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Branding & the Beast is a video podcast that helps businesses and entrepreneurs of all sizes share their story through words and images. Hosted by Alicia Disantis, founder of 38th & Kip Studio, and Shaun Bernstein, founder of The Write Stuff Agency, the American/Canadian duo offer practical branding tips, interview brilliant guests, and discuss branding successes from around the globe.

Watch us on YouTube or listen on your favorite platform @ Branding and the Beast.

Branding and the Beast S2 E7: Female Leaders with Lauren Culp and Robbie Young of CUInsight

To honor International Women's Month, we wanted to turn our focus to some women in leadership, especially within the branding space. Alicia was lucky enough to find us two amazing guests - Lauren Culp and Robbie Young, the President & CEO, and VP of Strategic Growth (respectively) of CUInsight, a marketing powerhouse within the credit union movement. Both Lauren and Robbie are leaders within their space, and also happen to be female leaders navigating a traditionally male-dominated world of media and finance. Together, we looked at: 1. How to create a psychologically healthy and safe workspace 2. Recognizing the biases that each of us carry 3. Integrating various generations within the workplace 4. When we can stop saying 'female CEO' and just say 'CEO' Plus, hear Alicia wildly mispronounce the word 'Peloton,' and learn why Season 3 is going to be our spiciest one yet!

Branding and the Beast S2 E6: Keeping Marketing Simple with Christine Campbell Rapin, CEO of CLEAR Acceleration

In the earliest days of a small business, a new brand likely won’t be a household name. Most founders get things started while they’re still fleshing out their vision, finding their product market fit, and really learning what their ‘brand’ actually is. As that business grows though, the most important thing that a brand can have to support it becoming more widely known is clear and consistent messaging. If people don’t understand what you do, or don’t know how they can help, they’re highly unlikely to reach out to you. It’s great to pique someone’s interest, but it’s way too easy to get lost in the shuffle. In this episode, hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein speak with Christine Campbell Rapin, who is one of the finest branding experts north of the border. She understands intimately well how to package a message into bite-size, easily-understood pieces that are memorable, and that resonate with an audience instead of confusing them. In this episode, we explore: 1. The biggest mistake that new businesses make as they launch new brands and services. 2. Top tips to distil down a complex message. 3. Real-world examples of marketing that has just the right amount of clarity? 4. Christine's three top branding tips.

Branding and the Beast S2 E5: Internal Branding with Aaron Metzger, Founder of Genius Digital

In a time when skilled labor is hard to come by, how do you attract, and retain the level of talent needed to be successful as a business owner? Especially when running a business in an industry that's high-turnover and highly-saturated, like a marketing agency? The answer: a strong internal brand. Internal branding (also known as employee branding) is as important as corporate branding, yet discussed far less often. Your employees are your brand, and if they don’t believe in your company, you’ll never succeed. In this episode, hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein interview Aaron Metzger, Founder of Genius Digital Marketing and a stellar example of how to build a team through powerful internal branding. Whether it’s a strong mission and beliefs, paid “wellness” days, or hilarious photoshoots, business owners from all industries can learn a thing or from Aaron’s business acumen. In this episode, we explore: 1. Aaron's path to agency ownership and being “the boss.” 2. One of Aaron's most challenging things about leading a team in 2023. 3. Walking the line between company values and ethics. 4. Aaron's top three tips for leaders and companies to create a passionate, engaged team.

Season 2 Episode 4: Invisible Disabilities with Tim Reitsma, HR Professional

In this special part 2 of our series on invisible disability, your hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein speak with Tim Reitsma about how invisible disabilities continue to remain just that - invisible. The disability community is one of the largest forgotten minorities, but it's even harder for those with invisible disabilities. So many of us are walking around with challenges that impact our daily lives, from how we take in information to how we move around in the world, and most of those around us may not have a clue. For this episode we spoke with Tim Reitsma out of Vancouver, BC, a workplace culture expert and now a disability activist. Tim has been wrestling with his own invisible condition for decades, but when his health took a turn several months ago and he wound up in emergency surgery, he realized it was important to shed light on what was previously unseen. ​Tim is in the process of launching his own podcast on invisible conditions, and we were fortunate enough to have him on our show. ​Topics in this episode include: 1. How Tim made the decision to go public with his illness and the reaction that followed 2. How Tim's employer and colleagues responded to his illness, both negatively and positively 3. The impact that the pandemic had on those within the disability community 4. How those stradled with fear can begin to work through disclosure

Season 2 Episode 3: Disability Branding with Lori Frisher, Owner of Ready or Not! Media

In this episode, your hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss the power of marketing specifically towards the disability community - a large portion of the population that often goes unnoticed. We've spoken about marketing within various communities before, but the disability community flies so far under the radar. One in four adults in the United States have some form of disability, and the statistics are similar in Canada. These can range from visible disabilities that impact mobility or vision, to invisible disabilities such as anxiety and depression, or a bleeding disorder. While the community gets painted with a broad brush, there are countless differences that should not be ignored. A person with hearing loss has different needs than a wheelchair user, and not everyone is impacted in the same way. One person with low vision might read braille, while another may not. In this episode we speak with Lori Frisher, the Denver, Colorado-based owner of Ready Or Not! Media. Lori herself is deaf, and relies on internal implants to hear. Lori is also a sought-after speaker, and an expert on marketing to the disability community. Topics in this episode include: 1. How Lori works with companies to better engage persons with disabilities 2. How negative stereotypes regularly impact persons with disabilities 3. How those with disabilities often become advocates out of necessity 4. What brands can do when they've made a misstep in communicating disabilities

Season 2 Episode 2: Authenticity with Victoria Asikis, Attorney at Gowling WLG LLP

In this episode, your hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss the power of authenticity in your digital presence and the impact it can have on your business and career. We’ve spoken a lot about personal branding - in episode 9 with Anna Hockett, we talked about the importance of building your personal brand, and in episode 10 with Jared Kligerman we talked about having a brand as a CPG founder, and injecting your personality into what you do. Building your brand with authenticity, though, takes things to a whole other level. It’s one thing to build an exterior shell as a professional - it’s another thing entirely to do so with vulnerability, letting your audience see behind the business formalwear into how you market yourself not just based on your professional resume, but as YOU. In this episode, we speak with Victoria Asikis, an Ottawa-based lawyer with Gowling WLG, a major international law firm. Victoria is no stranger to having to put on a professional veneer, yet she’s also incorporated her personal struggles and vulnerability - including with mental health and anxiety - into part of her professional brand. Topics include: 1. How Victoria has turned her hardships into some of her greatest strengths 2. How to include vulnerability in your branding 3. Victoria's top three tips on sharing personal content 4. How to maintain a balance between professional and personal within your digital presence Join us as we learn how to become more authentic as professionals.

Season 2 Episode 1: Interviewing Featuring Mike Lawson of CUBroadcast

Welcome to the Season 2 premiere of Branding and the Beast. In this episode, your hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss the art of interviewing and the impact interview skills can have on a brand. In an age of infinite reels, podcasts, and digital content, people love consuming interviews more than ever. Imagine interviewing people for a living. How do you tell your own story when you are telling other people's? How do you nurture your own personality and voice? Communicating with and interviewing people for a living is a deeply nuanced and challenging field. It’s one thing to control your own personal or company brand story, and it’s another to place the story in the hands of someone else, opening you up for endless curveballs and pivoting. Communications are in a constant evolution - our tone, our dialect, our relationship, and our rapport with another person. All professionals can benefit from strong interviewing skills; from teamwork, to job interviewing, to pitching, to negotiation. This episode features special guest Mike Lawson, Host of CUBroadcast, the leading financial talk show series. With nearly 7,000 interviews under his belt, Mike is an expert in the art of the interview. He shares: 1. How to make your guest (or anyone you are talking with) feel comfortable 2. Why having an interview style is important 3. His top three tips for interviewing someone 4. The challenges of content creation and keeping things fresh Join us as we learn about the critical skill of interviewing.


Season 1 Episode 10: CPG Featuring Jared Kligerman of The Think Tank

It's all well and good to talk about a personal brand, but what if you're trying to brand a thing? Welcome to the wide world of CPG (consumer packaged goods) marketing! It's often misunderstood, especially by those who haven't worked in the space, but behind everything we buy off of store shelves or online there's usually a powerful marketing campaign that has been telling us for years why we need that specific item - and not a competitor's product - in our lives. Join Alicia Disantis of 38th & Kip Studio and Shaun Bernstein of The Write Stuff Agency as they chat with Jared Kligerman, President of The Think Tank and founder of the now-departed Wander nut butters. We talk with Jared about his experience in CPG marketing both on the agency side, as well as the founder of his own enterprise which he ran for the past few years. In this episode, we discuss: 1. Why it's important to start marketing something exciting early 2. How the little things can make your brand stand out from the crowd 3. Why you probably need to double your projected marketing budget 4. The biggest lessons you can learn from failure Join us as Jared takes all of us on his incredible journey.

Season 1 Episode 9: Personal Branding Featuring SaaS Consultant Anna Hockett

In this episode, Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein tackle personal branding, a segment of branding that’s not so often discussed, and why it's important to consider your personal brand today. And in a world where consumers are shifting toward knowing the people behind the company, personal branding is more relevant than ever. How does your audience know you, like, you, and trust you, as a person? What values do you hold? How do you make them feel? Did you know that 70% of consumers feel more connected to brands whose CEO is on social media? And that 64% of today’s customers are belief-driven buyers? We've invited SaaS consultant and personal branding expert Anna Hockett to join us and provide her very best tips on creating a strong personal brand. We discuss: 1. How to tip your toes into the waters of personal branding 2. Why authenticity and vulnerability are critical in growing your business or your career 3. Top three personal branding tips (and mistakes) you should consider

Season 1 Episode 8: Podcasts featuring Brent Jensen of No Sleep Til Sudbury

In this episode, Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein go full meta and talk all about...podcasting! We've invited writer and music critic Brent Jensen, esteemed author and host of the No Sleep Til Sudbury Podcast, on the show to talk about his experience with running a successful podcast. Hey, we figured we could probably learn a thing or two! Brent is a treasure trove of knowledge, and not only does he share great stories, but he also has helpful podcasting tips for everyone from the novice podcaster to the seasoned experts! In this episode, we discuss: 1. Why investing in the right podcasting tools is critical 2. The importance of research and preparation 3. Tips on growing your podcast following

Season 1 Episode 7: SEO and Web Content featuring Maddy Osman of The Blogsmith

In this episode, Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss how your company's website content affects your SEO and ability for people to find you online. We share our favorite content companies, including Monterey Bay Aquarium and Tasty, and feature SEO and writing expert Maddy Osman, Founder of TheBlogsmith. Topics include: 1. How your blog and educational content affect your marketing 2. Why a style guide is so critical 3. How to set a consistent tone and personality to your business writing

Season 1 Episode 6: Social Media for B2B featuring Melanie Pangan of RainSpark Media

In this episode, Shaun Bernstein and Alicia Disantis continue the conversation around successful social media strategies and how to tell your business's story through their platforms. We focus on social media for small businesses and B2B, particularly industries that are not inherently visual or exciting. Featuring special guest Melanie Pangan, founder of RainSpark Media, we discuss: 1. How to find your social media audience 2. How to grow your following in a way that will result in actual business growth 3. Red flags and practical tips when hiring social media help

Season 1 Episode 5: Social Media for B2C featuring Foodie Influencer Charly Moretto

In this episode, Shaun Bernstein and Alicia Disantis talk about the wild west of marketing: social media. How do you stay true to your brand story, voice, and personality while balancing a social media presence in the B2C world? Special guest Charly Moretto, social media influencer and Chicago-based foodie shares her tips for success - but first, you have to define what success looks like for you. Topics include: 1. Why being "social" on social media is critical 2. The importance of authenticity and honesty 3. Top three tips for a successful social media strategy

Season 1 Episode 4: Solopreneur Branding featuring Jose Garcia of Zoca Studio

In this episode, Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss how to dive into solopreneurship & entrepreneurship, as well as their own personal stories of "going solo." Featuring very special guest Jose Garcia, founder of Zoca Studio, an acclaimed gig poster designer whose clients include Dave Matthews Band, Wilco, Mumford and Sons, and many more. Topics include: 1. When to know it's time to go solo 2. Setting realistic goals 3. Finding a balance between your personal brand and company's brand 4. Embracing fear

Season 1 Episode 3: Technology featuring John San Filippo of Finopotamus

In this episode, Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss ways simplify the complex and make technology more human when telling your company or product story. We interview John San Filippo, Co-Founder of @Finopotamus, a FinTech publication, and two-time "Dummies" book author. Topics include: 1. Ways to make it easier for people to learn complex and new topics 2. "Less is more" is always better 3. How to adjust your message to your audience's needs 4. The importance of user experience and not over-complicating things

Season 1 Episode 2: Growth featuring Wins McDonald, Business Strategist

Welcome to episode 2 of Branding and the Beast, which focuses on telling your business growth story. Your hosts Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss: 1. Giving yourself “permission” to grow 2. The importance of sharing how you’ve grown in an authentic way 3. The single biggest question to ask yourself as a business owner 4. As you “grow up,” adjusting your values and mission in a way that is understandable to your clients This episode’s guest features the absolutely brilliant Wins McDonald, Founder of Inspire Income Impact and Business Model Strategist.

Season 1 Episode 1: Personality Featuring Helen Gibson of Zing Credit Union

In this episode, Alicia Disantis and Shaun Bernstein discuss ways simplify the complex and make technology more human when telling your company or product story. We interview John San Filippo, Co-Founder of @Finopotamus, a FinTech publication, and two-time "Dummies" book author. Topics include: 1. Ways to make it easier for people to learn complex and new topics 2. "Less is more" is always better 3. How to adjust your message to your audience's needs 4. The importance of user experience and not over-complicating things

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