by Dan Crask, Managing Partner & Co-Owner, Brand Shepherd

In March 2019, after a long journey and a fantastic book, we announced that we were going to embrace who we authentically are: A product-focused branding agency.

For the rest of 2019 and all of 2020, that pivot reverbed into the most profitable, enjoyable stretch of work we have ever had.

But then COVID happened.

And then the government-mandated lockdowns happened.

A Pandemic Pivot

Out of fear, a decision was made by me – Daniel Crask, managing partner and co-owner of Brand Shepherd – to retreat from the product pivot, and go back to being focused on no brand type in particular. A return to “all are welcome.”

What I was witnessing at the time was…

  • Our longtime retainer accounts were drastically cutting budgets because they were the first to feel the supply chain chaos.
  • We were losing clients due to lockdowns.
  • I believed that broadening our appeal was the best thing to do.

This has proved to be the most disastrous decision in our business’ history, and I’m here to talk candidly about it in this episode of the podcast.

2021 has been a year of frustration. In a very general sense, “frustration” is the overarching theme of everything in business.

Yet what I have been frustrated with most is how to talk about Brand Shepherd.

Over and over, with the Brand Shepherd team, I tried to figure it out. Lots of experimentation with our Pandemic Pivot, yet nothing resonated within or with prospective clients.

I even thought we had to embrace the hyper-local economy.

We tried going all-in with being a neighborhood agency. Once again, a flop.

Something was missing, not aligned with our Why, our true brand.


But while my family and I were at a Church service recently, it hit me like a wave washing over me: The problem is that I abandoned what we love…Product Brands.

This explains everything.

When we dropped our focus on products, people no longer had something to grab onto in terms of what we do for their brand.

Worse, we were attracting a tribe of brands that were a mismatch.

Yet during this stretch of time, we still attracted product brands and those relationships remain intact and are thriving.

In fact, despite a messy Pandemic Pivot, we still helped bring 41 products to market and 17 more are in development as I write this.

So I am being open about all of this, and embracing the lessons learned as we return to our roots: Brand Shepherd is a product-obsessed creative agency.

Listen to this episode and hear all about it.

Then, if you are part of a brand that makes a product, now would be a great time to work with us because we’re in a very generous state of mind as we turn away service-only brands, and embrace the work with products we love so much.