Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on March 13, 2017

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LIVE Onstage at SXSW with Duff Stewart & Heather Whaling

sxsw live

This week, we have a special LIVE episode of the On Brand podcast — on stage from SXSW Interactive. Recorded last Saturday, March 11 in Austin, this episode featured a timely discussion of a big question that many brand builders are struggling with in these divisive times — should your brand take a stand socially and politically? Joining me were guests Duff Stewart of GSD&M and Heather Whaling of Geben Communication.

Next week, I’ll be back with a full-length brand builder interview. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s special episode.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Duff Stewart and Heather Whaling

Duff Stewart is a 27-year veteran of GSD&M, where he serves as CEO. Through purpose-based branding, GSD&M helps articulate and activate a client’s core purpose and creates simple yet powerful ideas that make a difference. With a passion for bold creative and a well-developed business sense, Duff has led a profitable agency turnaround over the past five years. Since becoming CEO, more than 75% of the agency’s roster is new and the team has expanded capabilities in digital, design, experiential and many other areas.

His other brand experience at the agency includes Southwest Airlines, BMW, Walmart and Molson Coors Brewing Company. In addition to his many operational contributions, Duff has long served as a cultural leader. He helped define and articulate the agency’s core values: integrity, curiosity, restlessness, community, freedom & responsibility and winning.

Within the Austin community, Duff is president of the board of directors for the Austin Theatre Alliance and has lent his time and talents to causes like the Anti-Defamation League, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, LIVESTRONG Challenge and the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride. He is also active in local, state and national politics.

Follow Duff on Twitter.

Heather Whaling is founder/president of Geben Communication. In 2016, she was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Ohio Valley Region. After launching the company from her dining room in 2009, Heather’s fresh approach to best practices has helped Geben evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm. With offices in Columbus and Chicago, Geben was named the national media relations agency of the year by Ragan/PR Daily and a top 10 agency for startups by Agency Post.

A board member of The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio, Heather is a vocal advocate for issues impacting women and girls. Her perspective on paid family leave has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, Refinery29 and a variety of local and national media outlets.

Follow Heather on Twitter.

And here’s the video we watched during the podcast — GSD&M’s “I Pee with LGBT” ad directed by Richard Linklater.

More on I Pee with LGBT.

I also wrote a post recently on why your brand should take a stand.

As We Wrap …

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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  • Remember – On Brand is brought to you by my new bookGet Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. Order now at Amazon and check out GetScrappyBook.com for special offers and extras.

Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. He also teaches at the University of Iowa and is host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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