BRANDING IN MEMPHIS with BRIAN J. STEPHENS

Back in early January, I received an email from a media producer at a firm in Memphis called Caissa Public Strategy. Having typed that just now I realize that uttering the phrase "a firm in Memphis" may result in many of you flashing to images of Tom Cruise as a young lawyer finding himself caught between the right and wrong side of the law. I assure you this is not that type of situation. Back to the email. 

Caissa was looking for a photographer and creative partner to help them build the personal brand of their CEO Brian J. Stephens who is also a public speaker and educator on the subject of corporate and personal branding. They had come across my online portfolio and thought I was the man for the job. I was thrilled to hear this, specifically since it was coming from a company and a man who know so much about the subjects of branding and image. We talked cost structure of the project and schedule and we got it on the books. 

Next step was to schedule a phone call with Brian to get a feel for the man and who he was. Less than a minute into my first conversation with Brian I knew this was going to be a fun commission. This guy was intense...and impressive. He spoke fast and with confidence. He mentioned a new workout he had done the night before that was so rigorous it had made him vomit, and he couldn't wait to do it again. He told me that he liked my work and had every confidence in me to successfully represent his personal brand through imagery, and then he hung up. I could tell by his tone that I really had no other option but to succeed. I'm not gonna lie...he kind of freaked me out. But I was pumped to work with Brian. 

The Caissa offices are located on the sixth floor of a great old downtown building on Main St. in Memphis. I loaded my gear up to their offices and Brian met me with a high quality handshake and a smile. He oozed confidence, but not cockiness. He was welcoming and approachable and though I knew I had to get to work, I really wanted to just sit down and talk to this guy because I knew he had all kinds of good stuff to lay on me. But, we had to get cranking. 

I quickly found a few locations I liked around his office which included moving an enormous conference table and heading out to the rooftop just outside Brian's office. One thing that makes these location shoots that I don't get to scout beforehand a lot easier is working with the Profoto B1 Air system. They are super portable and easy to use. Plus, not needing to worry about plugging them in to a clunky power source or a wall outlet means I can go just about anywhere with them. 

At the end of the day, we were successful in creating some dynamic personal branding images for Brian and Caissa to use when promoting his workshops and public speaking engagements. We nailed confidence, and we nailed approachability. Brian was a willing subject and excited to collaborate with me to make the best images we could. That's the best kind of client. Thanks to Brian and the entire Caissa team, and best of luck. Though I know you'd probably tell me, with the proper strategy in place you don't need luck. 

Here's a little more about Brian J. Stephens from his website: 

Brian J. Stephens, CEO and co-founder of Caissa Public Strategy, is a business strategist, crisis manager and attorney. His experience of leading clients through their day-to-day crises has allowed him to develop a one-of-a-kind skill set to navigate change, anticipate obstacles and win under any circumstance.

Brian uses his own proven methods to mobilize public opinion, manage crises, build reputation and gain positive support for your mission. Having led over 100 campaigns, Brian is an expert at political and land use campaigns and grassroots organizing. From stopping strip joints to leading complex litigation and building support for products and causes, Brian is adept at influencing crowds to get you to the win.

Brian’s foundation for strategy and intelligence-based action began at Marion Military Institute, where at the age of 19, he was named the Cadet Core Commander of the entire student body. He later continued his service in the United States military. Brian’s aptitude led him to earn degrees in business, industrial psychology and military science, along with a law degree from the University of Tulsa. Brian also has the experience of being a business owner, knowing firsthand the pressures that owners face every day.

An avid off-road mountain biker, Brian continues his passion for strategy and action by competing in races across the United States. He recently completed the Leadville 100 ultra-endurance race in Leadville, Colorado.

Whether presenting in the boardroom or biking in the mountains, Brian is dedicated to advancing his clients’ interests and making sure they are equipped with the right information to make a win.
— www.brianjstephens.com