With a continual focus of adding top talent to our award-winning team, A. Bright Idea is excited to announce the addition and promotion of our new team members to support the creative communication needs of our clients.

 

NewHire
Top from left: Kevin Hess, Crystal Maynard, Robyn Hicks; Center from left: Brian Lobsinger, Luz Esmeralda Mahecha Martínez; Bottom from left: Bridget Goldsmith, Mina Ta

 

Mina Ta

A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR is pleased to announce the promotion of Mina Ta to a senior creative position. Mina, who joined A. Bright Idea in November 2013, demonstrated strength and leadership in providing on-site creative support for an Arlington, Virginia-based government client.

 

Bridget Goldsmith

Bridget joins A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR as part of a team of graphic designers supporting a government client in Arlington, Virginia. Bridget held previous positions as a contractor for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the NAVSEA Ship Building Program at the U.S. Navy Yard. Prior to joining A. Bright Idea, Bridget worked as a graphic designer for the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs at the U.S. Pentagon where she developed the overall branding for the nation’s highest medal for valor, the United States Army Medal of Honor.

 

Brian Lobsinger, Senior Designer/Multimedia Specialist

A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR welcomed Brian Lobsinger to the Graphic Design team, as senior designer and multimedia manager. Brian is charged with managing design and web projects in both the Sonoma, California and Bel Air, Maryland offices. Prior to A. Bright Idea, Brian ran his own design firm, and most recently was the senior web developer at Flannel, Inc.

  

Crystal Maynard, Communications Specialist

Crystal Maynard joins A. Bright Idea’s Government Services Division, offering on-site support for a government client in managing a variety of communication and public affairs projects. Crystal offers extensive communications experience, previously serving as a public affairs specialist to U.S. Army clients, providing strategic planning, media relations, event planning and public relations support.

 

Luz Esmeralda Mahecha Martínez, Bilingual Communications Specialist

Luz joins A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR in the Government Services Division, providing on-site communications and translation support for the Public Information office of an existing government client. Prior to joining A. Bright Idea, Luz worked with the University of Maryland School of Public Health and Miami Dade College School of Continuing Education and Professional Development.

 

Kevin Hess, Communications Event Specialist

Kevin Hess joined A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR to support marketing and event coordination efforts for the firm’s government and commercial clients. Kevin joins this award-winning team offering event planning and management experience from the Sports Information Office at Towson University.

 

Robyn Hicks, Junior Graphic Design Specialist

Robyn Hicks recently joined award-winning Graphic Design team at A. Bright Idea Advertising & PR. Robyn, a Towson University graduate with a degree in digital fine arts and design, previously worked with the Harford County Boys and Girls Club as a graphic designer.

 

Twitter analytics are here! Learn your followers’ interests, understand your demographics and see which tweets work and don’t work with just the click of a button. Following in the footsteps of their social media competitor Facebook, Twitter is starting to give users access to profile analytics. Still in the rollout phase, businesses can use these tools to understand and reach their target market and send meaningful and efficient tweets. Soon, all businesses will be able to utilize these helpful tools.

Next time you log into Twitter, select the “Twitter Ads” option from your settings bar and follow the directions as given. Once you have logged in again, you will be able to choose from “timeline activity” or “followers,” these options will teach you all kinds of things about your online marketing efforts. Play around with Twitter’s new tools and learn how social media is working for you!

Timeline Activity Option Features

  • Mentions, follows and unfollows in any given day (over last 30 days)
  • Number of favorites and retweets for each individual tweet
  • Categorized list of tweets that performed “best”
  • Categorized list of “good” tweets
  • Number of clicks on a link in a tweet
  • Description of how tweets performed in comparison to normal reach (ex: 3x normal reach, 15x normal reach)

If you notice a large amount of unfollows for one particular day, it could be because the conversation topic did not resonate well with your audience or there were too many tweets sent that day. By using the graph, you can find the specific date and go back to your previous tweets to see what you were talking about. This tool allows you to see what tweets aren’t working and what topics your followers don’t want to hear about. Gather similar information from your mentions and follows on specific days.

The number of clicks per link gives you the ability to see how many people are visiting your site and what topics stand out to your followers. The “best” and “good” lists, along with the descriptions of how tweets perform in comparison to normal reach help show twitter profiles what types of posts they should repeat and how many people they are reaching.

All of the features offered under the “Timeline Activity” option allow businesses to gather demographic information about their followers, their interests, what people enjoy reading and talking about and the number of people they are reaching. After learning this information, businesses can determine what type of tweets to send and not send in order to reach their target audience in the best possible manner.

Followers Option Features

  • Top interests among followers
  • Unique interests among followers
  • Top cities among followers
  • Who your followers follow
  • Gender
  • Number of followers over a given time period

Learning the top cities among your followers is a great way to perform location-based marketing and promote events or news in specific areas. Having access to the gender of your followers allows you to understand your demographic and create tweets based upon interests of specific genders.

The list about who “your followers also follow” is a unique tool with many benefits. You can utilize this tool to find who else your audience is interested in and new industry profiles worth following. Checking out this groups’ tweets can give you new ideas for social media campaigns and what tweets might be working for them, and utilized in strategic partnerships in social media campaigns.

Having access to a list of your followers’ interests is also a great list of possible hashtags your followers would enjoy. These interests also provide options for topics to tweet about. By tweeting things based on your follower’s interest, you are bound to gain more followers, produce tweets with higher performance and increase interaction with your followers.

These added analytics allow businesses to enhance their social media in proficient and effective ways. Businesses can learn how their current Twitter efforts are working and use those results to make meaningful changes in order to position messaging around their target audience. The list of features teaches users many things and is something businesses should utilize as soon as available for their account.

For more information on the newest social media trend and how to integrate it into your marketing strategy, send us an email to our Multimedia Manager, David Wells, at david@abrightideaonline.com.

Sample Twitter Analytics Page
Sample Twitter Analytics Page
  • This fall, look for A. Bright Idea’s new creative and production for Stella Maris’ Anniversary Campaign. Highlighting the remarkable service of a leader in elder care, A. Bright Idea offers strategic marketing support in celebration of Stella Maris’ 60 years of long term care and 30 years of hospice care in Maryland. The anniversary campaign includes a custom anniversary logo, strategic marketing and communications plan, media campaign and video production, as well as marketing collateral and event support.
  • The John Carroll School launches its 50th anniversary year with a custom logo and timeline-style brochure, including vintage photos and milestone dates, designed by A. Bright Idea.
  • Grapevine Catering is moving into a new space in Santa Rosa, CA where both the catering company will operate and their Earth’s Bounty Fine Foods products will be sold. The new storefront, Earth’s Bounty Kitchen & Wine Bar will have a take away menu and artisan produced products along with a full-service café and wine bar. A. Bright Idea supports the businesses with branding, signage, marketing, website, collateral design, email marketing and more.
  • Flavor Cupcakery supports wounded veterans and boasts community spirit with “It’s a Flavorful Life” – a week of promotions and special offers from the cupcakery and fellow small businesses in Bel Air and Cockeysville, MD. A. Bright Idea provided a custom event mark, collateral and PR support for the campaign.
  • A. Bright Idea designed the collateral and promotional materials for the Sonoma Valley Teen Services annual fundraising event, Cowboy Cab. Held at Larson Family Winery, the event sold out this year with over 200 guests in attendance. Check out a photo from the event here.
  • A. Bright Idea positions Synergy Integration Advisors for growth with a brand refresh, custom information graphic and icons, capabilities statement, brochure, document templates and stationery.
  • Celebrating 40 years in business, A. Bright Idea develops the Kenwood Kitchens Dream Kitchen contest, including advertising creative, print collateral and web page design, where one lucky winner will receive a $40,000 dream kitchen! Have you entered?

instagram videoInstagram recently implemented a video feature, taking the once still image only platform to a new level. Instagram video allows users to take a 3 to 15 second clip of anything they want, stopping and starting a video recording whenever they feel; so that you do not have to record the video clip all at once. It also includes a filter feature and a video stabilization option, a feature that put Instagram on the map when it was first introduced.

What at first felt like another version of the highly similar video-only social media outlet Vine, Instagram video has erupted as a strategic marketing tool. The Vine platform limits users to 10 seconds. Many companies use their 15 seconds to capture the users’ attention and provide an interactive glimpse at what services they have to offer. Many retailers are giving behind-the-scenes glimpses of sales and new products while some producers are posting shortened movie trailers. Businesses are finding new ways of reaching consumers as Instagram video transforms marketing methods.

For more information on the newest social media trend and how to integrate it into your marketing strategy, send us an email to our Multimedia Manager, David Wells, at david@abrightideaonline.com.

A. Bright Idea was selected among 20 other agencies to work with the Yountville Chamber of Commerce on destination marketing initiatives, providing marketing execution strategies with the goal of enhancing the current branding, programs and promotions for the organization. Known as the “Culinary Capital,” Yountville is nestled in Napa Valley, California and invites visitors to “Taste Life Here!”

Yountville was named after George Calvert Yount, a settler who came to the region in Napa Valley in 1831. Two years after Yount’s death, the town was renamed Yountville in honor of its founder and his contributions. George Yount was the first person to plant grape vines in the valley, forever putting Yountville on the map.

Today, Yountville is a small eclectic town with less than 3,000 residents and a premier destination in Wine Country. Known as a “one-stop-destination,” the town’s busiest tourist months fall in September and October, however on average Yountville has 6,111 visitors per day! The city is home to many award-winning wineries, authentic small town markets and world-renowned restaurants. Visitors and residents enjoy a variety of activities from hot air balloon rides and golfing, to art galleries and shopping, to wine tours and exciting events. Yountville is a remarkable town, rich in history and flavor – a true delight certain to satisfy any palette.

yountville logo

By: David Wells

A few things immediately evident as I travel across the U.S., hoping to take advantage of the best dining our country has to offer:

1. Smart phones and Google are the best invention ever
2. Not everything you read on the internet is true
3. Nothing beats the eye 

Making my way from one coast to the other in a good, old-fashioned road trip, I can’t help but notice the branding and signage along the route. Before I hit the road, I made a rule of no ‘chain’ restaurants – I wanted local, unique and creative. I’m not sure if I’ve been blessed with good luck at picking out great places to stop, or if I simply know how to use the information available to me, but every stop fulfills my need for not only good food, but a great and memorable brand experience.

Queen City CreameryThe first stop, although not too far from A. Bright Idea headquarters in Bel Air, was in Cumberland Md., at the Queen City Creamery. A simple Google search on my smart phone for “best places to eat in Cumberland” provided me with a plethora of rating websites, Yelp reviews, locations and more. After seeing the Creamery appear on several sites, I decided to check out their website. You notice a historical feel to the logo, which matches their historical building on the main street. When we pulled off the highway and onto the street, the building, signage and quaint nature of the place caught my eye, and I know it would be what I expected and wanted. The creamery is known for its homemade ice cream, but the deli sandwiches were a treat. You can tell it’s a local favorite by the number of groups of people laughing at the diner-style tables and talking with the staff like they were friends. I indulged in one of their well-known milkshakes as headed West. For me, a restaurant brand is not just about the outside looks and website, but from the moment I visited their website, I formed an expectation and the physical restaurant, atmosphere, service and fare didn’t disappoint!

Another stop along the way, thanks to another Google search and Trip Advisor recommendation landed me at Wild Eggs in Louisville, Kentucky. From the reviews, to the social media, to the website, I knew we were Wild Eggsin for something special when I decided to stop at this breakfast spot. Like some of the reviews proclaimed, we got to the restaurant and had to wait almost an hour for a table. However, from the time you walk in until the time you walk out, guests wait in the lobby and even outside in the cold to eat at this restaurant, so you know they must be doing something right. This family-owned restaurant has a great history and photographs of their delicious food on the walls, and a somewhat ‘wild’ appearance from the outside with bright colors. The Wild Eggs ‘story’ hangs on a poster in the lobby, providing something to read and learn. The Wild Eggs brand is all about tradition, history and comfort. With signature dishes and favorites, the waiter had no problem steering us in a direction he thought would please our palette. Their specialty strawberry tall stack, Eggs Bennie, grits and cinnamon roll did not disappoint, and looked just like the photographs on the website, foursquare photos and on the restaurant walls. For locals and tourists alike, the Wild Eggs brand is set for success.

For great views of downtown St. Louis, those who are 21 and over should stop here to view the city from St. Louisabove at 360 Rooftop Bar. With some of the best views of City Hall, the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium, the 360 Bar is an upscale tapas restaurant and bar with modern amenities. Cool fireplace features on the outdoor patio and outdoor TVs to watch sporting events, the 360 degree glass walls allow you to see any feature of St. Louis, even a Cardinals game from above. The 360 brand is modern and speaks to a certain crowd, and features DJs at night for this crowd. The modern website and logo pair with the created brand and atmosphere of the business. The tagline, Sip See Savor, captured my attention – I’m a sucker for three word taglines – and spoke true to the 360 mission and brand.

A final brand on the road trip thus far included Andolini’s Pizza in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Deciding where to stop and eat on the way to Oklahoma City was a challenge, but my smart phone and Google helped out yet again. Two local places sat next to each other and had favorable reviews, so we decided to check them out from the outside before making the final selection. One review for Andolini’s said, “If you’re looking for something with an ambiance, Ando’s is not your place, but if you want fresh ingredients and great food, this is your stop.” Well, as soon as we saw the place, it screamed ambiance. The outdoor fireplaces and brick walls welcome visitors. The chefs tossing pizza in the air in the windows was the final seller. The menu was designed well and included a great selection of signature pizzas, local craft beers and more. I’m not sure what the reviewer meant when he said the place had no ‘ambiance,’ but I’m glad we chose Ando’s, and the waitress even provided me with my very own Ando’s glass as a souvenir.

From experience, I know many local joints depend on their loyal customer base and word-of-mouth, but an investment in a solid brand is never wasted. For those businesses looking to grab the attention of a traveler, hope you have good reviews, have a website and be true to your brand in all aspects of your business, and you’re bound to earn a stop from this guy.

In this edition we’re wishing our very own SomethingAboutSonoma.com a happy and prosperous birthday. For toddlers this would be considered the year of the “terrible twos” but we have a much more positive outlook on 2013 for our destination website, so we’re dubbing this the “thriving twos.”

From its inception in 2010 and launch in 2011, our goal for SomethingAboutSonoma.com was to provide tourists and wine lovers the opportunity to explore Wine Country and get a taste of everything Sonoma County has to offer. And boy have we succeeded! We created the site from scratch, starting with just an idea and growing the site into a fully interactive, multimedia platform for local businesses to advertise and tourists from around the country to explore and plan their next day trip, weekend or family vacation.

Since its inception, we’ve seen tremendous growth and activity with the site – from participating businesses, as well as site visitors and a network of followers. For the past two years, we’ve been nurturing SomethingAboutSonoma.com, growing it to be better, more interactive and user friendly. We’ve developed 360-degree panoramas, About Us videos, engaged in social media, interactive chats, added a wedding page, participated in local and regional events and developed an email newsletter.

So now you may be wondering – what more could come in the “thriving twos” for SomethingAboutSonoma.com? Well a lot actually! This year we’re looking to expand with a mobile website, provide more special offers from local business to site visitors, create a special Sonoma Plaza page highlighting the amazing features the historic shopping plaza has to offer, as well as expand our trip itineraries and much more.

In order to support this growth we not only have our Interactive and Multimedia department incorporating the latest and greatest technology and trends, but we’ve also relocated an A. Bright Idea team member to the area. David Wells, Multimedia Manager and Marketing Specialist, will now be living and breathing the glorious Sonoma County air every day, connecting with local businesses and providing additional insight into the area’s flavor, latest hot spots and great deals. Now a Sonoma, Cali. full time resident, David’s vantage point supports SomethingAboutSonoma.com’s position as the destination resource for Sonoma County and Wine Country.

A. Bright Idea Acknowledged for Award-Winning Work in Audio-Visual Arts, Accepting Three International AVA Awards for work in Sonoma, California.

 

A. Bright Idea Advertising and Public Relations celebrates industry recognition in interactive, graphic design and marketing from the Audio-Visual Arts (AVA) Awards, presented by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), with the Gold Award for its travel website, SomethingAboutSonoma.com, and related website video.

 

“We recognized a need for sharing our creative services in Sonoma County and particularly creating a website for tourists looking to visit “Real Wine Country” and Sonoma County. ” says T.J. Brightman, Principal and Vice President Client Relations.  “The dynamic creative of SomethingAboutSonoma.com demonstrates our approach of blending verbal and visual communication with great brand, at the same time keeping it local.    We strive for excellence and I am always pleased to see our creative team get the recognition they deserve for their work, especially for our new clientele in California.”

 

A. Bright Idea developed SomethingAboutSonoma.com, coinciding with the opening of the West Coast office to position our solid interactive capabilities and multimedia approach in website design.  SomethingAboutSonoma.com has quickly become, the premier destination resource for everything there is to know about Sonoma County, California. From concept development to completion, A. Bright Idea launched the website in March 2011, actively maintaining the site content. Further supporting this product, SomethingAboutSonoma.com also maintains a strong social media presence, using the award-winning designs and videos on Facebook and Twitter, engaging over 7,000 followers, while continually gaining support for the interactive resource website.

 

“The concept developed for SomethingAboutSonoma.com stands as a prime example of the characteristics that make great interactive media – the ability to break through the clutter with unique concept, direction, design and production,” says Vince Novak, Vice President of A. Bright Idea Interactive. “Our recent recognition by the international AVA Awards competition confirms our commitment to exceptional creativity and professional design in all our work.”

 

About AVA

AVA recognizes outstanding achievement by creative professionals involved in the concept, direction, design and production of media as part of the evolution of digital communication. Work ranges from audio and video productions to websites and social media sites that present interactive components such as video, animation, blogs and podcasts, as well as other forms of user-generated digital communication. There were over 1,700 entries from throughout the United States, Canada and several other countries in the 2011 competition.

Jack London State Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by T.J. Brightman, Vice President of Client Relations

 

The California budget crisis has forced the closure of nearly 70 state parks, three of them in Sonoma County, California.  If successful, the state indicates it will recognize a savings of $33 million dollars over the next two fiscal years.   It will mark the first time in 100 years, including the Great Depression, that the parks department will entertain closure due to budget concerns.

As many of you know, A. Bright Idea expanded its reach of services by opening an office in Glen Ellen, Sonoma, California a little over a year ago.  In that time, we have had the opportunity to not only make some new friends within the business community but also experience first hand the true beauty that this part of the country has to offer.

Not only does A. Bright Idea find itself in the middle of wine country, but is just a stones throw away from Jack London State Park, a memorial to creative writer and adventurer Jack London who made his home in Glen Ellen from 1905 until his death in 1916.  It was on these 1400 acres that the American author wrote more than fifty fiction and nonfiction books, essays and short stories.  It was also on this hallowed ground that Jack London worked and lived off the land, experimenting and inventing  various  agricultural techniques.

This weekend, Brooke Austin, A. Bright Idea’s newest hire and Director of West Coast Operations, and I had the opportunity to take a behind the scenes tour of Jack London State Park with Chuck Levine, former board member of the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association.  Being an “East Coaster” all my life, I can’t say that I’ve ever been moved by the natural beauty of the outdoors more than I was during my visit to Jack London.  Maybe it was the giant redwoods, or simply seeing the views of Sonoma County from the Jack London residence that got my attention.   There was something special and tranquil about this place that could only make me imagine what Jack London saw in Sonoma when he moved from San Francisco in the early 1900s.

It was London who said, “All I wanted was a quiet place in the country to write and loaf in and get out of nature that something which we call need, only the most of us don’t know it.”

Politics aside, to think that a park like Jack London could close within the year is nothing more than a tragic outcome of the current economic crisis.  Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would allow qualified nonprofit organizations to take control of the parks scheduled for closure, assuming the management and operations.

As the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association positions itself to manage Jack London State Park, we are proud to partner with this nonprofit and continue our commitment of community as the organization works to secure control of the park and its overall operations in the coming year.

David Wells, Junior Marketing Specialist/ Photographer

If you are like me, you usually research an area before you travel there. You also probably have a list of places you want to visit during your trips. I have been given the opportunity to travel a lot in recent years and am always looking for things to do, places to stay, where to eat and overall information about the areas I visit. This requires a lot of research, ‘Googleing’ or asking others who have been there for suggestions. A lot of time and effort is made in planning the perfect trip.

Sonoma County remains a huge destination for vacationers, wine lovers and families. Have you heard of SomethingAboutSonoma.com?

After opening A. Bright Idea’s west coast office, we recognized a need for an all-inclusive destination resource for one of California’s (and our favorite) tourist attraction – ‘Wine Country.’ While some good information can be found on the web about Sonoma County, A. Bright Idea knew there needed to be a single resource connecting users to the area businesses, giving them a feel for the area, all the things we love about the area, and all before a visitor steps foot in the county. This resource needed to be vibrant and visual, providing users the ability to view attractions and hotspots and map out their stay.

SomethingAboutSonoma.com was created for this purpose. It’s the premier destination resource for everything there is to know about Sonoma County. Launched in March 2011, SomethingAboutSonoma.com offers unique 360 degree panoramic views and videos from amazing locations all over the county. Users can get up-to-the-minute details on local businesses featured on the site with social media news feeds, read customer reviews and even look up specials. SomethingAboutSonoma.com features videos, an interactive map and much more.

Over the past month, I have been traveling to our Sonoma office frequently and meeting with businesses to introduce SomethingAboutSonoma.com. A. Bright Idea also had the opportunity to present the site at the Sonoma County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo and have been very happy with the results and feedback, some even noting, “we have been waiting for a site like this to come around!”

In today’s virtual world, many of us turn to online resources and social media sites for research and data. The elements of SomethingAboutSonoma.com ensure businesses create buzz in the social media world and enhance their reach to new target audiences, while offering online users the right information and a connection to the area – all found in a single source.

So what’s your something? Check out SomethingAboutSonoma.com to see this premier destination resource in action.

SomethingAboutSonoma.com window sticker outside a restaurant letting passersby know they belong to the site.