- Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017
- AUSTIN, Texas
Dean McBeth, former head of integrated strategy at CP+B, Dave Burg, former group director, brand strategy at R/GA, and Dan Walsh, ex-managing director of Roundhouse, have teamed to launch Shepherd-A Fixer company. The new Austin-based venture is billed as being a strategy-first agency model that applies a “fixer” mentality to help clients with some of their most challenging branding issues and campaigns. Walsh will be based in Shepherd’s Portland, Ore. office while McBeth and Burg will lead the Austin headquarters. Among Shepherd’s clients out of the gate are International Recruitment Technology startup Jobbook and 805Basecamp, a private equity firm representing the estates of John Wayne and Marlon Brando.
“Shepherd takes its inspiration from Pulp Fiction’s Winston Wolfe character, who was an unapologetic fixer and problem solver,” said co-founder/managing strategist McBeth. “CMOs at many brands are fed up with the antiquated and slow-moving agency structure. Shepherd uses digital tools and integrated methodology to streamline cumbersome marketing and testing processes so that we can bring them compelling and measurable results--quickly.”
Shepherd deliberately launches with no creative director on staff, allowing the principals to consistently collaborate with an array of elite creative talent in the industry. This unique model frees up the founders so that they are not beholden to one creative vision or style. To build a team designed to fix creative challenges, Shepherd assembles a team of strategists, comms planners, analytics experts, data scientists, developers, social media specialists and user experience experts tailored to each project and brand. This model is built on success stories the agency’s seasoned strategists have spearheaded at top international agencies.
Shepherd aims to help brands and agencies find solutions faster and more efficiently. The team uses digitally advanced methods and social analytics to explore what they characterize as a “tribe mind,” discovering the passions of target audiences and how to best connect them with a brand.
“The antiquated practices today’s big agencies use for research and targeting amounts to malpractice,” said McBeth. “In today’s rapidly changing business climate, clients want to be digitally led.”
McBeth has experience as a strategist, creative director, social media planner and marketer. His work spans such brands as Old Spice, Nike, Formula 1 and Domino’s. He’s held a string of executive strategy and creative posts at Wieden+Kennedy, Barton F. Graf, Ketchum, Circuit of the Americas and CP+B prior to co-founding Shepherd.
Burg is co-founder/brand strategy at Shepherd, having been a strategist and creative over the years. He’s led lauded integrated campaigns with work for the likes of Domino’s, Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom,” interactive fare for Coca-Cola, and helping Fruit of the Loom become Walmart’s preferred apparel partner with “The Professional’s Collection.” Burg had been in director roles at Wieden+Kennedy, CP+B, and R/GA.
Walsh is Shepherd’s co-founder/business strategy. He is an expert at entrepreneurship and connecting top-drawer creative and digital talent. Walsh scaled a three-person web development shop in Portland to become the prominent integrated indie Roundhouse Agency, with clients from Xbox to Fender, Yeti, Red Bull, KIND, and Adidas.