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.

In late 2019, Brand Shepherd co-owners, Andrea and Dan Crask, uprooted their lives and businesses and relocated it all to the great state of Tennesse. Specifically, East Tennessee. And the countryside of Maryville, Tennessee in particular. Whew!

So as Brand Shepherd takes root in a new state and new business community, we thought it might be friendly of us to introduce ourselves to the many businesses around East Tennessee, since we’re a small business and won’t be able to stop by everyone’s office or grab coffee for introductions.

Every year that we get to keep doing what we do is a good year. 

There are, however, years that stand out, and 2019 will go down as one of them.

Here is a recap of why 2019 was such a stand-out year for Brand Shepherd. 

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.