Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on March 12, 2018

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LIVE Onstage at SXSW with Heather Whaling and Wendy Cohen

This week on the On Brand podcast presented by Twenty20, we have a special LIVE episode from SXSW 2018 in Austin. Recorded Saturday, March 10th, 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  Heather Whaling of Geben Communication and Wendy Cohen of Picture Motion.

Enjoy This Episode Now

About Heather Whaling and Wendy Cohen

Heather Whaling is the President of Geben Communication. After launching the company from her dining room in 2009, Heather’s fresh, data-driven approach to best practices has helped Geben evolve into a highly respected, sought-after, award-winning PR firm with operations in Columbus, Chicago, and Seattle.

Heather prides herself on using Geben as a platform for doing good. She is a vocal advocate for issues impacting women and girls, especially paid parental leave. After rolling out a 10-week leave policy for new moms and new dads at Geben, her perspective on this issue has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and a variety of local and national media outlets.

Follow Heather on Twitter.

Wendy Cohen is the President of Picture Motion playing a leading role in business development, strategic planning, managing campaigns, and digital strategy. Prior to joining the Picture Motion family, Wendy was the Senior Director of Film Campaigns at Participant Media where she developed innovative online and mobile initiatives for Charlie Wilson’s War, The Visitor, Food, Inc, The Cove, Waiting for “Superman”, Lincoln, Middle of Nowhere, and A Place at the Table. Wendy was born and raised in Montreal and began her career in film in 2003 as the Programmer and Outreach Coordinator for the Media That Matters Film Festival and Media That Matters: Good Food project. In 2006, she became the first Community Manager for The Huffington Post in New York City. Wendy produced Every Third Bite in 2009, an award-winning short documentary about bees hailed as a “better bee movie” by New York Magazine, she produced the 2011 Sundance Institute trailer titled Light is Love and recently completed production on her second short narrative film titled All Exchanges Final.

Wendy continues to be a guest lecturer and panelist at festivals and schools around the country and has been profiled in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Hollywood Reporter, and Mashable. She is a recipient of the 2010 New Leaders Council’s 40 Under 40 Leadership Award.

Follow Wendy on Twitter.

A Few Helpful Links to Things We Discussed

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream is threatening to stop doing business with FedEx if the company doesn’t cut ties with the NRA. More at Business Insider.

The new book Do Good by Anne Bahr Thompson on brand building through social good. Guess what? Anne is my guest on the podcast next week!

“If you lie, you die.” We talked a lot about authenticity and transparency. David Srere of Siegel+Gale said, “If you lie, you die” on this podcast back in 2015. Listen to David’s episode.

What brands have made Heather and Wendy smile recently? Heather loves Kendra Scott, who also spoke about doing good at SXSW, while Wendy shared a story about how feminine products brand Lola celebrated Galentine’s Day and helped the homeless at the same time.

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.

Thanks again to our sponsor Twenty20. Your source for on brand photography for your brand. You can get five photos with Twenty20’s one-week free trial at Twenty20.com/OnBrand.

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




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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