078 – Emily Shea – Partner, Executive Creative Director – Stephan & Brady

In this Happy Hour podcast, we’re chatting with Emily Shea about TikTok marketing, virtual events, and time management techniques.


  • (11:12) Who is Emily Shea?
  • (19:19) S&B’s 75th anniversary.
  • (28:01) TikTok marketing.
  • (37:36) What gets Emily up in the morning?
  • (40:10) Staying focused.
  • (58:12) Virtual events.
  • (1:03:05) The limits of technology.
  • (1:05:06) How did Emily become a partner at S&B?
  • (1:14:12) Creative control.
  • (1:17:02) Two truths and a lie.


Ryan Freng 3:09
Hello, and welcome back to the let’s backflip show. Happy Hour. I’m Ryan Freng, one of the co creative directors here at backflip. And I’m excited, cuz we’re back. It’s been a little bit of a break due to so many things, but we’re back. And as always, I’m joined by my pal, my confidant, my other co creative director, John Shoemaker. Say, Hey, John. Hello. John never gets old you.

John Shoemaker 3:39
Now that we know which way the mirror goes,

Ryan Freng 3:43
right? Well, now you’re just frozen on my screen. So it doesn’t really matter. Yeah. It doesn’t matter if you’re frozen or not. If you raise your right arm. I don’t I don’t see anything there. Hear your back. So we do like to start off before we bring our guests on just mentioning what we have to drink. Actually. That’s weird. Now that I’m thinking about it. Let’s do this. Let’s bring our guests on and then we’ll talk about what we’re drinking. Gonna be great. Here we go. So I’m bringing on Emily Shia. Welcome, Emily. Did I say that? Right. I’ve never said your last name.

Emily Shea 4:12
It che actually.

Ryan Freng 4:15
Yeah, it was terrible. There we go.

Emily Shea 4:18
That’s totally cool.

Ryan Freng 4:20
Thank you so much for coming on. So this is a happy. We do like to start off by talking about what we’re drinking. We briefly talked about it before. Emily and I both like to have a lot of different things, a lot of different options. So I’ve got water. I’ve actually got this hot water, which is really really good. It just kind of tastes beer II tastes like hops in sparkling water. And then it’s got adaptogens and nootropics which I think are just a hip fun name for sci fi mushrooms or something. I don’t know. So I got that. And I got this guy. This guy’s a magical beer right here pineapple Snowbird. This is by carbon forward Do we have our name on it? There we go. backflip nice. I carbon four and backflip. Very nice. We made a beer this year, which is really cool.

Emily Shea 5:11
Tell me about it was it tastes like?

Ryan Freng 5:14
Yeah, so this is a half of ice and with coconut and pineapple wanted something that was super drinkable. So it’s not it’s not super sweet, but it has a little bit of that. Almost like a like a light sweet Belgian, like an orange belt like a blue moon or something like that. Just slightly different flavors, and then it’s a half of ice. And so you kind of have those. What is that kind of more wheat? Ask? Flavor. But we wanted something that was super drinkable and made you think of summer.

Emily Shea 5:45
So yeah, sounds like shenana Can there?

Ryan Freng 5:49
Exactly. So that’s what I got. John, what do you got?

John Shoemaker 5:54
Yeah, just gave it away. I couldn’t I couldn’t stop myself from taking a little drink of kuruva coffee from Kwik Trip. We were out this morning. And I ended up working at home and it’s like, Oh, no. So my wife graciously went in and got got some coffee. And then I have I haven’t opened it yet, but I will. So I actually have a non alcoholic beer here. From athletic brewing company called

Ryan Freng 6:29
I think we’re getting old. Our level of drinking has gone down a lot. Okay,

John Shoemaker 6:36
I’m kind of okay with it. I’m okay. I’m kind of doing dry January, but I’m just cheating as much as I feel like to because I’m like, I it’s not Lent. I’m not treating it like because first I was like feeling like really bad. You know? And I was like, No, I’m just like, did they have a little you know, reset? Okay. Never that and athletic Brewing Company run wild. This is their IPA. And holy cow. Is it good? Like, it’s just like, I had tried a couple of their different beers. And I had like a dark one. I forget what the name of that one was. And that one was like, you’re like, Okay, this is like the decaf coffee. You know, it’s like, it’s kind of a thing, but it’s not the thing. The IP and and a pilsner would be the worst. Yeah. The the IPA is like, you’re like, what is it? That they did like, it tastes like an IPA. And it’s a good IPA. So yeah. That’s fine. Yeah, those

Emily Shea 7:45
na beers have come a long way. Hey, my options were Oh, duels.

Ryan Freng 7:51
I’ve had those two.

Emily Shea 7:55
I think that’s kind of the Pilsner you’re talking about? Okay. Okay, so, yeah, I am not imbibing either. yet. Maybe later. I don’t know. But right now, I have delicious coffee from a cafe Domestique. I don’t know if you’re familiar. It’s about a block away from our office on Willy Street. It’s a fantastic little coffee shop. attached to a bike shop. I mean, how much more Madison can you get? Is that a mapping?

Ryan Freng 8:28
I think we did a we did a coffee class there.

Emily Shea 8:32
Did you like like a tasting like a cupping? Like one of those cupping?

Ryan Freng 8:36
Yes. Yeah, exactly.

John Shoemaker 8:37
We learned how to do learn how to make fancy lattes.

Emily Shea 8:42
Oh, that’s nice.

Ryan Freng 8:44
And then I bought us an espresso so we didn’t have to try hard.

Emily Shea 8:48
Oh, that’s there you go. The um, I’m not big into like the lattes and like the, you know, that I can just like my coffee, black, maybe a little splash of cream. But they do some really inventive things over there with their lattes, they’re not your standard, you know, just sugary syrup, things like that. Have rosemary, like there’s a drink they had a while ago with rosemary in it. So like, really interesting, but

Ryan Freng 9:14
Well, it’s one of those things, if you if you get away from the Starbucks mentality because you go to Starbucks, and they’re like, here’s the karma frappe a lotta you know, just all the sugar, and some milk and maybe a little splash of really bad coffee. If you get away from that you realize it’s just like cooking other food. It’s like you could have a shot of espresso and a bunch of water or you could have a shot of espresso with a little water and a little bit of milk and you know, there’s Italian names for all these things. But then you can get really inventive and Yeah, throw some rosemary in there. Throw. I don’t know, eucalyptus, eucalyptus in there. I don’t know if you could consume that. I it was just another spice that I could think of. Yeah, adapt. Adaptogens and nootropics.

Emily Shea 9:57
Yes, all those things. I’m backing that up with water. So that’s super exciting. But right Hydration is key. So, um, yeah, but I yeah, like we were talking about Ryan at any given time, I think you’ll find a good three beverages going on my desk.

Ryan Freng 10:16
It’s like options. Yeah, no, as long as you have a bathroom available, you know, drinking water and things are good for us. Cheers, you guys. Yeah. Cheers. Thanks for coming on. You did mention you have to hold them all up, though. I only have three today. Sometimes I have five. You mentioned you have a bar cart to your right. I do never use How can we never use that?

John Shoemaker 10:43
What’s What’s the started? I thought

Emily Shea 10:45
it would be cool to have a bar cart at my office if I if I didn’t have a messy desk, and I turn my camera around and show you but yeah, we got this really cool. barchart got some some glassware and some, some some bottles on there. And I’ve used it zero times. I mean, it’s what will have happy hours in the office and we all go to the kitchen. But I thought maybe we’d be like go old school. It’s like I I don’t know. I just don’t have the time.

Ryan Freng 11:12
Ya know, it’s it’s my favorite clients that come in. So I’ve got this. Yeah. And I just have that ready, because we’re like, alright, what are we having today? And I’m like, Yes, this is how our relationship works. What you have

John Shoemaker 11:25
to start doing is anytime you invite somebody into your office for a meeting, and they come in, the first thing you do, you just don’t say anything. And you just walk over, clink the ice into a glass. You pour whiskey or whatever. And then you start the meeting. It’s a power move.

Ryan Freng 11:45
That’d be great. Especially if it’s an employee.

Emily Shea 11:49
My favorite part about that is like your demeanor when you did that was cool and chill is slow, like.

Ryan Freng 12:00
Yeah, especially depending on who it is, you know, they walk in and you’re like, you’re gonna, you’re gonna need this here. This is gonna be hard. Great job on the work that you’ve done. Yeah, so we’ve caught up a little bit. But I think it’s important to kind of just give a little bit about who you are and what you do for those people who are tuning in. And don’t know you. And we are live as well. So if you guys have questions, comments, thoughts, throw those in the chat. We’ll get to them. But I’ll turn it over to Emily to give us a little bit more about who she is.

Emily Shea 12:40
Yeah. Yeah. So I’m, I am a partner and Executive Creative Director at SMB strategic marketing in Madison, Wisconsin. I have been doing this for a long time, a number of years. But essentially, you know, my role here is to work with our strategy team to establish marketing strategies, you know, just running through, you know, what it is we want to achieve tying business objectives to what we’re doing. And then I work with our creative team of writers and designers and others that we call in to help clients achieve those objectives. And we are a super small but mighty team here. Everybody’s it’s kind of like all hands on deck all of the time. We’re always doing something new. We’re never settling for the same old, same old. We don’t like it that way. So it’s super exciting. It’s never a dull moment, that’s for sure.

Ryan Freng 13:46
Yeah, what what was kind of your path to get here? Have you always been in advertising?

Emily Shea 13:51
I haven’t for a really long time. Interestingly enough, I started at I’ve always been in marketing. I started out actually doing interning, doing corporate public relations for what was at the time Gillette stationery company. They handled the Parker pen and Waterman brands of pens. And then we also did liquid paper. So that was interesting. So is that like white out Liquid Paper? Like white out? Yeah. But this was like the actual liquid paper that you know, like a little known fact. And remember this for trivia was invented by Do you know who Michael Nesmith is with a monkey’s or the hat? Huh? Yeah, like passed away. His mother invented that. So weird. Yeah. So yeah, I started out there and then you know, I enjoyed it. But I wanted to try something different. And I ended up at a small graphic design firm that doesn’t exist anymore, and really got a chance to do so many different things. I’m really learned everything from you know the basics of design and using, you know, art to communicate with people and connect with people in order to achieve business objectives. That’s where I got started doing a lot of copywriting. I did go to school at Wisconsin, and majored in journalism. So I do have a strong writing background. I also majored in French, which I think helped a lot too and continues to help to this day, even though I don’t speak much French, French anymore.

Ryan Freng 15:34
Oh, yeah. How does that plan?

Emily Shea 15:37
Well, you know, one of the things I think that studying a foreign language, especially at that level helps you do is really just understand an appreciation for language. And a lot of the French writers that I studied, just took such great care, to make sure that every word worked as hard as it could. And I think the difference between you know, English and a language like French is we have so many more words, in our vocabulary than they do in French. And so we’ve got a lot more words at our disposal, but you know, you have to be a lot more. We can just throw a bunch of stuff out and a word salad, and somebody’s gonna get what we’re saying, right, but in French, you just have to be so focused. And I think that’s really helped, you know, from from advertising writing perspective, where less is more, right. So that’s been really interesting. But yeah, so I, I worked there. Yeah, did everything like learned about the printing process and how to, you know, do estimates and invoice based business stuff, you know, everything.

Ryan Freng 16:46
And he’s here in Madison, Wisconsin,

Emily Shea 16:50
Madison, Madison, it was owned by a husband and wife, who decided they wanted to do something else. And then I started on more of a traditional advertising path. I worked as a copywriter at a few different agencies here in town, ultimately ending up at Stephen and Brady, I believe, 17 years ago now. So yeah, and so we, you know, it was a much different agency, when I started. And, you know, throughout the years, you know, a group of us sort of coalesced, and, you know, kind of took on leadership of the next generation, and we’re now really kind of changing and shaping a new future, which is super exciting, beyond just the client work that we do every day. That’s super exciting. You know, it’s just kind of molding this, this business, we’re gonna celebrate our 75th anniversary this year, but it’s Oh, my gosh, wow, totally different now than it was, you know, like, it’s, it’s, it’s changed so dramatically, and we’re really excited to be part of that change.

Ryan Freng 17:54
Well, that’s awesome. You’re gonna have a rad party for the 75th.

Emily Shea 17:58
I don’t know that we’re gonna have a read

Ryan Freng 18:02
me in these COVID times COVID times.

Emily Shea 18:05
We are going to have a rad party, because we intended to have a red party last year, because we just moved to a new office space. And we had Yeah, I think you guys were invited to that. And then we had to like pull the plug. Because we had, you know, there was another COVID surge.

Ryan Freng 18:24
So when you guys moved from like a literal World War Two bunker or Vietnam bunker or something?

Emily Shea 18:30
Did it was such a crazy space for anyone who hasn’t been there. Yeah, it was a missile tracking station. Yeah, over by the airport by tracks field. It was crazy. We thought long and hard about staying there versus moving. And you know, there’s, there’s something there was something kind of quirky and cool about the space shuttle kind of always would walk in and reimagine it like, like, what if we could just do this sort of Cold War, like, just really embrace its history, like Cold War meets Wes Anderson vibe, like, and just really kind of work that I thought that would be super cool. But at the end of the day, it was just like, way more space than we needed. And it was, it was by the airport. You know, there’s no, there’s nothing there. We wanted to be someplace that had, you know, a little bit more dynamic atmosphere and like, where we could walk to get a cup of coffee.

Ryan Freng 19:30
Oh, yeah. Go out and get some coffee. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The image you could put

John Shoemaker 19:34
forward though, as a French journalist at an ad agency in a missile. I mean, there’s a lot going on right there.

Emily Shea 19:44
That’s pretty Wes Anderson in of itself, as

Ryan Freng 19:48
you guys do. Did you bring any of that into the new space? No, we didn’t. I would have been amazing.

Emily Shea 19:54
We didn’t. We kind of went a little bit of a different direction. Um, our new brand from a look and feel, I’d say is a little bit more sophisticated. It does kind of harder than

Ryan Freng 20:08
a Cold War bunker.

Emily Shea 20:12
Yeah, I mean, it harkens back a little bit historically, but to a different, it’s a little more like there’s some art deco elements to brand. But I also think that at the same time, it’s very, very current, very modern. So yeah, we did not bring any of it over.

Ryan Freng 20:29
There’s always an opportunity down the road to have the Missile Bunker conference room or, you know,

Emily Shea 20:35
100%, we could always bring some of that, and maybe we can brainstorm some of that first 75th anniversary.

Ryan Freng 20:41
Yeah. Well, and that’s so that was something I wanted to mention to like 75th anniversary, and you even started 17 years ago, you survived and the company survived, like, major change in advertising, social media, digital, you know, kind of our, let’s see, how how we can communicate to people, or what we maybe what we communicate to people is still the same, but how we do it and bring it right has changed a lot. Yeah, it’s pretty terrible. Yeah. So how we do it is different, what we do is largely the same. But I think that’s pretty awesome, because we got into production about 15 years ago, because people couldn’t make the change from more traditional, giant production. expensive cameras, you know, like DPS had to mortgage their houses to get the cameras that they needed. And so you weren’t shooting commercials, unless you were paying, you know, 15,000 for a director for a day. Right, your commercials unless you did that. And you know, you’re spending 100 grand just to get into the commercial game. We are able to sneak in with the technology. And there were companies that went away. And you know, you see that as technology changes and communication changes. But what was that like? Because you said 17 years, so it was it? 2005? You came to SMB? Yep. Yep. Yeah. So then 2006 through eight was maybe when Facebook kind of landed, and I don’t know what advertising was, like, on Facebook back then. But that’s, that’s kind of when social media started taking over people’s lives.

Emily Shea 22:23
Yeah, it’s, it’s been interesting. But you know, if anything, that experience, you know, all of us who went through it and adapted and changed and survived and thrived. That’s kind of what we do now, with everything. You know, that’s just kind of how we work. So it’s kind of instilled this, this sense of always having to be inventive and a little bit scrappy, and figuring stuff out. Right. So I think it’s all been good. But yeah, it was, it was different for a long time. And there, there was a bit of a learning curve. Not just for us to get there, but then, you know, trying to bring our clients along on that learning curve, I think was one of the one of the difficult things, because you’re right, or I and I agree, 100%, like, the what we’re doing hasn’t changed, but how we’re doing it has changed. And I think, you know, in as things moved from the sort of analog to digital, whether it be you know, video production, or, you know, even like moving things that were traditionally print to digital, and then even in the last few years, you know, bringing events, you know, virtual, I think that the thing of it is, is you you do have to think about things a little bit differently. I think that that was really, really difficult. And I think that getting people out of that sort of 32nd construct and how that always has to work and the formula that you know, it’s that it doesn’t follow the same formula, you really do have to think about things digitally. And I think that that was one of the things I think we used to produce things like way back in the day for the lowest common denominator of any given target audience, right, because we’ve had one shot at this big broadcast or this big, you know, publication that you’re putting an ad in. So you had to kind of do something and there was a lot of cost involved, right? So you had to do something that was you know, everything to everyone. And we all know that that’s just impossible. Now we have the ability to really target what we’re doing in a way we never have before. So kind of getting shifting that mentality from communicating with the lowest common denominator to really breaking up your target audiences and talking to them in the way that means the most to them and really, really slicing and dicing that that it took a while to get there. But once once you get there and you can demonstrate the reason salts, that ladder up to the objectives. I mean, people are like, Alright, you got it work. This is great, you know? And then then we, then everything was wonderful. So, yeah, but what’s the next change is going to be right? Like, where are we going to have to go tomorrow? Like, that’s just the thing, it’s whenever you think you have it figured out, there’s gonna be some variable that switches they’re gonna be ready to jump on that.

Ryan Freng 25:22
Yeah, I’m super curious about that too. Because right now we have just new apps. You know, like, certainly Instagram, Snapchat, they kind of get us using devices in different ways. Tik Tok, right? It’s all different than Facebook, which was kind of like the godfather of these things, because I don’t think anybody advertises on MySpace, but right now, it’s all within the same realm of things. Whereas Facebook was a new realm. So I’m curious, like, what you’re saying, what’s going to be a new realm, like, weird as VR? Like, are we gonna return to like, you know, somebody walking on, like, in your VR space, like, you know, I’m, and, you know, I’m drinking hot water, because, you know, to the 1920s, of just direct ads, with, with your celebrity, or

John Shoemaker 26:14
we just go back, we just go back to me, I actually think it’s interesting, in that conversation, to think about how, like, it feels like, this isn’t a new thing. But when you really think about the amount of years that this space has been, you know, in existence, it is new, like, especially digital, especially digital, but and I’m even including, like TV, like before the pre internet, just anything that. So that would be analog, but like film, isn’t that old, you know, and then video itself isn’t that old, like, images coming to people, you know, through screens, however you get there is not that old. And so I often think a lot about the messaging, like the medium will certainly change, you know, whether it’s VR or, you know, could be neuro link, we just go straight to the brain, but the method will change, but the the messaging and the communication like that, that is also a thing that changes because the audiences have old, like, audiences, why is up, you know, each generation is like, Oh, I see, I get it, the commercials were convincing me to buy these things. And I don’t want you know, whatever, like, you just, you kind of get used to the advertising. And then you start ignoring it or pushing it away. And so like the today’s challenge, the way I feel it, is that it’s all like, very wise consumer audience that knows what’s going on. And so you have to be far more genuine, you have to be, like, really careful about how you’re approaching, you know, people with your message so that you’re not bothering them, you know, you’re getting their buy in, you know, there’s just a lot there that continue, as well. So like the, you know,

Ryan Freng 28:26
yeah, well, it’s like, it’s like the how, again, how change is what, what doesn’t change is like, Okay, we’re going to make someone feel positively about this brand. Or we’re gonna make them trust our person who’s talking about this. And then when they trust this person, they’ll take that person’s recommendation, or whatever it is. So you know, that all kind of remains the same. But yeah, you’re right, we are a lot more skeptical. And so the creative, the mode of how we do that changes, and I’m curious. This kind of leads into stuff that we’re doing these days, too. I’m curious. Tik Tok is just another another one of those things. But I think again, it’s how do we, how do we communicate and how do we engage, but in a way that again, has changed because how it’s being consumed has changed as well. How have you guys done much tick tock?

Emily Shea 29:24
We have been exploring it and we do it for a couple of clients. We do a lot of food work. So Tick Tick Tock is really great for things like recipe and how to content and those types of things. So that that’s, that’s a good fit. But yeah, I think, you know, you hit on something right. I think like now more than ever. It’s all about being authentic and real. And especially as like I talked about before, you know, we’re And you’re talking about things like, tick tock, who’s the algorithm on there? It’s just frightening. Like how, like, it is scary, right? I mean, how that platform knew who I was, like, within five minutes of engaging with it, I was just like, Oh, my God. But um, you know, I think it is about connecting Pete with people authentically. And with it, like, like, when you’re, you’re able to slice and dice, right? So really understanding that target audience and knowing what they connect with. But it’s really about the storytelling is much less. I think in the, in the, the old days, it was all about problem solution, right? Like, I have a problem, this product or service,

Ryan Freng 30:48
scissors are

Emily Shea 30:49
hard. Yeah, exactly. Like, that’s it, yes. So but now, it’s, you know, the storytelling has taken on a much more than, to me, it’s much more enjoyable to produce as well, because you’re really able to, it’s, it’s less about, like telling a story. And it’s more about sharing a story and inviting engagement, and really giving people content that they care about, you know, for example, you know, I talked about recipe videos, you know, we’re working on a project now. And it’s a, it’s a food product. And one of the things that you know, of course, is important is to communicate all of the attributes of that specific product, right. But you can’t just very well have somebody stand up and say, you should buy this because of XYZ, you know, you’ve got it, you got to give people a little something in order to make it worth their while and show them, it’s less, it’s less about telling them and it’s more about showing them. So again, we pull people in with engaging personalities, or NPR that are trustworthy personalities, too. And then give them like, in this case, recipe information are ways to actually use the product. And sure we weave in why this particular product is what you want to use in order to achieve this, but it’s about it’s about giving them something that they want rather, it’s it’s a lot less about telling, and even less about selling, it’s more about connecting, and the more authentic, you can be the better.

Ryan Freng 32:28
Yeah, and I always I always think about that, in terms of like, engage, you know, we got to we have to engage first no one cares what you know, until they know that you care. So we got to prove that we care that we understand their needs, and provide some engaging content for those needs. Because at the end of the day before, you know, before we make a lot of our purchasing decisions, unless there’s that quick, eye catching thing, you just click and you’re like, oh shit, why did I purchase that? With that exception, we’re going to look at the stats of something we’re gonna see, you know, especially with food, we’re gonna check the nutrition on it, but a recommendation from a friend or an advertisement of somebody from somebody that we trust, where they make an awesome sandwich with the cheese. You know, we’re like, oh, my gosh, that looks so good. I want that right now. Okay, well, I’m gonna go look and see where can I get it? How much does it cost? What’s the you know, we’ll eventually get to that information step and so that’s, that’s also a part of this marketing journey we can provide for them. But yeah, I feel like tick tock especially is just engage, engage, engage, but I think something you said earlier makes me think as well like how the algorithm knows you so much. We are like, filling out a survey where we give them an answer every five seconds, every five seconds. We’re going down the maze a little bit further and they can put us right into a spot that says okay, you know, Ryan is a goofy guy loves comedy. What else do I get on there? I get magic. I get like a lot of illusionist and things so I get comedians I get illusionist. I get a lot of weird technical, nerdy stuff. And you know, that happened again, like you said, after five minutes or like after the first use all of a sudden you just getting relevant content. But it’s interesting too, because I think that can make it more hard to appeal to general audiences because a lot of times people come and they like we have to appeal to everyone. So what you know, what do you do when somebody comes and has that mentality of we need to be all things to all people

Emily Shea 34:36
Yeah, that’s that’s a that’s a good question. Right? Like and that’s that’s our

Ryan Freng 34:40
big one. Everyone across the world and every channel you know, to buy everything that we have,

Emily Shea 34:45
well, because what person what what company doesn’t want that for their product? You know, like it’s who who wants to like limit the net, you know, where they cast their net like everybody well, Once everybody, you know, I think, how do you do that? I mean, I think that that comes down to one of the most critical elements of success in any sort of relationship with a client. And that is that it’s a partnership, and that it’s really about the client, trusting that we know what we’re doing. And understanding that, you know, we’ve done this multiple times before, and to trust us that we’re going to make your dollar go further, by, you know, not being all things to all people in all places that because you simply can’t be that, you know, it’s just, it gets the argument or that not the argument. But the proposition gets a little easier, I think when when budgets are limited, because it’s really easy to slice and dice up a budget and say, if you’re going to be all things to all people, you need X amount of dollars, quite frankly, but when you’ve got a limited budget, you need to be a little bit more, you need to be a lot more thoughtful. We’re thoughtful with all of our budgets, whether they’re big or small, but I think that but um, I think that, I think that that’s, it’s really, if if someone’s insisting that and that’s what they want to do, you know, I think we’re gonna be real honest. And say, I don’t know that you can do that, here’s what we, here’s what we can do. And then we back it up with statistics and data and past successes to try to bring them along. Yeah, there are some clients out there that’ll say, No, I want to do all of these things, and I want it. And it’s like, at that point, you know, are we a good fit? Are we a great partner for each other, you know, because we’re just going to be real, honest and transparent. So that’s, that’s kind of, you know, that’s a little bit more business related than how we saw that creatively. Because I just don’t think any creative is going to ever save the day, when it’s, you know, when you’re trying to be all things to all people, it’s just really, really, it’s, it’s just a waste of money, essentially, things,

John Shoemaker 37:12
you know, really have changed in the public experience of things like, I didn’t really live in this time, but you know, you hear a lot about the three Channel TV time, and I was like, you had three channels. I had limited channels when we were growing up. But basically, the whole point being that like, there’s less and less, like, shared national experience to pull from so like, you used to maybe used to be able to kind of hit the nation with an ad that’s like, how about that Elvis? He’s pretty, you know, but like, if they don’t know, the reference that you’re bringing to them. I mean, you run into this with, like, Saturday Night Live, like, there’s a lot of skits that like, I they’re all humorous, but like, there’s a lot of things I don’t get these days, because I’m like, I don’t know what they’re referencing. I haven’t seen that movie. I haven’t heard that song, you know? So because there’s so much stuff out there. So you almost it’s almost like, you know, not possible is too strong, incredible challenge to hit everybody be all things for all people. Also, it’s not really the wisest, like strategy to use, because what does everybody share? You know, there’s, there’s a few, you know, hopeful messages you can give just about being a human community. But we don’t have a lot of that’s, that’s one of the things I think that is changing a lot.

Ryan Freng 38:59
I’m curious too, and it’s, it’s great when we go down business as well, obviously, because we both run businesses, and it’s fun to talk about. I’m curious what kind of gets you up in the morning. You know, you’ve been with this. You know, you’ve been SMB now your partner for seven or you’ve been there for 17 years now your partner. So there’s something in this that you love, but But what kind of gets you up in the morning that that gets you excited?

Emily Shea 39:26
Yeah, I mean, it’s for me, it’s it’s not that there’s rarely a day that goes by where there’s not a new challenge that gets thrown at me. I mean, I couldn’t imagine having the type of job where you go in every day and just like look at a spreadsheet and crunch numbers, but I know when I wake up every day, I think to myself, Well, I wonder what kind of crazy thing is going to be thrown at me today. And honestly those things It can come from anywhere, but I would say 80% of the time, they come from something that happens during my work day. And that’s really what what gets me up in the morning. Like, there’s always something new, there’s always some sort of impossible challenge or wrench or it’s continual problem solving, and creative problem solving. And, you know, it can be anything from, you know, new, a new opportunity with a client, it can be, you know, solving interpersonal issues, it can be, it can be anything, but I think it’s that ability to solve problems. And then ultimately, the things I get really excited about are the things where you can make a difference. And whether that’s like, from an altruistic sense, you know, where you get to help people and make lives better, or from a business sense where you can help people achieve their business objectives. You know, it’s that that ability to just make things better for somebody. And this, this career path has given me the opportunity to do that. So that’s, that’s it in a nutshell.

Ryan Freng 41:12
This is definitely the right, this is the right place for that, because there’s always something coming up, right. We’ve also got Mindy must be a friend of yours. You look fabulous. And you’re amazing. Thanks for jumping in. For this shirt, just Oh, you’re probably talking. Okay, you’re talking about Emily, I get it. Yeah, so I’m curious with that, too. I was thinking today, because like, I have a lot of big, big projects. And there’s the idea of like working on the company working in the company. And I feel like to some degree, we’re all very scrappy, and so there’s always going to be some degree of both. But you try to think of what can I do uniquely, and then everything else, like have other people help with. But working on these big projects, like, for instance, the server, we bought a huge new server, because terabytes of footage or just, you know, footage is going up and up and up on projects, and we needed something. So we got that back in November, probably took a month of troubleshooting, and then they’re like, Oh, we’re gonna send you a new one, there must be an electrical issue. So you know, all those headaches, just got today. Go ahead.

Emily Shea 42:23
Are you doing all that on your own? Or do you have somebody come in and help you with that? Or?

Ryan Freng 42:27
Well, I have their support team, right? Okay. So I’m kind of like, it’s not necessarily basic labor. But it’s very specific server technology stuff, very specific to this product, very specific to our setup. So they are out of Canada, so they don’t send people to help. And we could certainly, we could hire like an impact or somebody, I think to help. But the time that it takes me to get this done versus get them up to speed and then have them get it done, it’s probably a lot less time for me to do it. So somewhat of a bit of a big project in that it takes like a day, but it’s very important, has to get done. And then, of course, I’ve got other projects, writing projects, creative projects, review projects, proposals, you know, those are always going around. And then something else happens, right? If something comes up, and I got to work on that, and I was thinking today, I was like, how many of those should I reasonably take care of each day? And how many, you know, can I push back on in a sense of saying, Okay, I know, this just came up, this, this is gonna get done tomorrow, or this, this can get done next week. Because my initial thought is, anytime somebody asks me something, I’m gonna try to get it done as fast as I can. But then I’m doing an extra 10 or 15 things in a given day, when I still gotta get this proposal, the script done this creative review, that that work that was already scheduled for the day. And so long winded way of asking how do you how do you handle that your other tasks that you’ve put for the day? How do you manage that versus things that pop up?

Emily Shea 44:11
Yeah. And it’s really critical to figure out a way to manage it, right? Because, I mean, you could work 24 hours a day, every day, if you let yourself there’s always something that needs to be done. Yeah, no, I mean, I think that that’s a really good question. And I have actually been working really hard at being better about managing that. And, really, triaging things, and you know, figuring out the half the half to do now versus the nice to do now, versus the things that can honestly wait. I, you know, I’m the same way. Like I want to get everything done. I wanna get right away. If I say it’s gonna be, you know, Tuesday, I want it done Monday. It’s just kind of how I And but, you know, when you do that day in and day out, and you know, you got eventually got nothing left to give, right especially when you’re balancing some of those more administrative functions with creative functions. And when you are, you know, you have to work that creative part and you’re exhausted and you have nothing left to give, like, you know, for me, if I’m not out, if I don’t take the time to get out and experience the world in some way, shape, or form that’s has nothing to do with work, I’ve got nothing left to give to my creative projects. So I have to make time for that. And so I’ve been better at making that a to do thing just as important, as you know, the article I have to write or the script that I have to do, or the piece I have to review, you know, like all of that. But I have been at you know, I know that there are ebbs and flows in the work that we do, we have some times where we’re busy, you know, and working 14 hour days, and I have anxiety and I get up in the middle of the night. And I feel like I need to get something done. And I know that those happen, but then you kind of have some times where things are a little bit more manageable. And what I’ve been doing is trying to really take advantage of those times, because I get really stressed out if I wasn’t super busy all the time, and just kind of taking time to organize and reflect and take that time I do find that we go, we’ll go through times where you do have to do it all but then being really conscious of the times where things can wait. And things can be set aside. Another thing that I’ve been doing lately that’s really helped, is I would also want to respond to everyone right away. And so now we have email, we have slack, we used to have Skype, too, but we got rid of that. You’ve got all of your social platforms with a messaging function on them, not to mention just text. I’ve gotten really good at helping maximize my time that I give to things by shutting all that stuff off.

Ryan Freng 47:16
Maybe five for that. Yeah.

Emily Shea 47:18
And it’s something I just started doing, you know, over the last few months. And being like I found, I found that that constant interruption was taking away my focus and things were taking three times longer, four times longer than they would if I could just dedicate myself to them. So I’ve done that. And you know, sometimes I’ll turn things back on, and I have like, eight text messages or something, and then I follow up and like it wasn’t even urgent at all, like it was fine. I have not had one instance of that since I started doing that, whether it’s something fell through the cracks that I really needed to be present for. So that’s kind of one of my management techniques. You know, and I think it’s something that comes with, you know, I think, age, I mean, an experience, too. I think you get better at sort of, it’s easy for me to say as I look back, you know, like I’m closer to retirement now. And I always watched it like a kind of like, went over? Yeah. So I think that and now I know and now I know the things I have the the knowledge and the experience to be able to know what i How to triage appropriately. And it’s not about saying no, or to people or saying later, it’s saying, you know, how about we do this, you know, and how about we schedule some time here? And again, I’ve never had an issue with somebody being like, no, I need it right now, when you kind of approach it that way. So those are some of the things I’m doing now. They are working right now. But come back to me when we’re back to the 14 hour day work cycle and let’s go

John Shoemaker 49:09
I was gonna ask how, or maybe make a connection to the authenticity piece. I mean, if that’s what you’re trying to achieve in your marketing, but really like, it starts to seep in everywhere, you really need to start following that in order to have success because, you know, you can take you can be an order taker and just like take every single thing that comes in and every single, you know, that comes in and they say this is what we want to do. And then you just say okay, yeah, great. Well, we’ll tell that message and whatever. And then before you know it, you find that you’re not being authentic at all because you’re telling stories that you don’t think are effective, you don’t think that they’re the most effective for that client actually. So you have to like pushback on them. And it’s yeah, it takes a little while to like, learn. Some clients don’t like that. So they just, they just want what they want. But when you really find the ones that are the right fit that are the partner, like, there shouldn’t be good, give and take where it’s like, well, I might disagree with you. But it’s not because I don’t like you or because I’m not like, going to work hard for you. It’s because I actually want you to succeed. And I have this idea that I think is going to be the best way. But yeah, I mean, it. It takes a tremendous effort to make that

Ryan Freng 50:38
happen. I love the whispering by the way.

John Shoemaker 50:40
So happening here,

Ryan Freng 50:42
right off cameras, like five children. There’s a lot.

John Shoemaker 50:46
There’s a lot of cooking happening right now. There’s a little shit, there’s a chef, he keeps bringing this on is my cream or something super cute. I got I got an entire cake right here too.

Emily Shea 51:03
It’s amazing. Yeah,

Ryan Freng 51:04
you brought a cake to a happy hour, and you name and share it. Ice cream with the cake. That makes sense. What you were saying to Emily, I think I got a little bit older. Now that it’s 2022. Because that’s a thing that I reminded myself of being distracted because I want maybe last year, I kind of got into a bad groove of like, okay, somebody sends me a message. Let’s get it done. Let’s get it off the task list. Let’s you know, okay. And like that. It was endorphin. The hit? Is that the chemical in our brain endorphins. Endorphins. Come on. What is it?

Emily Shea 51:44
Well, I mean, keep going. And I’ll and I’ll let you know. Yeah. So

Ryan Freng 51:47
you know, thing comes up. Ooh, let me go check what that is. So you get like a little bit of a, you know, hit. It’s like the new.

Emily Shea 51:54
That’s like that insulin rush that makes you just go right. Like,

Ryan Freng 51:58
yeah, you just well, and it’s you know, you want that feeling of Ooh. So getting something done. Yeah. Oh, well, better. Right. Thanks, Dawn. Yeah. Well, and so I’d be like, Okay. I’m, you know, instead of just sitting and continuing to think about a creative idea that I’m working on writing or whatever. I’d be, like, come to a roadblock and be like, Okay, let me go check email. Oh, I got some emails. Let me do that. Oh, let me go check slack. Okay, now I’m gonna check slack. And I do that, oh, look, I got a text. I can do that. You know, and I’m getting like, these little, you know, chemical payments, ping, ping, ping, ping. Yeah, but then it blows up my creative, right? Like you said, it takes three times longer. So I was realizing to, at home, just putting down the phone, right? Coming Home, putting it down, just being present, it’s going to be there. And if somebody needs to get in contact me, they’re going to, they’re going to get in contact with me anyway. So I don’t need to be ignoring my family for my phone when I’m at home. So then I started thinking about that mentality, again at work. And one of the email apps I use called Spark, they came up with this new philosophy where when you have scheduled times, you’re going to check your email, you get in and then when it’s not those times, it just gives you like a nice photo of nature. Let me see if I can share this and I haven’t checked it since 10 o’clock, so I need to check it but but it basically your timing your communications. So let’s see if I can

Emily Shea 53:27
and I feel like it’s all part of this. While you’re looking for this. There’s we’re seeing this cultural shift, right? Like it’s everywhere. We’ve kind of we’ve, for so long, we’ve been this culture of busyness, right. Oh, look at that. Doesn’t that look nice?

Ryan Freng 53:43
And I’m not like, Oh, I gotta I gotta check. I see. I got an email from Emily. What is What does she need? Let me help her. Yeah, yeah, just get this until it’s one o’clock. And then when it’s one o’clock, then I can jump in. Yeah. And check out the thing and, and it. It doesn’t make me get things done slower. Like, I feel like I get them done. Maybe at the same speed, maybe faster. Probably better. Better quality for sure. Yeah. Better. Yeah,

Emily Shea 54:09
we’ve come we’re I think we’re just really kind of with everything that happened with COVID we’re seeing this shift from we used to glorify busyness, right, like that was being busy was a badge of honor. Right? And, you know, it was this hustle culture, right? Like it was all about like,

Ryan Freng 54:34
go go go I mean, that’s still around like hustlers club.

Emily Shea 54:37
Yeah, you know, but I feel like there’s a shift, you know, happening away from that. And it’s a lot less about you know, this, this hustle, culture busyness, hustle culture and more, being mindful, and mindfulness and really being fun. Follow about how you spend your time. And even if that time is work time and getting work done, being a little bit more focused and giving it your all rather than trying to do five things at once. And, you know, I just, you know, with everybody’s a little bit more focused on their mental health. And I think like that, that’s all, that’s all part of it. And I think it’ll be interesting to see the shifts continue to manifest itself. If, if my observation is correct to see it, how it’ll affect you now, especially those of us who work in a in a client service industry where we’re used to, like, somebody says, jump, and you just jump right, like, is that going to change anything? You know, I it, it’ll be interesting to see.

Ryan Freng 55:51
Yeah, I’m very curious to you know, obviously, some of this has come. Because of COVID. Over the last several years, there was a lot of mental health concerns on the rise and issues. And so it became very clear how important and maybe for bigger organizations, I feel like with smaller organizations, we already understood it when oops, I’m getting an echo there is that you, John?

John Shoemaker 56:14
Could be sorry, sorry.

Ryan Freng 56:18
What small organizations, we we kind of have this sense of, yeah, we need, we need to do nice things for the people and take care of them and make sure they have a good environment and make sure they take time away. Like I had to remind the team a few weeks ago, like, Hey, we’re cranking and we’re working really hard. And we appreciate that, make sure you know, you grab an hour in a random week and do something fun, or, you know, go learn something completely, just whatever it is just do something be away kind of that idea of taking that other time. Because if you’re not in the world, or if you’re not doing other things, our perspective just becomes so it’s an echo chamber, and we’re not going to there’s no new input to make us better in what we do better. So we’re not going to change, and we’re going to start kind of eating our own tail to some degree in that metaphor. So I think that’s all very important. Oh,

John Shoemaker 57:09
I, I was also gonna, well, I don’t know what analogy I was gonna give. But the the comparison or connection that I was gonna make, that I feel often in this, it’s kind of related the authenticity thing is, you know, at what point do you do we some, as you know, people working in marketing feel, I feel somewhat responsible. Sometimes I’m like, Well, it’s because of the promises that have been given to us through marketing. They’re like, you know, they’ve been marketed like, look, look, this is going to help you connect, stay connected with your family in France. And it doesn’t, and it’s worked the inverse. And like, I want if you, you know, this, get this app, it’s gonna, well, in the case of your email app, right, that sounds that sounds good. That philosophy, but, but a lot of times also productivity app,

Ryan Freng 58:14
that’s a that’s a beta image, and I should not have shown that, but we’re not gonna get in trouble.

John Shoemaker 58:22
This productivity app is going to make you more productive. And then it’s actually, you know, at times like those things are, like counterproductive, because they’re like, how can you like juggle all the things even more than you have been doing? Well, that actually was the problem in the first place. And so that’s where I’m making that connection as I feel like in creative in my struggle, struggle to be authentic with clients and stuff, a lot of times, I’m just, I’m like, Oh, do should I be trying to sell people? This idea, you know, whatever this thing is. Because we, we don’t need everything that we think we need. I mean, the products are nice, and, you know, maybe to end it on a half of my rambling on a hopeful note. Those projects that mean something, they become really special, because then you’re like, Finally, a thing that I can really authentically dive into and be like, this is worth that doing.

Ryan Freng 59:36
Yeah, and to that point, I mean, is there anything, maybe over the last year that you’re especially proud of? Emily, it could be personal to you know, it doesn’t have to be a project within the business. It could just be something in your life.

Emily Shea 59:50
Um, you know, I think one of the things I’m most proud of and we worked with you guys on some of this is some of The virtual events that we did. That was, you know, it was something that was intended to be live and in person, we had to pivot, we had to put things together quickly. You know, taking what was supposed to be a live event and making it interesting, on virtually, and tell those stories and make those authentic connections with a big group of people digitally, I’m really proud of the of what we were able to accomplish, you know, in that kind of new format, you know, the whole thing about, you know, does this thing really helped me connect better, you know, I think technology has a tendency to help us stay in touch, you know, but not connect, you know, you don’t get that like, here we go, like authenticity is the name of the game today, I think, but it’s about like, it’s not about those authentic connections, you’re not really going deep, you’re not really interacting, you know, but, and I see this a lot with, you know, remote collaboration, too. Like, it’s really great for transactional things. But if you’re really wanting to get deep, whether it’s, you know, coming up with great creative or making deep interpersonal connections, you know, it’s really hard to leverage technology to make those really, really deep and meaningful connections. But I think that the work that we did, in taking some of these virtual events and bringing them to people, I think we were able to make meaningful connections. And I think we discovered ways to use the platform that were engaging, entertaining, and then also meaningful. So I think that that those projects, were some of my favorite. The other part of those projects that I really liked, um, not only was the output and the end result really great, and I’m really proud of what we did, you know, creatively and executional, and everything else, is working together with other people, in order to make these things happen in collaboration, and I knew maybe it was coming off of, you know, everybody working from home so much. And we actually got to, like, be in a room with people and problem solve and bounce ideas off of each other. But, you know, again, it’s one of the things you asked about what makes me excited, it’s about being able to, to work with a group of people and having, you know, having a plan, and knowing what we’re going to do, but then collaborating to make it better, or to solve problems that come up, which ultimately make things better. I’m really proud of how, you know, different people from different backgrounds, have been able to think differently and do something different. That’s really exciting to me. So I think those projects were the things that I was the most proud of, I think the other thing that I’m really proud of was the work that, you know, my team did to get us to this new space, and navigate us here, build it out, and put it together, you know, during a pandemic, you know, on top of our regular jobs, that was a huge project and a huge undertaking, it was a lot of work. And it’s, it’s really exceeded all of our dreams for what the space could be. So those are those are, that’s exciting. You think that I’m, I’m really proud of and as you know, you kind of look back at the year, you know, what, what, what was it? What was the most fun and what was the most rewarding, like, those are the things that come to mind.

Ryan Freng 1:03:46
I remember to I was sharing those projects as well. I was like, Oh, my gosh, you guys got to sign up and tune in and get into this stuff. Because I had such a blast on it. You know,

Emily Shea 1:03:55
they were fun. I you know, we spent some time we had that live cooking demo with the three cameras and doing all of the switching behind the scenes. And that was so it was just it was it was a lot it was, you know, it’s basically doing a live TV show was what we did, you know, and then we it was absolutely great. But on top of having a live TV show, you know, we were bringing in people virtually, you know, you know, it was it was like live TV plus so super fun. Right?

Ryan Freng 1:04:29
Well, and it’s it’s great. So again, kind of maybe coming back down to technology, like it’s great, what technology has enabled us to do. But I also feel like kind of like you’re saying too, it can get in the way of our Connecting a lot. And I think right now there’s kind of a wave of things. And right now we’re a little over over technology like too much technology and it can sometimes get in the way. And I even even doing this show like my biggest complaint is like we just don’t have that energy of like you’re saying something and then who I jump in and then If I continue to zoom in, then you jump in, or John jumps in. And, you know, we lose a little bit of that energy because there’s a slight delay. And it’s always like this, we kind of have this philosophy of like, okay, well, I’m gonna wait until they finish their idea. And then okay, now now, can I come in? Because you don’t want to do like, Hi. I just know, you go, you know, technology is limiting in this regard. So, I absolutely feel that but yeah, I love you know, some of my favorite clients come in, and we hang out, and we have a drink. And we talk creatively. And, you know, share life together in that aspect, which we try to do with tools we tried to do with technology. And it gets us further when we can’t be in person, but it’s just not the same.

Emily Shea 1:05:49
It’s not the same. You just there’s a something about a screen gets in the way of a connection. He said, you can still have a connection, but it’s so much deeper and so much better when you can just be humans, right?

Ryan Freng 1:06:06
Yeah, like it. Let’s be humans together. Let’s see we’ve got we got Marquis, is that right? Oh, yeah, murky, murky Fox, great listener all very lucky to be able to work with Emily daily and collaborate with you along the way.

Emily Shea 1:06:22
Nice. Yeah. Mark is one of my partners here at the agency. Oh, very cool. One of the hardest working people I know.

Ryan Freng 1:06:30
Nice. Yeah. So how does that work? Like your partner, your partner? How did you become a partner?

Emily Shea 1:06:37
Um, the for the previous partners kind of thought about where the future of the agency needed to go and what direction it needed to head and approached us and said, Hey, are you interested in this opportunity? And a group of us, you know, we jumped in, there are four of us from. And we all represent a different discipline, I’m obviously from creative, murky is leads our account service team, Megan leads our PR team. And then Paul is our controller. So we’ve got, you know, the PR, the client service, the creative, and then the money guy like we’re all together.

Ryan Freng 1:07:26
years, you have your silos, but then as a partnership as a you have maybe not a formal board, but you have you guys who come together to make decisions largely do

Emily Shea 1:07:37
we do? It’s interesting, you say that one of the things that we’ve been really working hard to, you know, as we shape the future of the agency, because you said, Say silos, and yeah, we represent those disciplines. But we’re trying really hard to break down those traditional agency silos, like it is really part of our mission moving forward. And so while I lead our creative team, we’re opening everybody up to the process, I think, you know, strategy typically was an account service thing. And I sit on pretty much every strategy team, you know, bringing people together, you know, in all parts of the process, we’ve found makes things so much better. I mean, I don’t, maybe we’ll evolve someday to not having any teams at all. And we’re just one team. You know, I think that it makes it hard to grow when when you’re like that, because it’s just easier to manage. But maybe there’s a solution there. But we’ve been, since we’ve done that we’ve just the results have been phenomenal. The quality of our work has changed dramatically. I think the old agency model of you know, count service talks a client gets project puts together CSP hands it down to creative creative executes a counselor, like that. It’s like a factory mentality, right? It’s not, like conducive is like an assembly line. You know, it’s not conducive to great creative thought. And I you know, as well, how

Ryan Freng 1:09:05
often would you have like, you sold what, for what, yeah, how are we supposed to do this for that? Or, you know, what, why, right?

Emily Shea 1:09:12
And like, that’s an age old issue, right? Like account service versus creative, like, Yeah, well, how do you break that down, you’re all together at the table at all points in the process and your team all of a sudden, right? There’s, so it’s, that’s been actually really great. And when we built out this new space, we kind of have that in mind. It’s a lot more open, and we have a lot of collaboration spaces. You can, you know, people don’t not everybody likes the Open Office environment, you know, and they think, you know, but But what we find is that we can, people can pick up on things that are happening and you’re either informed or you hear something that you can contribute to. And we’ve had lots of cases where, you know, somebody was grappling with a problem that somebody overheard and said, Hey, I did this once before and this is what I did, and it’s like, boom. problem solve since it was spinning, spinning, spinning, trying to figure out what you’re gonna do. We’re able to get there faster, so and better. So,

Ryan Freng 1:10:08
yeah, no, I love that too, because we, just by the virtue of how we started John, and I just pitched everything and pitch creative, and then did budgeting. And so we were accounts or services or count wrapped, and then we went right into creative. Well, then we brought a partner on to do business. And I think for both of us, John, John, and I were like, Okay, now we don’t have to do that anymore. We’re just gonna do creative, but we never went down that route. Because for us, we always, we’re involved. And essentially what we do is Scott, our Director of Business, and the third partner, he’ll grab me or John, or John, and I will decide when a project comes in, okay, I’m gonna take lead, you take lead. And we do that initial meeting with Scott, who kind of comes from the business perspective of it. And we work with it in the client. And then when it’s appropriate, we bring in the team members who are going to work on the project, because that was something that we learned, maybe more kind of it with our editing department, because they were a little more siloed are like, alright, we did it, we, we got the job, we film, we wrote it, we filmed it, we have it, here you go. And then it’s a little late for some of their feedback. And that can create an issue and it can create worse products. So we found like, you’re saying that it’s very important at a certain stage in that creative to make sure we bring everyone in on the team and be like, Hey, anybody else have any ideas? Like, okay, great. Thanks for sharing, yeah, we’re gonna decide where it will figure out what’s gonna work best. But you’ve had that input, you’ve heard, you’ve heard the constraints we have on this project, like, hey, we want to work with this client, they need to get something done for $5,000. So instead of complaining that we don’t have enough budget to do what we want to do, let’s problem solve and come up with something really creative to fit within that $5,000. Because, yeah, they’re gonna have another budget come July, where we can do more. So it’s worth it for us to really kind of give, and then they get that reasoning, that’s like love and logic, you know, with with children, that reasoning can be very helpful, and then they can get behind that, okay, we’re gonna, we’re gonna work this a little bit, and it’s a little under budget. But we are in this together, as opposed to, you know, a silo being handed down in a factory, like, I don’t care what you think, just do it.

Emily Shea 1:12:36
Yeah. And the the benefits of that, you know, making everyone feel that they’re included, and part of the overall thing, you know, I mean, that just Yes, like, to your point, they’re invested, we’re all invested, right? Not just completing an assignment, it’s, you’re invested in doing something really great. I think the other thing that it that helps with is that game of telephone that you sometimes get, you know, and if somebody’s handling one part of it, and then handing the information down, inevitably, that person is making interpretations that makes sense to you. Or that makes sense to them. But if you were in that meeting and heard the same person say the same thing, you might take something totally different from it. Something that could be the difference between a really great idea, or just an idea that that checks all of the boxes on this CSV that you got handed to you, you know, it’s just those little creative, it’s those little tidbits, it’s those little things that you hear. It’s the psychology of sitting across the table from somebody and say, asking them a question and then seeing like, pain on their face, you know, like, those types of things are some of the most valuable interactions in helping somebody solve the problem creatively than than anything, you know, and you miss that. If not, everyone’s at the table to hear it firsthand. So, yeah, it’s the bringing everybody in, so they’re invested. But it’s also, you know, avoiding communication hiccups essentially.

Ryan Freng 1:14:18
And you’ll have to describe that to that word CSB. We don’t have the agency background to know what that is. That’s okay.

Emily Shea 1:14:27
It’s CSB is. It’s a creative strategy brief. So essentially, what it does is outlines the nuts and bolts of a project, who the client is, what their points of differentiation are. What the target audience is, what we’re executing some of the key mandatories that need to view it’s very left brain it’s very like the nuts and bolts. These are the things we need to do and what we need to accomplish. Thank you. Thank you for making me clarify that I am getting a little ones.

John Shoemaker 1:14:59
Yeah. or the way you say it, Ryan? Ryan, you just say like, some of our viewers they might not know.

Ryan Freng 1:15:07
Well, yeah, I was I was gonna be like, some some people might not I totally know. But other people might not know. I didn’t know if I could make the joke work. So I just asked honestly.

Emily Shea 1:15:18
Yeah, no, it’s it’s yes. So sorry about that. Um, yeah, so that’s what that is. But it’s very, it’s the nuts and bolts. It’s not the heart soul. And in order to do creative, you gotta get to the heart, the soul.

Ryan Freng 1:15:34
That’s, that’s Oh, my gosh, yeah. Yeah. Well, and it’s, it’s different, depending on who’s looking at it as well. You know, like you said, so we can include different people. And that’s, that’s been a difficult thing for me. But but I’m, I’m working on it. I’ve grown a lot is control creatively, where John and I have worked together for years. But we had to figure out okay, how do we come when we’re both we co direct a lot. When we’re doing that? How do we resolve an issue quickly, and to the best way on set? Okay, well, for each of these projects, even though we’re co directing one person is going to be the lead. So if the non lead disagrees, then you can still have that disagreement. But at the end of the day, the decision will just quickly be made by the lead on that. And now we’re bringing more people in. So it’s been interesting. I’m like trying to flex that muscle of like, okay, I wouldn’t do it that way. But I’m not doing it. So I’ll continue to provide my feedback. But let’s see kind of where this goes. And that’s, that’s been fun, because now it’s more than just me and John. We’ve got Max, who’s a great editor, but also just writer, producer. So that’s a fun, fun thing I’ve been working on as well. Let’s see. So, John, you can go ahead, and then we’re going to do we’re going to do a little thing we do every every week, but the video yet. I was

John Shoemaker 1:17:01
just going to add on to that and just say, yeah, the the learning that, that working as a group doesn’t equal group consensus. You know, it doesn’t doesn’t have to be in and for a while. I think early on, we’ve we’ve probably tried too hard to hit that group consensus on every, you know, creative idea. And then it just takes longer. It’s very challenging to get there. And instead to be like, Okay, well, we can be collaborative, but then somebody still has to, like, somebody can still give the final yes or no, I mean, that makes sense. But I think we were actually, we were going too far on the other direction, because we know we have to convince each other. We’re striving so hard not to have, you know, somebody at the top, just calling the shots, that it was like, Okay, well, I can’t get the groom the room of five people that all see the same vision. And so we’re still here meeting about it.

Ryan Freng 1:18:01
Yeah. Cool. So it’s about 120. We do like to honor our 130 timeframe. It sucks, though. Because I feel like we’re just getting into the good stuff. And our two is where we really, you know, start to hang out. But maybe we’ll change that format later. And well, we’ll have you back. And we’ll just start right here. We’ll just start. But we’re going to do a little thing that we do every week.

Oh, it’s cutest thing ever. It’s my children adorable. Actually, it’s one of my children just had it recorded several times. So we’re gonna play two twos and ally, I did prep Emily in the beginning, so she could come up with some of those thinking we might run as far as we are. So we’ll just have Emily tell her story. John, and I have done this. At times. We’re running out of stories. So it’s more fun to when we just get the those stories from the guests. So

Emily Shea 1:19:03
we’re gonna play this at times, like, Oh, my God, it’s

Ryan Freng 1:19:07
pretty close to that. Yeah.

Emily Shea 1:19:10
A hard time doing it was but

Ryan Freng 1:19:13
we’ve also gotten really good with it. The trick for us is to try and confuse each other. So I think I’ve only I’ve only gotten John twice out of those maybe at times, but he gets me maybe half the time. So

John Shoemaker 1:19:28
I don’t even know at facts about myself. That’s the challenge.

Ryan Freng 1:19:34
Yeah, you’d have to know 160. And then you just make up another 80. That’s how the math works. Science. So for those who are watching, Emily is going to tell us three stories. Two of them are going to be true. How do I do that? Go to two to them is

John Shoemaker 1:19:49
true if you’re European one of them or if you’re American?

Ryan Freng 1:19:53
No, I went to the bathroom before. So I’m not a peon. She’s going to tell us three stories. Thank you. I Appreciate the laughter The dad jokes. Two of them are true. One of them is not, we have to guess which one is not. And if you’re playing at home, you guess if you get it right, we’ll send you some swag. So it isn’t happy hours. So we’ve got some of these, we’ll make sure you get some of these as well, you can always turn them over if you know you don’t want to show another agency brand on your desk, but maybe we should do that. We should just make them read on one side and then branded on the other so people could always turn them over. Because I got something for Christmas. From somebody I know at an agency, not here. And I’m like, I don’t I don’t want that agency thing on my desk. I want my crap on my desk. So

John Shoemaker 1:20:40
where are you just wear it like a band. You know? Like we should go around like they’re

Ryan Freng 1:20:45

John Shoemaker 1:20:49
We should go around wearing other agency be like, bands are always like, like, as a band. It’s

Ryan Freng 1:20:56
so punk. Yeah, you’re rocking? Yeah.

Emily Shea 1:21:00
Some somewhere along the line. You guys gave me one of your hats. I wear it like a trucker hat. I wear that all the time.

Ryan Freng 1:21:10
Yeah, I’d wear some SMB swag. Yeah. Yeah. I

Emily Shea 1:21:12
mean, our new logo is pretty bang. And so

Ryan Freng 1:21:15
yeah. Yeah. I love it either. Is that the S slash b?

Emily Shea 1:21:21
Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Yeah, I’m trying to think it’s different thing.

Ryan Freng 1:21:27
That’s something to that. Yeah. Yep. Anyway, I like that. That elegant, elegant and modern. Cool. So that’s all my ramble preamble here.

Emily Shea 1:21:42
Oh, God. Myself, huh? Yeah. vulnerability in action. Here we go. All right, two truths and a lie. Um, I average about 25 books a year that I read. Um, I once did shots in a bar with Adam Sandler. And I love to be outdoors to connect with nature as a way to recharge myself.

Ryan Freng 1:22:21
Alright, so we’ve got average of 25 books a year, once said shots at a bar with Adam Sandler love to be outdoor outdoors to connect with nature as a way to recharge yourself. I think I’ve got to guess but But what are you guys, John? And for you watching at home?

John Shoemaker 1:22:39
Tricky. These are tricky. All right. So let’s work this sort this problem. So Adam Sandler sounds, you know, really out there, but it’s like one of those unique things that, you know, be it’s like one of those things, it’s hard to come up with a lie for?

Ryan Freng 1:22:58
Like, why wouldn’t just pick to make that as a lie? Whatever.

John Shoemaker 1:23:02
But maybe there’s some other celebrity that could be the lie. Yep. I mean, how would I know how many books you read, but let’s see 25 That doesn’t divide evenly into 52 weeks. So that’s like, the math there is messed up. I’m gonna go with the books. I know that you you go out and about to clear your mind because you talked about going to get coffee and how nice that was. 25 Yeah, it’s it’s got to be. I’m going with 52

Ryan Freng 1:23:36
All right, average of 2025 bucks a year. You could lie it could be like 26 Right. That’s that’s the name of the game. But I don’t know that. That’s it. And like John said, you could have one son shots at a bar with I don’t know Leonardo DiCaprio. You could have picked anybody else. We would have no idea but I would love to believe that is true. I would love to believe that you’ve done shots with Adam. I’m like a doppelganger. I can be when I when I have like curly hair. I can be a doppelganger with Adam. And what’s the dude from SNL? Andy Sandberg? Yeah, my Jewish doppelgangers. You love to do

Emily Shea 1:24:20
a nice cross between the two? Now that you mentioned that? Yeah, totally.

Ryan Freng 1:24:24
I would. I would love to be in a spoof. So Adam, if you’re watching. Love to be outdoors to connect with nature as a way to recharge yourself. I’m trying to think about that. Because yeah, you said you do like to get away. And I’m trying to think back now specifically if you said anything about like outdoors or nature, because that sounds like a very specific like, maybe it’s one of those things like yeah, everyone knows that. I don’t love to be in nature. That would be a really fun way to lie. So I’m going to guess that one that you love to be outdoors and connect with nature as a way to recharge. And anybody we got a handful of viewers as well put your guesses in. If you guys guessed correctly, we’ll send you crap as well. stuff. Cool stuff. We

John Shoemaker 1:25:10
have the answer, though.

Ryan Freng 1:25:12
You got to guess. Yeah. That’s not how question answer works. You can’t be told the answer. So I’ll give you like 30 seconds. Let’s see. Do you remember the bar? This is just more questioning the bar that you had a shot with Adam Sandler.

Emily Shea 1:25:29
I mean, isn’t this like if you’re so you’re getting closer to more accurate? I think this is cheating.

Ryan Freng 1:25:37
Is our game I do what I want more

Emily Shea 1:25:38
details. The more details you have, the more intel you have. Maybe. Yeah, I mean, it’s your Yes. Your game. I’m happy to answer any questions you have. I can.

Ryan Freng 1:25:54
I’ve already made my guess I’m just vamping at the people.

John Shoemaker 1:25:56
What are the 25 books that you read this year?

Emily Shea 1:26:00
That I would have been for last year?

Ryan Freng 1:26:04
No, you’d like to knock it out in the first 10 days. All right. No one else is guessing at home. Thanks, people. Guys. I think I’m ready.

Emily Shea 1:26:20
All right. Are you ready? Should I do my do? Let’s do it. Let’s get through. One of you is right with my Hi. Tricky lie. But I do not average 25 bucks a year. I try to read 25 books a year, which is a modest amount. I mean, I know people who read like 80 books a year. And I’m like, so impressed. Do somebody guessed? The second one? No, it’s the first one I I try to read in your I do come out. Usually in January, I read a lot. But then as things get busier with work, I call off i My goal is always 25 books. I have yet to be 18 which is really sad. And I really do need to read more. Because whenever the more I read the better writer I am. I mean, it’s just extraordinary. What a difference I make, like if I go a week, and I haven’t read anything, my writing just takes like I just need to be so I only read like I have not been 18 That’s pretty sad.

Ryan Freng 1:27:26
How long have you had this goal? Like,

Emily Shea 1:27:29
I don’t know, a handful years, like five years maybe?

Ryan Freng 1:27:33
What do you write? Yeah.

Emily Shea 1:27:35
Um, I just finished a book called The Giver of stars. I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, give her stars, it was a really great book. It’s about it’s about a group of women in the Depression era in Kentucky who start up pack horse libraries. So they deliver books out into, you know, the Appalachian Mountains to people who don’t have access to books. But it’s, it’s a really, it’s, it’s based on a real thing. But then, you know, it’s, you know, it’s all made up. But, um, so that in then I usually try to read some sort of, you know, make me a better person type of book. Yeah, I usually have two things going at once. So, yeah. So yeah, I just, I’ve got a few of those going right now. The one I have, that I’m into right now is this Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, which is all about vulnerability, which is what I’m doing today with this to truth and I. So yes, that means I have had shots in a bar with Adam Sandler and I do. I use nature as a way to reconnect and focus. So those are both true stories.

Ryan Freng 1:28:53
So what where was the Adam Sandler experience?

Emily Shea 1:28:56
Um, it was. Have you guys lived in Madison, like forever?

Ryan Freng 1:29:01
Like, I lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else. I’ve been here since 2003. So

Emily Shea 1:29:06
the early 90, this is the early 90s. There were there’s bucks bar like Overbye, the call center right now. But there used to be one that was downtown, I think on Hamilton Street bucks. It was at that bar after a show that he had had here in town probably in like 93 ish. 9293 ish. 94 ish. And that’s awesome. Yeah, yeah. And Chris Farley was there too. And it was it was a really fun night. Yeah,

Ryan Freng 1:29:37
yeah. Oh my gosh, it’s I mean, that’s that’s one of the only times I’ll be like it’s too bad. You didn’t have a cell phone with photos you could have taken

Emily Shea 1:29:45
I know it would have been totally different. But you know, the interesting thing about it is it all just kind of happened naturally in our get like, I feel like if there would have been photos it would have been weird and staged and not authentic interact. Yeah, like you could.

John Shoemaker 1:30:02
You’re just in the moment. You’re there.

Emily Shea 1:30:05
Yeah. In the moment. Yeah. Awesome.

John Shoemaker 1:30:08
I also to the book goal, which is, that’s quite an amazing goal. You have a friend who has encouraged me and many people have talked about this, that any book that you read any quality book can be fiction can also make you a better person. So there’s a lot of books that are like this will make you a better person. But if you want to read Count of Monte Cristo, you’re probably going to be a better person after you’re done reading it. And you know, so there’s a lot of, like, value, I think, in the

Ryan Freng 1:30:43
Yeah, I’m a huge proponent of fiction as a way to look at yourself through different lens. Especially like, like sci fi, or some Scott Card, but I also I come down here too. Yeah, talent is overrated. This one is awesome. It’s like, hey, the most amazing people at any given thing that, you know, they’re not just magical. You know, they started when they were three and have practice hours a day since they were three. So let that be your guide to excellence. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Emily Shea 1:31:16
No, I agree. 100%, anything you can read has the power to change your perspective and make you open to new things? It’s, it’s so valuable. So maybe this is the year I reached 25. I’ll keep you posted. So

Ryan Freng 1:31:31
yeah, let’s do it. Just read some smaller books to like children’s children’s like card books?

Emily Shea 1:31:40
Yes. Okay. I’ll get there. I’ll be there. By the end of the day, just you wait.

John Shoemaker 1:31:45
To that example, don’t read Count of Monte Cristo. It’s, it’s not going to help you get to 25. I think it’s like five bucks by itself. It’s all right. All right.

Ryan Freng 1:31:55
So it is 130. I do want to respect your time, and everybody’s time at home. So thank you so much for joining us. And playing and just being silly with us. Is there anything, anything you want to promote? We can check you out, check out your work at your website. Let’s see. You want to tell me real quick, I’ll get that

Emily Shea 1:32:17
graph. at.com is our website. Um, yes, come and see your new space. And, you know, if you come by on Friday afternoon at about four, that’s when our happy hour usually start. So come and have a drink. We have plenty of alcoholic and non alcoholic options available. We kind of use that time to kick back and celebrate all of our accomplishments for the week and rest before the new week ahead. So yeah, come and see us.

Ryan Freng 1:32:55
Nice. And can people see any of the dairy farmers stuff online? So

Emily Shea 1:33:01
yeah, we’re actually working on getting that on our website. Very shortly here. In fact, before this, we had a meeting. That’s the latest case study that will will get up there. So yeah, we’ll have that the the events we produced with you night of meet our late night talk show that we did in your studio space, which was so awesome. And as well as the the cooking demo we had with Joe Flom, the winner of Top Chef will be on there. And then a bunch of other events that we did as well. So yeah, what that should be coming within the next few weeks. So check back often.

Ryan Freng 1:33:46
Oh, oops, caption. Awesome. Well, thanks, again, for hanging out with us. And we’ll have you back on we’ll schedule right away. And we’ll just start right here. Because that’s now we’re getting the good stuff I want to hear. I want to hear how you connect with nature. What what you’re reading, you know, really dig into it.

Emily Shea 1:34:04
All right. It’ll be like, trippy for me. It’ll

Ryan Freng 1:34:07
be great. I mean, that’s how it started. It started with us, like hanging out with people, like clients and co workers and colleagues that we couldn’t hang out with during COVID. So yeah, that’s kind of where this came. And now we can just hang out with anyone anywhere. So it’s very cool. It’s

Emily Shea 1:34:23
a pleasure hanging out with you guys. I really appreciate it.

Ryan Freng 1:34:25
Yeah. Yeah. And thanks, everyone for tuning in. This also becomes a podcast so you can check it out. Down below or Spotify, Google Apple, wherever your podcasts are sold. We’re there. So check it out. This probably won’t be in the mix for months yet. We have a back catalogue that we just started putting in the podcast. So if you go into the podcasts, you’re actually kind of time traveling. You’ll get something from a year ago, year and a half ago. So that’s really, really fun. So that’s what we got. Thanks, everyone for tuning in. Thanks, Emily. Thanks, John. on and we’ll see you next time

Emily Shea 1:35:02
thank you bye

author avatar
Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...