Ep 2 - Thoughtful Marketing

ArtistCEO thoughtful marketing

Shannon, the businesswoman, knows she needs to brand herself. Shannon, the artist, can't stand to do it in a false way. When Kerri suggests a podcast, it's off to the races. The story behind the podcast plus thoughts on thoughtful, yet irreverent marketing and branding.


Shannon: Ok so can I just say that i’m really excited about this podcast that I’m doing with Kerri. It’s amazing. I feel so inspired and it feels like the perfect sandwich to chew on that both my meat-loving hungry gimme-some-substance CEO wants to do because it’s productive and I can write it off because it’s a viable marketing investment for brand building and business exploration. And it’s also like chock full of vegetables and organic farmer raised chickpea hummus who just wants something really light and nourishing. Aka, a creative project.

Kerri: Hey. It’s Kerri, the content strategist you met in episode 1. I’m really excited that Shannon is excited about this podcast. I love podcasts. In fact, last year, I loved them a little bit too much. You see, I had left being a content manager at a storytelling startup to pursue my art - a one woman show and spoken word poetry - and so I was nannying to pay the bills. The kids were practically babies, too young to speak, and so I listened to podcasts for almost 8 hours a day. I was obsessed. Like a baby with a pacifier, when I started doing online media work again, I had to wean myself off the comfort of nonstop audio education. My secret - I was obsessed with podcasts about entrepreneurship. Seriously, I’ve heard them all. So it’s great to be producing a podcast about art and entrepreneurship instead of just listening to them. Even if it is still a bit of vicarious living.

Shannon:  So a couple of months ago Kerri and I met - so Kerri is my social media and digital marketing strategist and she is working with me both as an advisor and a consultant for me to create my own social media both as my art as well as my business. She too is a left brain/right brain integrated being and she is both a savvy professional, a business woman in her own right and a poet - literally.

Kerri: It’s sort of weird to be called a poet when you haven’t written poetry in...some time now. Last year I was performing a lot, I had a video that went semi-viral on Upworthy, performed at a big conference. But lately, I’ve been wondering what’s next.

Shannon: I was having coffee - and a beer - and I was actually celebrating with my team. We had just had a great design project that went really well and I think it was our first official full design project with a particularly important client - a very big tech company that we were really excited to work with. And I told them I would take them out for a round and we were sitting there and I had my regular meeting with Kerri, so I told everyone I had to excuse myself and I walked into the other patio of this place called Paizon - it’s got little twinkly lights in the evening and another bar right in there and it’s where I go when I want to feel like I’m in Europe even when I’m not.

So I was there with my team, I excused myself and I went into the back patio, there was a second little door outside and it was hot - hot hot hot and there was something particular about the heat and the sun because it was making me relax - or maybe it was the beer - I don’t know. But I just remember being really happy and really relaxed and at ease.

Kerri: All I remember is being on Skype in my home office and because I’m on the East Coast, it was dark outside.

Shannon: I often feel at ease when I talk to Kerri anyway because she’s a pretty mellow soul and she’s very thoughtful and I never feel like anything we do is rushed. And that’s exactly the way I want to go about my marketing, this is how I want to go about my advertising and in fact running my business.

Kerri: At the time - everything Shannon was doing was split into the two sides of herself. Businesswoman and Artist. And it just didn’t feel as interesting as the truth. In some ways, Shannon was like the cobbler with no shoes. She was a brander without a brand.

Shannon: I want to do branding thoughtfully but I also want to do it irreverently and I also think that’s born of the two sides of myself. I don’t want to play the game on either side. I don’t want to be a starving artist who navel gazes too much and I also don’t want to be false and so much freaking marketing out there is annoying and fast and shot from the hip and not in a good way, not like shot from the hip in the gut, just the same old fucking thing, it’s cookie cutter and I know you’re not talking to me even if you say, you know, “Automobile tires built just for you.” No you didn’t build them for me, you built them for a mass market and now you’re trying to shove it down my throat by interrupting my favorite radio station - go away. So I’m really interested in trying to find out, how quiet can we get? How thoughtful can we be and how authentic can we truly make our marketing?

Kerri: There really is so much noise out there I was just wondering, how do we do something that only artists would do? Something bold. And how could Shannon really express her own brandtruth of being both a business person and an artist?

Shannon: So Kerri asked the question, “What are we doing here?” And does it make sense to not take these two sides of you where you’ve created a schizophrenia of sorts between Gray and Shannon and Who and the shows that you do...and work to integrate them. So Kerri one day suggested a podcast. I started listening and got really, really excited. I just had this flood of energy well up in me.

Kerri: This is where Shannon gets inspirational. And the audio gets kind of tinny.

Shannon: It’s the kind of excitement that reminds you who you are. That reminds you why you live. That makes you feel like something other than you has come down and given you a roadsign, or maybe a neon sign right in the middle of your face that says, “YES. THIS.” When you know that you will have boundless energy for this project because that’s what it’s going to take because there will come a time when you hit the dip (thanks, Seth Godin) and you will be exhausted and bored out of your mind and the last thing you want to do is that little thing that’s necessary. I get it. I get that you have to follow where the energy is because it’s going to require that and you must must must find things that are practical but also inspire you. Cause otherwise what the hell? So I got really excited. I got excited about a podcast that talked about the process of being a CEO and an artist. And at the core of me even business is a form of creative expression.

Kerri: So there you have it. Next time, you’ll hear the story of how Shannon became an ArtistCEO in the first place. Spoiler alert - it wasn’t by going to business school, or by getting an MFA.

Subscribe to ArtistCEO for more episodes and follow us on instagram and the web at @helloartistceo. This is an Arthouse of Who Production, a division of House of Who, Inc. Music by cf watkins at cfwatkins.com. My name is Kerri Lowe. You’re hearing the story of Shannon DeJong. Til next time.    

Kerri Lowe