SMB Creative Strategist Cases

Case #1: SameUnderneath

Background: Ryan Christiansen’s idea for a company came while creating an ideal curriculum in his teaching program at PSU. He felt that the way we looked at race is wrong because we’re all the same underneath.

Ryan decided to build a clothing brand that expressed his philosophy of race instead of becoming a teacher. In one year, SameUnderneath was carried by over 45 stockists across America. Ryan approached me for branding advice and an investment (and buy-in to the board as well). We raised over $890,000.

Challenge: Ryan’s inventory did not sell out quickly and they were running season-to-season leaving zero profit. They were not sure where to allocate their revenue: high-end women’s assortments or basics for all.

Research: From interviewing customers and would-be buyers, people loved the idea of using bamboo material for their clothes, but it cost a lot because of the manufacturing process. Also, the target urban demographic found Ryan’s price points too high for basics like t-shirts and hoodies.

Insight: Customers loved the mission of the company and the fact that bamboo did not come from “the oppressor’s material”: cotton.

Idea: We sourced organic fair-trade cotton manufacturers to create a modified brand narrative for SameUnderneath. His team members came up with the idea to introduce famous black heroes to their screen-printing line up including Sojourner Truth and Rosa Parks.

TechStack: SalesForce, social media analytics tools, Google analytics, Account-Based Marketing API, and survey tools.

Results: Ryan now had a basics line that would become a staple flow of income. They could focus on strategic pieces of clothing with bamboo as they improved their “cotton collection” revenue. Though the operation costs were still high, they managed to stay afloat and they headlined Oregon’s first Sustainable Fashion Show. The Hollywood celebrity Stana Katic modeled a piece from SameUnderneath’s bamboo dress collection, and she wore it to her movie premier Feast Of Love.

Case #2: Gold Heat

Background: Gold Heat has been the #1 manufacturer of heated floors for $1M+ motorcoaches for over 22 years. To diversify their revenue streams and improve their overall brand positioning, they needed to pivot to becoming known in other industries. We landed on new home construction industry and the luxury hotel industry.

Research: Both of these industries are highly competitive and they target high-net individuals and corporations. As expected, several other heating companies had already secured incredible market share over the years. However, most of their products had much lower quality and reliability than Gold Heat’s products.

Idea: Since GH’s target client is acquired during the planning stage of building, I created an exhaustive plan to use Account-Based Marketing tactics to build a network with key decision-makers. I helped brand Gold Heat products to appeal to these new industries, which was all new branding and marketing for the company. I created several ads and SEO content to attract consumers and members of a buyer committee. Also, I was asked to write the speech, slides, and brand strategy for an upcoming event.

TechStack: HubSpot, Keynote, Google analytics, Account Database, and Digital Ad Platforms.

Results: I was the sole presentation writer and brains behind the most impactful and successful event all year. Attendees included only c-suite and director-level members worldwide. Countless new contacts, follow-ups, and requests for more information resulted from my work. My ads and content have reached millions of consumers and prospective clients across the world.

Case #3: Nike at UofO

Background: John McPhee of Nike approached me when I was teaching business at Portland State University and building the business program at Lincoln High School. John and I came up with an idea to create a pilot program for students interested in operation management in the sports apparel industry.

Challenge: How could we build an ecosystem of Oregon talent that would be interested in the logistics field?

Research: The greater Portland area was home to many global sports apparel companies.

Insight: Many local executives were interested in sustainable development and supply chain education. They wanted knowledgeable employees, but the training was mostly on the job. A focus on supply chain education and experience would boost the bottom line to all of these companies.

Idea: We proposed to the school board, provost, and principals that this pilot program would fulfill some of the needs for a robust supply chain program that emphasized and championed our local business partners like Nike. This would build a network and ecosystem for talent and thought leadership in the sports apparel industry. Over the semesters, we brought in countless industry leaders to speak to students. We not only wrote the curriculum and sequence, we initiated the branding, copy, and promotion of the entire program.

TechStack: Account-Based Marketing API, SalesForce, ActiveCampaign, LeadPages, Keynote, Trello, and Adobe Creative Suite.

Results: For the first two years, this was the most popular business course offered in the business department. Today, the University of Oregon has the top Sports Product Management master’s degree program in the world. Dozens of local and global brands participated in curriculum design, internships, and sports apparel hiring from this program. Though many people were involved in the final creation, our pilot program at local schools helped validate U of O’s program, and John helped deliver insights to the standard supply chain curriculum.

Case #4: Viral Ventures Magazine

Background: In 2009, social media marketing was still fairly new and at a low adoption rate for most businesses.

Challenge: Convince marketing leaders that social media and viral marketing were the future.

Research: Consumers started to demand transparency and authentic interactions with brands. Push Marketing was on its way out and Pull Marketing was starting to gain popularity. Transparent Brand Journalism satisfied consumers and publishing digital marketing insights intrigued CMOs.

Insight: Marketing leaders were reactive, rather than proactive during this push/pull marketing transition. They did see promise in digital marketing, but they weren’t ready to spend a lot of money on it.

Idea: Create a publication focused on viral marketing and social media marketing. Get industry leaders in ever digital marketing niche to create content and cross-promote it across various online channels to prove viral marketing works. Also, show people how to use platforms for business and connecting with consumers.

TechStack: Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, ConvertKit, ClickFunnels, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, Camtasia, & SalesForce.

Results: Viral Ventures Magazine‘s first issue was downloaded more than 50,000 in the first month. It was the first magazine dedicated to social media and digital marketing. The publisher’s internal marketing in the magazine earned $150,000 of business from ads. Lastly, we built up a new email list to 2,500 in 3 months.

Case #5: Writing Income Accelerator


Background: Mid and advanced-level writers often don’t know the full program of creating an article, ranking it in Google, promoting it, and getting remarkable client-centric results. They can write good stuff, but the articles don’t perform well.

Challenge: While ad spend on written content is up, CMOs and marketing leaders are finding it difficult to measure the performance of content. They don’t how it correlates to a sale from Top Of Funnel campaigns.

Research: Content marketing is a $413B market. With more consumers using ad blockers and demanding content that prioritizes storytelling, brand journalism is the ideal type of content to deliver. Writers are starting to learn more SEO, but other OKRs are still lacking.

Insight: Google’s E-E-A-T and YMYL guideline correlates to page #1 rankings. Longform content, either in the form of brand journalism articles or ultimate guides is the two most successful types of content that satisfies everyone: the Google algorithm, the consumer, and the brand. If the content is lightly/barely branded, it is well-received.

Idea: Create a system to guarantee top Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) that CMOs and businesses want. Track performance on all OKRs. Integrate a system that included how to Write, Rank, Promote, and Scale content. Stress the use of long-form articles using the brand journalism or ultimate guide format.

TechStack: ClickFunnels, MailerLite, HubSpot, Pardot, Sketch, Crello, Monday, Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Teachable, Screenflow, Facebook Ads, and WordPress Elementor.

Results: I invented the term Return On Article Spend, a play on ROAS and proved high-performance results for every client article. I’ve replicated my results with several clients and countless students. My training elevated the value of writers and improved the traffic for brands.

Articles verifiably get thousands of interactions/engagements, dozens of comments, hundreds of email opt-ins, and thousands of landing page visits. This system has improved the income of talented freelance writers who have gone through the training (they charge $1,000 per article), and increased top-of-funnel metrics (and eventually revenue) for clients. Over 75% of articles rank on page #1 of Google for desirable keyword phrases. Client ROAS is 5X-10X.



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