- how does strategic planning handle the demand for tradition and innovation? Melissa was very generous with her time and gave us a practical look into how strategic planning guides, grows, and protects the Dollywood brand. You do not want to miss this episode.
19:37
May 03, 2022
AgLaunch • Interview with Lilly Tench • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
AgLaunch • Interview with Lilly Tench • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
Agriculture, as an industry, is experiencing the most radical transformation, disruption, and innovation of any industry out there right now – and has been doing so for several years. Agriculture is our food supply, but it is much more than that. It impacts our planet's soil, water, and air. A massive number of jobs are directly and indirectly involved with Agriculture (Ag). Our health is impacted by Ag, due to what products are used to grow food, and so Ag has a big role in public health and healthcare itself. The scope is sweeping and the stakes could not be higher.  Everyone involved wants what's best for Ag, including the people behind an org like AgLaunch. AgLaunch is "bringing startup culture to agriculture" by drawing smart, innovative people with Ag business ideas to help them get to work. In this episode of the Brand Shepherd Podcast, Lilly Tench is our guest. She is the Entrepreneurial Programs Lead and does a masterful job of making AgLaunch's work digestible and informative, no matter if you're a seasoned Ag pro or just learning of what's happening right now. Brand Shepherd's managing partner, Daniel Crask, is also part of AgLaunch's Mentor Network, and so we are on the frontlines alongside these very exciting Ag startups, helping them develop their brands and products. This compliments our years of Ag brand work. If you have an Ag startup idea and want to learn about AgLaunch's accelerator programming, please contact them today.
24:25
January 24, 2022
Brands That Make A Stand • Interview with Michael Graber • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
Brands That Make A Stand • Interview with Michael Graber • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
"Good" brands can be polarizing, but the market winners know the immense value created take making a stand for their ethics. Consumers are demanding action and smart companies know they prosper better than their brand is aligned to a purpose and purpose is aligned to their actions at every level. Yet, one might ask, "How would my brand even begin to start this change?"  That is precisely what we delve into in this jam-packed conversation.  Here are some of the points we cover in today's episode: Old model of business and branding. Shifts into the emerging era. Examples of purposeful brands and companies that have made a purposeful transformation. How you can initiate this conversation at your organization—benefits include employee retention and engagement, more brand loyalty, increased revenue, and market share.
43:04
September 28, 2021
Interview with "Warrior Entrepreneur" author, Zachary Green • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
Interview with "Warrior Entrepreneur" author, Zachary Green • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
Zachary Green's new book, Warrior Entrepreneur, is a book written for the times we live and work in due to the continued challenges and fallout from COVID-19. Every business is experiencing some kind of challenge due to the pandemic and the responses to it. Warrior Entrepreneur is a book that speaks to the entrepreneurs who are making their way through these challenging times and reminds them (us!) that they (we!) are not alone – that there are myriad lessons to be learned from fellow warriors. This was a conversation that wasted no time getting into some heavy topics like the seasons of trials - what the book calls Crucibles - entrepreneurs face, what it means to "never give up," and how to wield fear in the favor of the true Warrior Entrepreneur. Zachary is not an aloof author writing from the sidelines. He's a fellow entrepreneur in the trenches with us and offers us insights and hope from the perspective of the Warrior Entrepreneur.
29:34
September 14, 2021
Innovation & Authenticity: Friends or Foes?
Innovation & Authenticity: Friends or Foes?
Innovation! is the rallying cry of brands, businesses, orgs, and causes today.  One cannot flick through their LinkedIn feed more than a few posts without seeing some kind of content about Innovation.  At the same time, our culture - especially consumer culture - wants authenticity.  Yet that which is authentic tends to come from longevity: doing the same thing or making the same thing the same way, reliably, for a long time.  So there should be tension between innovation and authenticity, right? The classic tension between the old and the new.  To sort this out, Jon Hirst is our guest on the Brand Shepherd Podcast.  Jon is the Chief Innovation Officer for SIL International, an org that "works with local communities to develop language solutions that expand possibilities for a better life."  Did you know that Jon and his team work with 7,000+ languages worldwide and that roughly every 40 days a language dies with the deaths of great-grandparents? So innovation is the tip of the spear for SIL and Jon has the kind of perspective to help us navigate how Innovation and Authenticity work together in a very pragmatic way.  This episode is packed with practical tasks you can do to implement an innovation strategy for your brand, business, org, or cause so be ready to take plenty of notes.  Want to be a guest on the Brand Shepherd Podcast? Let's chat.
30:43
August 23, 2021
Legal Guidance For Starting A New Brand with Attorney Derrick Davis • The  Brand Shepherd Podcast
Legal Guidance For Starting A New Brand with Attorney Derrick Davis • The Brand Shepherd Podcast
Attorney Derrick Davis is our guest on this episode of the Brand Shepherd podcast.  TOPIC: COVID-19 will spur a lot of new entrepreneurs, new businesses. Legal Guidance For Starting A New Brand. New businesses will need to develop a brand for themselves, which we have covered in the 5 Ingredients podcast. New businesses will also need legal guidance as they start or expand. We will talk about what that looks like. STARTING OUT: navigating legalities of getting started Type of business (LLC, Sole Prop, etc.). Naming for a new business or brand extension. Protect the IP. Mystery Solved: TM or © ®?! When to do what. GROWTH: businesses/brand that is using this time to work ON their brands/businesses Naming the brand extension(s) — what’s taken, when to accept risk. MITIGATE RISK & TROUBLE Every business takes on risk — what are some common risks a new business or new brand growth will want to be cautious about? Trouble: what value does someone like you bring to the table when a cease and desist letter arrives, or some other kind of trouble? Trouble: similarly, what if another new business steals your IP? HOW TO REACH DERRICK dmdavis@qcflaw.com | 865-524-1873
38:06
April 28, 2020
Part 5: Love It Or Leave It • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Part 5: Love It Or Leave It • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Love It Or Leave It No matter what, at the end of the product project, you have to love what is created. Maybe "love" is too strong a word. You need to believe in the final thing that is created. The creative team is there to bring ideas to life and to solve problems. A competent, mature creative team will offer their recommendations throughout the process. Yet, at the end of the process, you need to believe in what has been created. If you don't believe in it, you will start using something that doesn't have your full buy-in, and your customers will smell it a mile away. Solution: Before you make a final decision on approving that which your creative team has created, take at least a day, preferably longer, to sleep on it, and be sure you believe in it. This is aided by taking good notes during the process so you can instantly revisit why the process yielded what it did. Example:
 “We've done great work together. Now, I just need a day or two before we consider it final. I want to be 100% our brand believes in this new direction.” Important note: we're not looking for a purely emotional response here. Believing in the creative direction is more than that. It's a knowing, a gut-sense that it's the right call. If you're a data-driven person, this will drive you nuts because this advice is the X-factor that a lot of successful entrepreneurs use in everything they do. Wrap Up We created this series to help people who hire creative teams to get the best work from them. As Creative Director for Brand Shepherd, everything I, Dan, wrote and said in this series is what I put to use every day. Consider working with a creative team that knows and works with the guidance in this series. Contact us today - let's talk about building, branding, guiding better products.
08:07
May 21, 2019
Part 4: "Realistic Timing" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Part 4: "Realistic Timing" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
It's worth mentioning that timing is one of the top relationship killers between creative teams and those they serve. Some clients have a tendency to drop big projects on their team without asking how much time it will take, while assuming they know how long something will take to create. Similarly, creative teams often operate out of a position of fear of losing the account and do not establish firm timing expectations at the start and throughout the relationship. If the creative team is too afraid to lead the timing expectations, and push back when they are challenged, it leaves plenty of room for the client to make unrealistic assumptions. Solution: As part of an on-boarding process for new relationships and on-going projects, make timing its own talking point. This is a top-level priority, folks, so give it the space to be sorted out by the client and creative team alike. Example:
 “Let's talk about timing for this project: Ideally we need it by [date], but I don't work in this space – what is realistic to produce the best possible work?” By taking this approach, you show that you respect the time needed to create greatness for your product, and this show of respect will make your creative team think of you/your brand as their favorite to work with.
08:15
May 16, 2019
Part 3: "Ask The Right People" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Part 3: "Ask The Right People" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Ask The Right People This one is touchy because once it happens, it’s a diplomatic tightrope for professional creatives to walk: As we build, brand, and guide better products, we need feedback to measure effectiveness. Whom we get feedback from is equally important as getting the actual feedback, so it is important to ask the right people for feedback. There is a temptation, however, to ask the nearest trusted warm-body: The spouse, co-worker, best friend, trusted advisor, etc. The problem is that these people are almost always not the people you need feedback from. They are not short on opinions, but unfortunately, their opinions don't matter when it comes to creative work. Why? Because when we're creating, we're communicating something to your product's audience - it's customer personas - and it is their feedback we need. The Solution: By gut-check or by data, take a look at your product's most loyal customers and ask them for feedback. Believe it or not, inviting them to be part of the betterment of the brand is reward enough for soliciting their feedback. However, sometimes asking for feedback gets more quality and quantity if it has an incentive. Your call. Avoid the insanity of asking your spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend what they think about the ideas unless they are part of your customer persona. However, sometimes asking for feedback gets more quality and quantity if it has an incentive. Your call. Avoid the insanity of asking your spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend what they think about the ideas unless they are part of your customer persona. The advice here is to avoid asking your spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend what they think about the ideas unless they are part of your customer persona. Example:
 “We have two great creative directions here. Let's get them in front of our most loyal customers for feedback. We'll also get fresh feedback to help us take one of these ideas o the finish line.” If I had to create a litmus test for brand owners who 'get it,' and those who do not 'get it' when it comes to product branding, this is the test: whom do they get their key feedback from. Pros don't ask people whose opinions don't matter. It's really that simple. By taking this approach, you avoid the echo chamber of people you already know and get the feedback from the right people: your customers.
08:18
May 07, 2019
Part 2: "Know Thyself" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Part 2: "Know Thyself" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
by Dan Crask, Creative Director & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd “I'll know it when I see it” is a phrase creatives hear a lot, and it’s a phrase we can usually resonate with quite well. Sometimes we don’t know, specifically, what we are about to create. We just have a hunch, intuition, or shadow of an idea. The end result will show itself along the way. We completely understand the "I'll know it when I see it" mentality. It is a perfectly normal creative process. But it’s also the most time-consuming because, well, it’s the longer route to a destination. The problem is that some people who buy creative services for products want this approach, but also want the budget of an “I know exactly what I want” project. Those two things are allergic to each other, and cannot co-exist for the long-term. Solution: Come to the table with ideas to run with for your product, or a larger budget for exploration. As you do, follow the guidance provided in Part 1 about being directional instead of executional. Example: “Here’s what I know: this product’s main benefit is that it’s portable. It needs to appeal to kids, but in order to get to kids, it has to appeal to parents too. This is a product that’ll mostly be used outdoors in the summer and early autumn. We know our competitor brands well, and what we want to highlight for this product. Let's see some ideas within these parameters." Now we’re cooking! You don’t precisely know what you want, but you do know your goal. The professional creative is now equipped to create some options that will blow your mind and increase sales. It's really that simple.
08:19
April 30, 2019
Part 1: "Directional > Executional" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Part 1: "Directional > Executional" • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
If there’s one thing professional creative teams loathe, it’s being hired for a gig, then being directed, step-by-step, how something should look or function. At best, it sends contradictory messages. You’re paying product professionals who live and breathe the daily work of solving challenges by design. So, why direct them to tackle minutia like making the logo 20% bigger or the photo on the right side instead of where the creative put it? It's best to lean into the hired professional. It's best to assume these hired professionals know what they're doing. However, that is not to say you have to stay quiet and take whatever is given. There are plenty of creative teams who live up to that way-too-true stereotype. There's a way to balance the process. Solution: Be informative by telling your creative team what isn’t working and what you are trying to achieve. This is called being "directional" with your feedback rather than "executional." We use the word "executional" for when someone gives outright creative direction that they're not qualified to give, or if they are just being a classic micro-manager. The best way is to be "directional" – communicate why the design isn't quite right. Creatives love this type of feedback! It adds another layer to the challenge. Creatives get bored and mentally check-out when they're given color-by-the-numbers, direct instructions. And let's be frank: You're likely unqualified to be giving professional creative direction. And that's a big deal. Would you instruct your architect how to design a "better" space? Would you instruct your hired kitchen and bath designer how to design a better space? Heck, would you tell your mechanic how best to change the oil in your vehicle? So stop telling professional creatives how to create. It's foolish. We know it's foolish, and it just makes us respect you less. Over time, this builds up and the relationship will end on a sour note. Example: Here is how to be directional in your feedback. “The font choices in the logo options aren’t working for this because we want to attract a more sophisticated buyer, and these look too simplistic.” By taking this approach, you have just equipped the creative to do what they do best: Create. You’ve just sparked a fire in the imagination of your pro. You’ll get a lot more bang for your spend by approaching feedback this way.
08:43
April 22, 2019
Introduction • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Introduction • 5 Ways To Get The Best Work From Your Creative Team • Brand Shepherd
Whether you have hired an agency, or are working with an in-house department, there are ways to get the best work from your creative team. You have expectations of getting ideas brought to life for the betterment and profitability of the brand, and your creative team wants to unleash their power on your brand to make it worthy of their portfolio and bragging rights. It should be a win-win thing, right? Yet how many times have I spoke with a business owner or brand manager who felt like their previous creative team just didn’t produce their best work? Over the years I have noticed that the best work is usually not produced for one glaring reason: The process broke down. Maybe the creative team didn’t communicate any kind of process at all, maybe the client didn’t abide by the process, or maybe it was a “make it up as we go” thing. The common thread in any scenario is that the process was broken, and so it’s the elements of the creation process I will be tackling over the next 5 posts. How This Benefits You Ok, ok… enough about us, the creatives. You’re the one paying the invoices, so let’s get on with how reading the next 5 posts is going to benefit you. Just as you want to get the most out of anything else you invest in, this is no different. Yet I’m willing to assume that you can easily wrap your mind around how to get the most out of energy efficiency in your office building, or an office printer that doesn’t waste ink, or even a CPA that offers tax prep services too. However, when it comes to managing a team of professional creatives, there are few prior experiences that can prepare you to get the best work from them. Over the next 5 posts, I am going to share what I know to be true about getting the best work from creative teams so that you can get the best possible ROI. Context I want to preface everything by sharing my favorite quote about my profession. It comes from Walter Gropious, founder of the Bauhaus school of design in the early 1900s. Gropious said, “Art is self-expression; Design is problem-solving.” Did you catch the distinction? As a professional creative, I am not an artist. My team and I do not create “art” for our clients. Art is what we do on our own time to keep us creatively sharp, our self-expression. It’s the music we write and perform, the photographs we take, the paintings we paint, the poetry we write, and so on. That is art. Design is where we set out to solve a problem. The thing isn’t selling. The thing is new and needs a brand identity. The service needs a better website. The brand needs to tell a story with video. That is systematic problem-solving, aka, design. We solve the challenges by design. We create by a process of design. All of this is shared so that you know where I am coming from as a professional creator, agency owner, and creative director.
11:07
April 15, 2019