Brand Shepherd has joined the Knoxville, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, deepening our investment into East Tennessee’s great business community.
Having already joined the Knoxville Entreprenuer Center as a mentor, and the Blount Partnership Chamber of Commerce, Brand Shepherd is committed to growing new, deep roots in East Tennesee.
Knoxville and Brand Shepherd have a few things in common, beginning with a love for all things orange! It was a sign that we would fit right in, when all of the UT flags, apparel, and supportive signs come out every Saturday. Brand Shepherd’s orange brand has found a great visual home in East Tennesse.
Yet Knoxville is known as The Maker City, and this makes for a perfect spot for Brand Shepherd’s focus on all-things product-related.
As Brand Shepherd has worked with product makers – tangible and digital products alike – over the years, we know that product people are our tribe, and it will be an honor to help build, brand, and guide Knoxville maker brands.
UPDATE Autumn 2020 (1-year later):
After the COVID-19 lockdowns, orgs like chambers of commerce had to pivot just has hard as any business. The Knoxville Chamber was no different and their plan of response was developed and launched in the summer of 2020 as The Path To Prosperity.
Of all the things the Path To Prosperity focuses on, networking between local businesses and professionals through new online and hybrid events is not one of them.
We knew something was up when, from March to August, no networking events had been scheduled. We wondered if Brand Shepherd was missing an email list or maybe online networking events were on a separate tier of membership, so we contacted the Chamber to see what was being planned for networking.
The response was this:
We’ve changed our strategic plan and the Knoxville Chamber might not be for you if all you are looking for is networking!
If there’s one thing we appreciate in any org, it’s a straightforwardness and with one sentence, we know for certain that membership in the Knoxville Chamber is not going to produce the ROI we need as a business in East Tennessee.
Networking is the oil that flows through the engine of a thriving business community, so it is surprising to hear that networking is not part of the Path To Prosperity for the Knoxville Chamber.
The good news in all of this is that chambers of commerce that surround Knoxville have pivoted creatively and now offer online networking events that are proving to be vastly more efficient and effective for us than most in-person networking events. There are businesses like Epic Nine’s EVE and the Knoxville area startup, Lunchpool, that have embraced the online event and – like us – see hybrid events for networking and learning as central to a new normal.
While it probably sounds like we’re picking on the Knoxville Chamber, that’s not the intent here.
The intent is to put a spotlight on how orgs, like chambers, are seeing and acting on a new normal, post-pandemic. It’s GOOD that not every org is marching in lockstep. Business communities need variety so that many ways are tried in order to find the best way. Who knows, maybe by not including networking, the Knoxville Chamber is pioneering a part of the new normal that others don’t see yet.
However it turns out, we sincerely hope their plan does lead to prosperity, and that at some point in the future we can rejoin when the best path to prosperity in the new normal is tried and proven.