2. Dan Altenbernd: How Disruptive Brands Can Be More Human

In this episode, Dan Altenbernd, CEO of H2M Brand Haus, describes what being a disruptive agency “or being human” means and how brands can break through the noise.

  • Dan is the CEO of H2M Brand Haus based in Fargo, North Dakota. Dan has been involved within the marketing/advertising landscape for over 20 years. He started and helped build two businesses before joining H2M to help the agency gain momentum in late 2005. Dan took majority ownership in 2019 and continues to work on growing the agency every day, from footprint to capabilities.


Dan shares insights into his 20-year marketing career, the evolution of H2M Brand House, and the agency’s approach to transparency, disruption, and maintaining a lean team. The conversation also touches on the impact of the pandemic on remote work and the importance of avoiding cookie-cutter approaches in advertising. The key takeaway is to not settle for the normal – make an effort to be as unique as you can be.


[1:20] Dan’s favorite brew

[1:58] Joining H2M Brand Haus and Dan’s two-decade marketing career

  • Dan running his own graphics studio that gave him the confidence to take on big roles and clients
  • Acting as a creative director, copywriter, sales rep, and more
  • Transitioning from tech sales to advertising agency leadership

[6:06] What being a disruptive agency actually means

  • Running an agency by being human, leading with honesty and transparency
  • How to identify and treat toxic clients and partners
  • Avoiding the cookie-cutter agency approach

[14:05] The benefits of having a lean & nimble agency team

  • Embracing freelancers on an agency team
  • Focusing on highly specialized marketing talent
  • Building a strong company culture within an agency setting

[22:26] Final thoughts and takeaways

  • Don’t settle for the normal
  • Have fun with you do and think outside of the box when you can
  • Advertising should be fun at the end of the day


Follow Dan on LinkedIn
Visit H2M Brand Haus at www.h2m.biz


Follow Pat on X @patbcooper
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