Prairie Portrait: Chris Lewman of Discover Vision
Name: Chris Lewman
Bio: Marketing director. Above average partner. Apple junkie. Local foodie. Coffee addict. Traveler.
Title: Director of Marketing by day, Branding Consultant by night
Intro music: "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley
Silicon Prairie News: You've written that "there's more to successful branding than just telling a story." Can you explain what that means and what you as a marketer do to go beyond merely telling a story?
Chris Lewman: With the thousands of messages customers receive every day, traditional marketing isn’t as effective as it once was. Successful branding moves beyond storytelling into engagement where customers hear your story, understand it and interact with it. But you have to measure that process and use the information to create actionable insights. This approach allows businesses to tap into the customer experience, define what engagement means for them, and continue learning and growing. It’s about relevancy.
SPN: What drove your decision to start consulting a few years ago?
CL: I participated in a venture creation challenge during my Masters where we made it to the final round. We interacted and received feedback from mentors like Henry Bloch, Dave Cummings (founder of Tradebot), Sandy Kemper and more. It evolved from there, but I enjoy the process of helping businesses take their idea, establish an identity and convey their story. Consulting allows me to expand my scope into areas I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered.
SPN: You went through the Executive MBA program from UMKC's Bloch School, which has gotten lots of positive press recently for its work in entrepreneurship. Can you speak to how the program broadened your entrepreneurial horizons?
CL: The Bloch experience made me well-rounded in all areas of business rather than just marketing. Throughout the program I received real world training and access to amazing mentors who are top scholars in their field. I completed residencies in D.C., Beijing and Shanghai, competed in the venture challenge I mentioned before, and more. To put it simply, the Bloch School shaped my way of thinking as a marketer into a more entrepreneurial and innovative mindset.
SPN: One week removed from participating in Startup Weekend KC, you've had some time to digest the experience. What are some of your main takeaways from your work with the LunchUp team?
CL: As a first-timer, the best advice I can give is to pick the idea you're most passionate about, establish goals, divide responsibilities and avoid having more than one team leader. Set a time to discuss issues you can’t agree on and move on. Our team was solid. We developed a mobile app and web interface in 45 hours, which was impressive. The relationships I walked away with were worth far more than the entry fee.
SPN: You describe yourself as a local foodie and a coffee addict. Time to flaunt your expertise in those departments. If someone had one day to explore KC's culinary scene, what should their meal schedule look like (with stops for coffee along the way, obviously)?
CL: My partner and I love the KC food scene. There’s so much to explore here. I’m totally cheating because there are so many great things around KC, but here are a few of our favs:
- Morning Coffee: Dirty White Boy from Opera House (at 500 Walnut St.)
- Breakfast: Biscuits and gravy (veggie style or add sausage) from Blue Bird Bistro
- Lunch: Pulled pork sandwich w/ rosemary soup from The Vineyards Restaurant (Weston) and swing by Green Dirt Farm to take home some Dirt Lover cheese
- After lunch snack: Chocolate and walnut cookie from Happy Gillis
- After lunch coffee: Vietnamese iced coffee from Vietnam Cafe
- Happy hour: Pitcher of red sangria from HYPERLINK La Bodega
- Dinner: Maytag blue cheese salad (made with maytag/black pepper ice cream as dressing) and Kobe Beef Brisket from Justus Drugstore
- Dessert: Chocolate puddin’ w/ sea salt sprinkles and a ginger doughnut from Julian
- Nightcap: Thomas Blue (shaken grey goose vodka with stuffed olives) from Thomas
- Midnight snack: Lemon bar from Bloom Baking Co. (in City Market)
Credits: Photo courtesy of Lewman.
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