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Curated Collection Of The Best Interviews From Our Midtown Studio

Experiential Marketing



Experiential Marketing

This week I sat down with experiential marketing expert, Stu Sheldon of Escalate.  Stu spent several years building brands for Coca Cola, including Mello Yello.  Like that refrigerator pack your 12 pack comes in?  Coca Cola introduced that idea and tested it with the Mello Yello brand with impressive success.  Stu shared some excellent information about the difference between paid advertising campaigns and experiential marketing.

In an economy where every dollar counts, companies that are seeking to increase frequency a customer purchases their product or service as well as adding new customers can often gain greater results through an experiential marketing approach.  Stu talked about the fact that even in situations where a company has an advertising agency that has produced creative material, Escalate can collaborate with company and agency to build on what has been created to “Make it come to life”.

Stu explained that while even a small company can benefit from experiential marketing, they typically work with mid-sized to large companies seeking to expand brand awareness.  They have an impressive list of success stories from Coca Cola to non-profit organizations.  Check out this great episode–I think you’ll find it both informative and interesting!

Special Guest:

Stuart Sheldon, Chief Advocacy Officer at Escalate  Linkedin  Facebook  Twitter  vimeo logo  youtube logo  instagram-logo-transparent-png-i11 (16x16)


  • BA, English and Journalism, Washington and Lee University
  • Former Senior Brand Manager, Coca Cola Company
  • Founder and Former Evangelist Prime, ConnectUs Marketing
  • 2006 Coca-Cola North America Big, Bold & Inspiring Marketing award; Coca-Cola Worldwide Marketing Excellence award finalist.


Sean’s Harvest Market and You Talk I Write

Sean's Harvest Market

Sean’s Harvest Market and You Talk I Write

Today we had the opportunity to sit down with experts from Sean’s Harvest Market and You Talk I Write.  Sean Germain and his wife, Amber Chaney (also a working actor), opened their first location for Sean’s Harvest Market in January 2014.  The thing that makes that an interesting fact is that the eatery/market is an open air setting with a dining bar where patrons can watch their food being prepared.  The day they opened it was 7 degrees!

Sean talked about the fact that they have recently opened a second location on Peachtree based on the success of their Amsterdam Walk site where they got their start.  He and Amber shared how they focus on providing a fresh, frequently–changing menu based on availability of locally-sourced ingredients.  They also sell home-grown vegetables such as tomatoes and berries grown on their NC farm.  With 3 children in the home and a successful acting career on Amber’s part the couple talked about how they juggle busy schedules to follow their passions for food service and entertainment.

Amber has worked as an actor on a number of films such as Hunger Games, Attack of the Morningside Monster, and Cupid’s Requiem.  We had fun joking around sampling some of her accents, laughing about how she’s been able to call on her early life in Acworth, GA, a small community Northwest of Atlanta.

You Talk I Write

Candi Cross joined us and talked about her work as a ghostwriter for a variety of authors and businesses with a story to tell.  She described the process of interviewing her clients, learning what they are trying to convey, and getting a sense of the person or business in order to best represent what they’re trying to get across.  She’s worked with well-known authors as well as executives and corporations.  We talked about the variety of publications she has contributed to, drawing on her 20+ years of writing experience to produce high quality content.  She’s been providing such a high quality of writing she has been able to stay busy for the past 5 years through word-of-mouth referrals from her happy clients.

Special Guests:

Sean Germain, Co-Founder of Sean’s Harvest Market  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3

Sean's Harvest Market

Amber Chaney, Actor, Co-Founder of Sean’s Harvest Market  linkedin_small1


Candi Cross, Ghostwriter, You Talk I Write  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small



Small Business Administration


Small Business Administration

This week I hosted Small Business Administration’s Southeast Regional Administrator, Cassius Butts and Sherry Kinard, Vice President and Manager of Government Guaranteed Lending of Brand Bank.  They came by the studio to talk about their State of the Region event held the previous week where they shared information about the variety of indicators that show the economy of the Southeast is on the rise.

As the SBA’s media announcement of the State of the Region Address announcement quoted Cassius, “I am honored to present the SBA Inaugural State of the Region Address. This regional event is timely and encouraging to our economy as we have backed $4.5 billion in loans in the Southeast Region this past fiscal year. Our financial economic forecast looks promising and I am excited to portray where we are now and how we plan to influence our small businesses and lending institutions looking forward,” says Regional Administrator Butts. The regional address will present successes and new data from Region IV of the SBA: Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

Sherry talked about how Brand Bank partners with Small Business Administration to help small businesses gain access to capital needed to make their businesses run.  We talked about the variety of mentoring services available for entrepreneurs that will link them up with experienced, successful business executives who can help them craft an effective business plan and insure they have their proposal in order before seeking a small business loan.

We’re pleased to support the business community by giving them a voice in the media through which they can tell their stories and move their businesses forward.  And we are happy to collaborate with the Small Business Administration to help them share information that can help entrepreneurs gain access to resources (many of which are free of charge) that can help them have a greater chance of succeeding.

Special Guests:

Cassius Butts, Regional Administrator, Small Business Administration’s Southeastern Region  facebook_logo_small3  twitter_logo_small  linkedin_small1  youtube logo  google-plus-logo-red-265px  feed logo


  • Masters, Public Administration, Urban Administration, Clark Atlanta University
  • Fellowship, Presidential Management Fellow, US Office of Personnel Management
  • Advisor, South Cobb Redevelopment Council
  • Former Branch Chief, Real Estate Division, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Sherry Kinard, VP and Manager of Government Guaranteed Lending, Brand Bank  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1  twitter_logo_small  Pinterest-logo


  • BA, History, Clark Atlanta University
  • Former AVP, Small Business Lending, One Georgia Bank
  • Board Member, DEBCO
  • Recipient, 2008 SBA Pace Setter Award

SoundRiver Advisors and Emerging Artist Network



SoundRiver Advisors and Emerging Artist Network

This week we sat down with experts from SoundRiver Advisors and Emerging Artist Network.  Bo Wilkins, one of the experts from SoundRiver Advisors who focuses on insurance strategies and solutions came back on and introduced us to Dave Sutton of Emerging Artist Network.  Dave brought along his partner, well-known guitarist, Peter Stroud.  SoundRiver Advisors is an Atlanta firm whose team is made up of investment finance, insurance, and tax experts.  They work with privately-held companies to help them plan compensation packages for key executives as well as position themselves for generational transition.

Bo introduced me to Dave Sutton, who along with Peter Stroud and Dan Lipson, had started a technology company called Emerging Artist Network.  With his extensive background as a marketing expert with TopRight Partners charged with helping companies expand their brands’ awareness, he saw an opportunity to fill a void in the entertainment industry.  Dave has leveraged this experience with brand development and marketing with a passion for music to help develop a technology platform that utilizes a collection of data points about emerging bands as well as brands.  The data enables Emerging Artist Network to use gamification and analytics to match brands seeking to grow to emerging artists whose data profile and band dynamic matches the picture for that particular brand.  Peter Stroud has been a touring musician with a long list of artists such as Sheryl Crow, Sara McLaughlin, Don Henley, Peter Droge, and numerous others.  He co-founded the boutique amplifier company, “65amps“, whose amps are used by a host of accomplished artists as well.

Dave and Peter talked about how challenging the music business is now for artists to make money on their music, outside of touring.  In today’s digital age that has changed the way fans purchase music, royalties have declined significantly.  That means emerging artists must look for sources of revenue to support their creative efforts and recording costs through such channels as strategic relationships with brands willing to sponsor their work.  Peter talked about how securing sponsorship has often had a negative stigma in the music industry among artists, being viewed as “Selling out”.  Emerging Artist Network seeks to get to know a band, their style/genre, and their listeners and using innovative algorithms, they’re able to match artists with brands who are looking to include musical acts in their brand awareness campaigns.  As Peter and Dave described, they seek to let the bands they work with be who they are rather than seeking to change them to fit a sponsor.  I look forward to having them back on the show to feature a delighted brand they were able to link up with a band.

Special Guests

Bo Wilkins, Partner, SoundRiver Advisors  Linkedin    

SoundRiver Advisors

  • Former Executive Managing Director, Wealth Management, Reliance Trust Company
  • Former Partner, Nease, Lagana, Eden, & Culley
  • BA, History & German, Hampden-Sydney College
  • CLU – Chartered Life Underwriter; ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant; CAP – Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy


Dave Sutton, CEO/Co-Founder of Emerging Artist Network   twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1


  • MBA, Marketing, George Washington University
  • Published Author
  • President/CEO, TopRight Partners

Peter Stroud, Co-Founder/ Artist Relations of Emerging Artist Network  twitter_logo_small  facebook_logo_small3  linkedin_small1


  • Guitarist, Musical Director for Sheryl Crow
  • Co-Founder/Partner, 65amps
  • Founder of the band, Big Hat