In any premium kitchen, the head chef does wonders because the sous chef keeps the ingredients and processes flowing in order.

A reputable dentist performs efficient work for patients because the dental assistant has the tools and process flowing in an effortless order.

 

Have you ever watched the first Batman movie starring Christian Bale? Morgan Freeman plays Bale’s righthand man, creating all the gear and weaponry Batman could ever need to face the bad guys.

 

The common thread in every one of those scenarios is that the person-behind-the-person is an expert generalist… just like Brand Shepherd.

Experts, because each is working within a niche that requires specialized skills and experience. Our niche is products.

Generalists, because those they serve are facing myriad challenges – different menu orders, different mouths, different bad guys, different bodies. We work with digital and tangible products and sometimes productized services.

Product Expert Generalists.

For those who are newly acquainted with Brand Shepherd, it can sometimes be a hard sell that we thrive as product expert generalists because recent group-think, thanks largely to search engines that dominate our lives with an endless need for specificity, have brainwashed a lot of professionals into thinking that generalists no longer have a role in business and commerce.

We disagree.

Look at any thriving brand or business and you will find people capable of, and engaged in, expert-generalist work. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

Google is the example the anti-generalists like to cite because Google Search requires us to feed it very specific, non-generalized queries in order to provide the most valuable information.

Yet Google is a great example of the Product Expert Generalist because of one simple question: What does Google do?

For that matter, what does Apple, J&J, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, your local hardware store, etc. do?

They all make, sell, and manage a variety of tangible and digital products, alongside productized services.

They all are product expert generalists, even when they hire strict experts within their product offerings.

They, like Brand Shepherd, are part of a bigger picture than the hyper-specialist niche.

A Product Brand’s Secret Weapon

The brands and businesses we serve do so well because they have that person-behind-the-person learning their needs so we can be there before they know they need it.

It’s a cliche these days to say it, but here it’s true that we’ve developed a true partnership over the years for the product brands we serve.

We are their product expert generalists.

It’s because of our expert generalist approach – we are not merely experts at websites or just logos or just packaging.

We’re experts at the many general needs brands have to sell their products and services, and we’ve yet to see it not be a huge benefit for their bottom lines.

Maybe yours too? Let’s talk.

Attorney Derrick Davis is our guest on this episode of the Brand Shepherd podcast. 
TOPIC: COVI-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.

These 4 ingredients we have covered so far are vital to brand development, but there is a 5th ingredient that needs to be mentioned as well:  A chef (aka, guide, shepherd) to help work through the process of brand development.

That would be us, Brand Shepherd.

Having a chef to guide brand development is obviously important from an expertise level. Brand and business stakeholders use experts for anything, from HVAC service to CPAs to facility maintenance and, yes, brand development.

Yet a guide is also important because having a mind from outside the brand will give the development process the perspective it needs to be successful.

Ingredients 1, 2, and 3 covered the essentials. A product brand cannot exist without developing its voice, knowing its customer personas, and having a smartly designed visual identity that captures both.

The next ingredient is something that has gradually evolved into a perceived essential ingredient in recent years thanks to a TEDx Talk.

By now, I actually have a lot of respect for anyone who is not at least a little familiar with Simon Sinek’s TEDx Talk about how brands should know the answer to the question: Why do we exist?

The brand’s visual identity (aka, logo) should reflect the brand voice, be familiar to the customer persona(s), and segue to the final ingredient, the brand’s “Why.”

Let’s talk about what goes into the making of a brand identiy.

Like so many of you, we have spent the last few days and weeks learning about the COVID-19 novel coronavirus and how it is impacting our world.

For Brand Shepherd, that means understanding how it impacts the industries we serve by way of your brand, and then how it impacts our team.

From our very beginning in 2006, Brand Shepherd has been hyper-focused on a lean operation, and central to that is our team of remote creatives. We were a ‘gig economy’ company before it was cool 🙂

So our team is very well suited to continue business as usual.

Nothing changes for us.

So long as you have needs for your brand, and whatever that looks like in this evolving pandemic climate, consider Brand Shepherd to be a beacon of stability; a slice of “normal,” if you will.

2 unique ways we can help you

Aside from that stability, though, we can help you in two additional ways.

First, if you are one of the many businesses putting remote team plans into place, this might be totally uncharted waters. You might be able to benefit from our long experience by asking about what tools and processes we use and how we use them.

By all means, please ask!

We can be somewhat nerdish about the tools and practices we use to keep a remote team running as good or better than an in-office team. We have many years’ experience of doing this, so, please ask if you need to get some fresh input.

Secondly, brands are now pivoting from communicating in-house about the pandemic to communicating to customers. If you haven’t already, you will be getting a lot of email from brands and companies who want to say something about the pandemic and what they’re doing. Like this one.

If you need help writing or editing your message, let us know. Our strength is editing, but we’ve been known to write from time to time as well.


We are praying for a merciful end to the pandemic. No one wants to go through this, but if we must, we wanted to communicate to you that we’re in this together and we can be of help.

With washed hands,
Andrea, Dan, & The Brand Shepherd Team

Equally important to the brand’s voice is the customer persona the brand is talking to.

Brands that lack focus are not successful brands. You need to know who you are talking to, what their buying habits are, lifestyle choices, etc.

The brand voice will be compelling and even familiar when it speaks the sub-cultural language of its customers.

What if I told you that the role of the User Experience – aka UX – expert on a product development team is not a role that emerged in the 2010s?

What if I told you that UX was a top concern for product brands in the 1930s?

And what if I told you that in the 1950s, UX, as we know it today, was born from the Godfather of UX by a French-born designer by the name of Raymond Loewy.

Well, it’s true. It’s all true.

Trusted Tools
• Ideation: Paper & Whiteboards
• Digital Product Design: Sketch & Adobe Xd
• Tangible Product Design: Adobe Illustrator
• Prototyping & Collaboration: InVision
• Asset Hand-Off: Zeplin & Dropbox

On-Going Experimentation
• Research: this is a mixed process with many tools right now.
• Project Communication: heavy reliance on email, phone, and in-person for client communication; Slack for in-house chatter.
• Analytics: this, too, is a mix of what our clients already use, since they – not us – are the product owners.

The brand is always speaking, always communicating.

Product brands are always persuading, selling, and providing delight for their users.

While it’s true that the brand should reflect the values and even personalities of its key stakeholders, the brand ought to present as an entity of its own: Its own personality, unique value propositions, and tone of voice.

Developing the brand voice is done through a number of exercises with key stakeholders, product managers/owners, and user research – all with guidance from experts who know how to sort and organize the information into useful, actionable data.