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Manage episode 244364131 series 2478093
Today's guest is Ken Pasternak, President of Two by Four, a full service advertising agency based in Chicago. On the episode, however, you'll hear me introduce Ken as President and COO of Marshall Strategy, a San Francisco-based brand identity and strategy firm he cofounded in 2002. A few months ago, Two by Four acquired Marshall Strategy, so Ken's role changed a bit. We recorded this conversation a little before that happened. Ken leads major positioning, identity, naming, and brand architecture work. He's worked with clients like Apple, Symantec, MTV, Boeing, Sony, and UC Berkeley. I've known Ken since 2007, and through the years we've partnered on quite a few naming and brand architecture projects. It was great to get to talk to an old friend and colleague-who also happens to be a brilliant brand strategist-and hear more about how he thinks about brands and brand experience. We kicked off the conversation talking about Ken's interesting career path, which started out in Budapest. The common thread in his career has been storytelling, which took him from a degree in English literature to producing corporate videos, and eventually to brand strategy. Next, Ken detailed his process for creating a great brand experience, including his definitions of brand and brand experience, and a few simple tools he uses with clients (including plotting potential brand experience touchpoints on a two-by-two with axes of impact versus effort). Toward the end of the conversation, we talked about how Ken feels about Alaska Airlines acquiring Virgin America (hint: not great) and what they'll do to the brand. Then he recommended some books and gave his advice for new or junior brand strategists. To learn more about Ken, visit the Two by Four and Marshall Strategy sites. I highly recommend you check out the Marshall Strategy blog, too-it's full of insightful, useful articles. Most recently, Ken's partner Philip, who you'll hear him mention during the episode, published a great article about what's changed-and what hasn't-in his over 30 years in the brand identity world.