Some weekend fun: This photo was taken at a dedication of The Crask Inn over in Scotland yesterday. Brand Shepherd is owned by Andrea and Dan Crask.

See that priest’s staff — does the top of it look familiar in shape and color?! It’s our logo! Colors and all.

No coordination was made for this. We introduced the current Brand Shepherd logo and colors in 2013, so this is extra special. And, congrats, Crask Inn, for the dedication

? Today we have to say goodbye to Jake, the border collie who was a faithful member of the Crask family, and the inspiration for our business name.

The idea of ‘shepherding’ a brand was inspired by this dear member of our family. He loves structure, herding sheep (or kids) and whatever else we aim to get in order.

We had a picture in our head of Jake herding brand assets instead of sheep: Jake was moving around, getting logos, web sites, packaging, print, etc. into cohesive, consistent order instead of being scattered everywhere.

Some assets were totally lost, some were underfed, and some were just old and no longer agile.

But soon enough Jake had all the assets back in order, and they were all well cared for, bleating in harmony, and all was well with the flock.

And so Jake inspired us to become Brand Shepherd. His legacy lives on.

Rest In Peace, Jake.
You were a good dog. A very good dog.

?? FAIL ??

THE GOOD: sending print projects to an online printer is a way to get decent print at a low cost.

THE BAD: an online printer doesn’t have *any* cares to give if what you uploaded is obviously wrong because the uploader (Brand Shepherd) misunderstood the orientation.

THE TRUTH: we’ve entrusted this online printer with quick turn, low quantity work for over a decade. It’s perfect for disposable print work, and the quality does not look cheap. But when they switched to the website redesign and moved to their .com, stuff like this has been popping up and is expensive to fix.

Specifically, the orientation cues are non-existent. It’s your guess if this is a turn-and-flip, or just flip, or if what we’re looking at is adjusted for viewer orientation, OR if we’re looking at press orientation.

Ugh.

At first glance, it is all our fault.

A deeper look reveals a bad UX, and now diminished trust in a brand we’ve trusted for a long time.

Since accepting the role of the Wyoming Ohio Business Association’s volunteer COO, Brand Shepherd owner, Dan Crask, has tried to not put himself front-and-center, but rather look for the best possible pros to come and speak to the group about various topics.

But it was his turn for the April meet-up, and we had a terrific interactive talk about speeding up websites for Google’s pending mobile search changes.

What a treat it was to have our Creative Director and Co-Owner, Dan Crask, moderate the Wyoming Business Association’s panel discussion on the big changes Facebook and LinkedIn are making. It was a morning packed with people and valuable content.

Brand Shepherd began as a nights/weekends second job in 2006. But it was around 10 years ago this week that Andrea and Dan sat down at a kitchen table with their attorney, Jim Keys, and formed an LLC.

Jim provided some much needed guidance for us, and we will never forget it.

12 years in business, 10 as an LLC. Here’s to a great 2018 and 10 more years!

Late in 2016, while most people were in a mental state of Holiday Mode, Google quietly published a heads up to web creators on its security blog that it was going to start forcing the security issue with websites.

The #1 topic we web creators talk about with each other is the latest hack attempt, the malware trying to attack websites of every size, and what tactics we’re finding useful to protect our clients’ web properties. In short: Web security rules the day.

See, you likely hear/read stories from big news media sources about big hacks and attacks. Target® gets hacked. The DNC gets hacked. Yahoo® gets hacked.

But what is not reported are the hundreds of thousands of small – much smaller – websites that also get attacked day after day, every day.

This is not new. Over on DanCrask.com there’s a post about Brand Shepherd’s 2012 misery, where our website was subject to a server-level attack. We lost all of our SEO equity from that attack because, at the time, search engines labeled us as a “potentially harmful” website. The kicker was that the vulnerability was with our hosting provider, so even when our website was locked down tight, the bad guys had a back door we did not have access to.

So what does this mean to Google?

Google believes encrypted websites are safer websites. After all, encryption is the requirement for all eCommerce transactions, and it’s done through a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL.

You know what this is already. It’s the little green lock symbol you see on your favorite store’s website. In some browsers, it says “secure” or may just use the lock icon. It means that everything going on within that website is secure through SSL.

We are practitioners of our own guidance.

We are practitioners of our own guidance.

Perhaps you’ve even noticed that when you copy and paste a link from a secure website, there’s a small change to the web address. It includes the letter “s” at the beginning: “https://“ This added “s” means the website is secure.

Google is now forcing the issue.

In a recent update to their Chrome browser, Google now tells people when they are on a non-secure website with a startling “Not Secure” label located right before the web address (URL).

google-ssl-image

This is going to spook a lot of people as Chrome automatically updates to its latest release! Your customers and clients are going to see “Not Secure” next to your website if it lacks SSL, and they may get so spooked they may even close the window. Who wants to be on a website that’s “not secure”?

The new normal: Get SSL on your website. Now.

Here’s the info and sales part. SSL is relatively easy to install. Most hosting providers have a 1-click installation process, and some leaders in the hosting industry are even including SSL for free with all of their hosting packages.

What they might not tell you, though, is that by adding that little “s” in your URL, it actually makes every page, photo, video, post, product, button, etc. on your website have a new location to search engines.

There is a fair amount of back-end work needed to reconfigure the location of assets on your website so that visitors and search engines alike see the secure versions, and not the non-secure versions.

After all, why spend the money and time on SSL if Jane Doe still gets “Not Secure” on a product page or blog post?

Brand Shepherd can help. We can implement SSL on your website, plus take care of the back end assets too.

And did we mention that search engines have factored SSL into SEO for years? It’s true. Now that SSL is being forced as a standard thing, websites that don’t use it should expect to see lower SERP rankings.

Get started.

Contact us right now so we can assess what shape your website is in, and what we need to do to get SSL implemented for you. Security, SEO, and good user experiences are demanding that this happen sooner than later. Let’s talk.

 

Cincinnati is home to one of the best physical product accelerators in the country, First Batch. 2016 brings in First Batch’s fourth class of startups that design and produce physical products, and this year Brand Shepherd is mentoring a father-son duo brand called InnoTool. More on them in a later post.

Talk about a great match: For years Brand Shepherd’s CEO, Dan Crask, has been telling anyone who would listen that Cincinnati needs exactly this kind of thing, and for some of those years of his yapping, First Batch was starting up and getting its first few classes through. Both organizations have a passion for quality physical products created by lasting brands. This partnership is one we are quite happy about, and look forward to seeing the good work that comes from it.

Every product begins as an idea.

Bringing that product to market is a process of challenges and needs at every turn.

Thriving products have needs that can only be met by a trusted partner, a guide to help the product thrive.

In fact, having the right partner to help guide the product can make or break a brand.

Brand Shepherd provides the guidance, ideas, and execution needed for your brand to thrive.

Your product deserves the guidance and expertise only a trusted partner could provide.

That’s why we believe every brand needs a shepherd… a Brand Shepherd.

Brand Shepherd helps products thrive because we know product makers like no other.

Take a look around and see how we have been helping brands thrive for over a decade.
Then let’s talk about how to make your product thrive.

Every brand needs a shepherd™ – a Brand Shepherd.

Let’s talk.