This is branding like you’ve never seen or heard it before.

On Branding is a digital documentary series dedicated to introducing audiences to authentic brands that live to connect with their consumers. Each episode, we introduce you to the world’s most celebrated brand creators, innovators, entrepreneurs and experts that are going above and beyond to bring their brand to life.

Enjoy an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at Fortune 500 companies and organic, homegrown successes inside Atlanta and around the globe. Join the conversation, and meet the brains behind the brand, and the builders that go boldly where no brand has ever gone before.

No matter where you go, your brand is always on — so take On Branding with you.

Episode 038: Matt Friedman, Wing Zone

Necessity is the mother of invention – and the creation of Wing Zone is very much a reflection of this adage. When Matt Friedman, a buffalo wing-loving kid from New York State, decided to trade in the blustery winters for the warm surroundings of the University of Florida, he quickly realized that his favorite food was nowhere to be found in the town of Gainesville.

Matt and his soon-to-be business partner Adam Scott turned their fraternity house kitchen into their restaurant headquarters and started delivering wings across campus. Now, nearly 25 years later, Wing Zone is a thriving franchise business with over 100 restaurants in the United States and 20 international locations, all built on the foundation of unique flavors and a family-like culture. Remaining true to their roots, Wing Zone is slated to open a 4,500 square-foot restaurant on the University of Florida campus in early 2016. 

Here, Matt shares his insights on building a business from the ground up, entrepreneurial passion, and the process of defining a brand that had been 15 years in the making.

Episode 037: Kevin Gillespie, Gunshow & Revival

Among his many accolades – award-winning chef, innovative restaurateur, cookbook author, and reality television alum – Kevin Gillepsie’s real claim to fame is an unwavering commitment to being true to himself.

In a landscape where authenticity has shifted from a meaningful description of a brand to an often overused buzzword, Kevin has managed to infuse an indisputable genuineness into each and every one of his ventures.

After receiving critical acclaim as the chef of the upscale Woodfire Grill, Kevin’s first solo restaurant endeavor, Gunshow, was launched in an effort to provide an innovative dining experience without exclusivity or pretension. Revival, his newest pursuit, takes this concept even further – serving family-stile Southern Sunday supper like Kevin used to eat at his grandmother’s house.

In this episode of On Branding, Kevin reflects on how his working-class Georgia upbringing inspires him, balancing artistry and business acumen, and how a quiet introvert became a “Top Chef” fan favorite.

Episode 036: Henrik Werdelin, BarkBox & Prehype

There are few things people love more than their dogs. And BarkBox, a subscription-based business that enables dog owners to surprise their precious pooches with a monthly selection of toys and treats, has tapped into this love in a big way.

The brainchild of Henrik Werdelin and two fellow dog lovers – Matt Meeker and Carly Strife – BarkBox grew from a casual “side business” to a fully-fledged enterprise with Bark & Co, complete with a media property, adoption service, and e-commerce site. Bark & Co even designs its own products under Henrik’s direction. He leads design, content and future product development for the company.

Originally from Denmark, Henrik has taken his entrepreneurial prowess across the globe – spending time in London, Paris, and currently New York. His extensive experience includes serving as Entrepreneur in Residence at Index Ventures, a leading venture capital firm, where he worked with start-ups that turned into household names like Rent the Runway and DropBox. He was formerly the Vice President of Product Development and Strategy for MTV Networks International, and he was named one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People.

Henrik is currently the managing partner at Prehype, where he and a group of international entrepreneurs work with companies like Verizon and Intel to help them innovate like start-ups.

In this episode of On Branding, Henrik shares his take on creating a human-like brand, the importance of narrative – for company culture and fostering connections with customers – and taking a bold stance on humor.

If you’re listening, tweet us with your reaction to this show at @BrandFever, using the hashtag #OnBranding.


Episode 035: Meg Flynn, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

A brand is only as powerful as its story, and Meg Flynn, the social media content producer for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has plenty of inspirational material to work with.  The pediatric healthcare system has built a bustling online community that captures the buoyant spirit of those it serves.

They’ve earned national attention for both creative social media campaigns – like the April Fool’s therapy dog takeover – and for the Dedicated to All Better blog, which tackles heart-wrenching topics like child abuse and raises awareness about critical health issues in a timely manner.

As the largest healthcare provider for children in Georgia and one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country, Children’s hosts more than 850,000 patient visits annually at three hospitals and 25 neighborhood locations.

Here, Meg shares how to harness the power of brand ambassadors to tell your brand’s story in an authentic way, the importance of compelling visuals in crafting a powerful story, and why relationships are the key to social media success.

Episode 034: Chuck Kent, Branding Magazine & Avenue

There’s nothing more powerful than the truth. This is the principle Chuck Kent, director of brand content for Chicago-based B2B branding firm Avenue and contributing editor for Branding Magazine’s Branding Roundtable, has built his career on.

At the heart of effective marketing and branding is the ability to tell stories – and what better way to arrive at a company’s “simple brand truth,” as Chuck calls it, than through honest and meaningful discussion?

In an era where content is king, interviews are one of the most easily utilized tools marketers have to allow great brand stories to tell themselves.

A copywriter turned creative director at BBDO, now a brand strategist and industry journalist, Chuck understands this better than almost anyone. Whether he’s crafting compelling content for his clients, which include household names such as Motorola and Wrigley, or facilitating dynamic and informative conversations for the Branding Roundtable, Chuck relies on the tried-and-true technique of asking questions to solicit meaty, meaningful insights.

Here, Chuck explains why interviews are such a versatile tool for companies to generate practical content – and perhaps more importantly, gain an understanding of not only their consumers, but ultimately themselves.

If you’re listening, Tweet us with your reaction to this show at @BrandFever, using the hashtag #OnBranding.


Episode 033: Joe Guith, President of Cinnabon

With a career trajectory that includes time spent with some of today’s most iconic food and beverage brands – from Coca-Cola to Molson Coors Brewing and KFC – Joe Guith knows what resonates with consumers.

As the president of Cinnabon, Joe finds himself at the helm of a beloved brand, one that symbolizes indulgence – in moderation – and has successfully expanded its footprint through brand partnerships. In fact, in 2013, Cinnabon passed $1 billion in annual branded product sales globally through a variety of retail channels.

Keen on recognizing opportunity, Cinnabon has leveraged its unsolicited cameo on AMC’s hit “Breaking Bad”-spinoff, “Better Call Saul,” into an all-out PR campaign. It’s this kind of sensibility and a very nimble team that’s enabled the brand to be virtually everywhere with no advertising budget.

Here, Joe gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the ingredients that comprise this powerful brand – from the fondant sugar to the employees.

Episode 032: Jolie Weber, CMO to CFO, Wise Foods, Inc.

How do you make a career transition that transcends every preconceived notion you ever had for your professional trajectory when you also are surrounded by a host of skeptics? For Jolie Weber, Chief Financial Officer at Wise Foods, it was about believing in her personal brand. In Brand Fever’s latest online episode of On Branding, Wise Foods’ former Chief Marketing Officer shares the story about how she made the transition from leading the company’s marketing department for eight years to becoming its CFO in 2011.

Jolie’s own first reaction to the career invitation from the CEO was, “Are you kidding?” But as she pondered the opportunity, “I looked inside myself at the parts of my brand that had been successful and useful to me…and I had to think how to redevelop myself from a brand perspective.”

In the realm of marketing, most understand how powerful branding can be in changing the way a company or product is perceived. Jolie brings a more intimate point of view, demonstrating the dynamics of branding from a personal perspective. In addition to sharing her journey, Jolie explains how personal branding can help escalate anyone’s professional ambitions.

Before joining Wise, Jolie worked in strategic business development and marketing at several other consumer packaged goods companies, including The Coca-Cola Company and Suntory Water Group. Her greatest strengths are her creativity, drive, leadership and ethics, and she thrives on business challenges. Jolie is chairperson of the Atlanta Chapter of the Network of Executive Women, whose mission is to attract, retain and advance women in the retail and consumer products industry through education leadership and business development. She also serves as co-treasurer of the organization. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in business administration from Emory University in Atlanta.

Episode 023: Guy Duncan, Coca-Cola

Guy Duncan is a man of many Chuck Taylors. Several dozen, actually. Which is fitting, since the Coca-Cola Global Creative Director is always stepping foot on a new continent, managing Coca-Cola, Diet Coca-Cola, and Coca-Cola Zero – the trilogy of Coca-Cola brands – and overseeing all major international marketing, advertising, and content initiatives, including worldwide events such as the Olympics and World Cup.

Coca-Cola, consistently ranked as the world’s top global brand, has championed marketing based on its “Open Happiness” and “Share a Coke” campaigns, as well as its “Content 2020” vision for innovation, design, digital engagement, and branded communications. Its most popular YouTube spots typically feature a vending machine and spontaneous stunts, like dance-offs and singing competitions. In some cases, the machines have been placed in areas where political and social upheaval prevent Coca-Cola consumers from face-to-face interactions, therefore attempting to bring peace.

On this episode of On Branding, Guy tells us how Starsky & Hutch introduced him to the facets of brand storytelling, why placing the consumer as a hero in Coca-Cola’s offbeat advertising makes an impact beyond geography or language, and what the challenges are to being the world’s most highly ranked creative director.


Episode 031: So Worth Loving

Flawless skin and Photoshopped figures may reign supreme in the editorial branding industry, but Atlanta-based So Worth Loving is on a mission: to disrupt images of perfection by celebrating scars, flaws, and authentic beauty.

On today’s episode, you’ll meet Eryn Erickson, Founder of So Worth Loving. An apparel brand whose roots began in her basement, So Worth Loving has since expanded to a global audience, linked by powerful stories of self-love and acceptance.

Serving up reminders that her #SWLfamily is lovable without alteration, Eryn and her team post a steady stream of visual stories to social media, sometimes up to seven times each day. Sharing personal stories of struggle with profound depth of honesty, photos often feature Eryn’s own friends and neighbors, proudly sporting their So Worth Loving gear.

With an organic community reachable at any time, Eryn reminds her audience that negative thoughts may bubble up throughout the day, but they can be pushed aside to accentuate – and celebrate – the positive.

Visit the So Worth Loving shop, or talk to Eryn on Twitter at @SoWorthLoving.

No matter my history, past mistakes, relationship status, or career choice — I am worthy of love.

Episode 030: Kathleen Shannon, Braid Creative

This episode of On Branding is brought to you by Circles Conference, a creative conference for the creative community. Learn from world-changing thinkers and innovators, to inspire, create, and repeat. Attend this September 18th and 19th in Grapevine, Texas, to mingle with speakers like Jessica Hische, Kathleen Shannon, The Heads of State, and more. To grab your tickets before they’re gone, visit

Kathleen Shannon is known for being kind of a powerhouse. A designer, creative director, and strategist wrapped up into one moving, shaking, phenom among the design community, Kathleen brings a sense of pizzaz and energy to every single brand project she touches. Spiritual. Whimsical. Buzzing with life. She is the co-founder of Braid Creative, working alongside her sister Tara Street – the two are a yin-and-yang between complimentary right-brain, left-brain skill sets. Offering creative visions and, yes, a shoulder to lean on during what can often be an intense branding process, Kathleen helps solo-prenuers, bloggers, photographers, designers, artists and other ‘makers’ refine and embolden their message so that they can make money with focus – and purpose.

Besides taking on clients, Kathleen has also become highly popular in the online design community for the Braid E-Courses she develops with her sister, where they share bits and pieces of the Braid Method – a tuned in approach that helps anyone (clients and non-clients alike) give thoughtful meditation for why their brand exists…and for who.

And, if she weren’t busy enough, Kathleen is the proud new mother of baby Fox, born this spring.

We caught up with Kathleen this week to discuss how new motherhood enhances the intensity of the creative process, authenticity that magnetizes new – and shifting – audiences, and making time to connect with her legions of creative, ambitious fans all over the world.