Megan Olson

As advertisers look ahead to 2020, many feel they must choose between an advertising path focused on mass reach brand awareness or an alternative path to direct sales through targeted digital media advertising.

Many recognize the power of promoting a brand through a strategic mass media approach but cannot deny the benefits and return on investment offered by a targeted digital plan. 2019 marked the first time digital ad spending surpassed traditional media spending, signaling a shift in strategy, budget and execution by many U.S. brands. At A. Bright Idea, we believe a strategic digital media plan can increase brand awareness and drive leads, using a combination of cost-effective advertising tactics.

In the past decade, digital advertising capabilities improved significantly, giving advertisers the opportunity to target niche audiences, see results in real-time and make adjustments mid-campaign to impact sales and maximize budget. Audience targeting capabilities also improved with audience segmentation, enhanced geo-targeting and IP-targeting. The incorporation of first-party, third-party and CRM data gave digital advertising legitimacy in the lead generation space. This data-driven approach allowed advertisers to focus on an audience most likely to interact with their brand and used tangible data to reach the lower end of the purchasing funnel. And, best of all, digital advertising costs a fraction of many broad-reaching mass media buys.

In theory, converting to a pure digital advertising campaign checks all the boxes, but this approach has its drawbacks too. High frequency of exposure to the same audience can cause burn-out and potentially turn consumers away from a brand. Also, limiting reach to those already in the funnel ignores a potentially untapped audience of new customers. Once marketers churn through existing leads, they must find ways to feed the top of the funnel and ultimately cultivate new leads, which cannot be done at the micro-level.

Fortunately, companies do not have to stand on one side of the advertising fence or the other. With more options than ever before, the right formula often includes a combination of digital media that reaches the target audience at multiple points along the consumer journey. As we look to 2020 and consider all of the media options around us and those yet to come, A. Bright Idea considers the following to help build and ultimately execute an effective media campaign:

  • Know your target audience
  • Outline campaign goals and objectives
  • Pinpoint key timing and benchmarks
  • Determine what you want to learn from the campaign
  • Identify key metrics to measure campaign success

 

Learn more about how A. Bright Idea can build a media plan for you! https://www.abrightideaonline.com/work?select=advertising-services

Anita Brightman

When I came across the above quote, I felt a strong connection to how much it relates to my working in a fast-paced creative agency. Every day you get thrown various situations, but how you choose to react to those situations serves as the catalyst for your success.

When approaching new tasks, we inherently seek guidance from others to layout step-by-step directions because creating a sense of familiarity makes us comfortable. The sense of accomplishment, however, feels much stronger when it stems from pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Your ability to get comfortable starts with recognizing the point at which you transition from uncomfortable to stressed.

 

Many mistakenly identify feeling uncomfortable with feeling stressed. Stress, real stress, comes from situations beyond our control, often involving family, health or livelihood. When I experienced a significant earthquake while waiting for a plane in Los Angeles – that was real stress. Similar to what I witnessed during the 2017 California wildfires in Sonoma and the devastating fires in Los Angeles County, in a moment’s notice people became displaced, injured and left with a real sense of raw vulnerability. Despite practicing emergency preparedness drills and thinking I knew what to do in these situations, I realized I was far less in control than imagined.

While stressful situations reach beyond our control, everyone can take ownership of an uncomfortable situation and set their own path forward. Stay focused on the big picture and tackle the project one step at a time to easily identify where you feel most uncomfortable, so you can move toward a stronger level of comfort for future tasks. Tackling uncomfortable situations brings personal/professional growth to help you become comfortable with the uncomfortable.

I knew I wanted to explore the concept of “getting comfortable being uncomfortable” with the rest of the ABI team, so I made it the theme of our annual employee summit. Each team member wrote down one thing that makes them comfortable at work and one that makes them uncomfortable. Through an open group discussion, we found similarities among our answers, and in a few instances, discovered what one person identifies as comfortable, another found uncomfortable. Some answers on both ends of the spectrum included public speaking, multitasking and working under pressure.

 

During our discussions, I shared another story of feeling uncomfortable – when A. Bright Idea received its first government contract as prime contractor. For many years prior, we executed public affairs support for our commercial clients and got comfortable serving as a sub-contractor for larger government accounts. Our hesitation to apply as a prime contractor stemmed from a feeling of uncertainty in not knowing all of the answers and we did not feel fully prepared to navigate the entire process ourselves. Though we faced many new and uncomfortable tasks to take on this new challenge, we pulled our resources, asked a lot of questions and figured it out. The risk was worth the reward.

That singular experience allowed A. Bright Idea to evolve into the 23-year-old, full-service agency we are today with over 45 employees serving clients coast to coast.

Life brings unknown obstacles to navigate, but how you choose to move forward determines the confidence and knowledge you’ll bring to future tasks. Change can be uncomfortable, but real opportunities for transformation rise from the unknown.

Gay Pinder

There’s a lot more to media relations than having a great story. You may know what you want to say, but if you don’t know how to say it or who to say it to, then your pitch will turn into a swing and a miss.

Like all communication tactics, media relations requires strategy. No matter how much the industry continues to evolve, these 5 fundamentals will always remain the same.

  1. Keep the audience front of mind

Whether pitching about a product or person, an innovation or an accomplishment, think about the pitch from the audience’s perspective. You have to consider media outlets and the readers, listeners or viewers of those outlets as your audiences. The pitch must deliver exciting, useful information or a unique story for media outlets to share with their audiences. If the product or story doesn’t appeal to the outlet’s audience, it’s not going to appeal to the outlet.

  1. Spend time reading, listening and watching

Spend the time to read, listen to and watch your targeted media outlets. Know who they talk to and how to create a pitch customized for their target audience. The time spent researching on the front-end will save you from wasting time sending pitches to the wrong outlets and contacts. Better your chances of breaking through the clutter by sending a pitch that’s spot on.

82% of journalists say PR professionals can improve by researching and understanding their media outlet.

  1. Pitch with a purpose

A pitch should answer two questions — why would the media have interest in this story and why is this story better than the other 500 pitches the outlet received that week? Until you can confidently answer both questions, the pitch is not ready. Before you begin crafting your pitch, ask yourself — how will/can the news or product you’re pitching affect the audience? How will they benefit? If the story has no legs, media reps will not only delete your email, but will more than likely also delete future emails you send.

  1. Build, then foster, relationships

It’s all about connections and relationships. In order for media reps (writers, reporters, producers) to want to share your story, they must first like, respect and trust you. Securing and strengthening these relationships will come from pitching newsworthy stories and only newsworthy stories. If an outlet is looking for a particular story or expert that you can’t provide, but you know someone who can, let the reporter know. Not only will the reporter remember you, but the person you recommend may return the favor the next time.

58% percent of influencers and journalists said displaying knowledge of past work, interests and beats drove them to pursue a story.

  1. Be realistic. Be patient.

Timing is everything. You have to consider the timing for the outlet and the reporter, but you also need to have a keen awareness of the trending news cycle. The topic du jour could help or hurt your pitch efforts. Stay the course and wait for your opportunity. Your story must stand out and be relevant to stick. Of course, if no one bites on your first attempt, that’s normal. A reporter you pitched today may call you back months later because the time is finally right.

Looking for more tips on successful media relations? Ask us your questions by tagging us on Facebook and Twitter.

TJ Brightman

We hope you have grown to love our annual holiday wine roundup as much as we have. In preparation for all your parties and dinners, we pulled together a few recommendations to help you decide the perfect wine for your holiday toasts.

Follow these three rules when it comes to wine — keep it simple, drink what you like and most importantly, share with friends! There’s no need to be intimidated or worried if your bottle will be a good fit. A few good standbys will be the perfect addition to any holiday event.

Sparkling Wine — If you want to impress your friends, remember that all Champagne is sparkling wine, but all sparkling wine is not Champagne. Either way, Champagne, prosecco, cava or any California sparkling wine is a hit. You can’t go wrong with a good sparkling. It’s festive, fun and bubbly!

Riesling — This often-overlooked wine is crisp, refreshing and aromatic. Riesling is produced mostly in Germany and France’s Alsace region, but you can find some great domestic ones too. The versatility of a dry or semi-dry Riesling makes it a perfect pairing for salad, turkey, fish, roasted butternut squash or dessert.

Pinot Noir — Pinot Noir is a typical pairing with turkey, but it’s delicate flavors and light aromas go well with any grilled meat or poultry. We tend to favor Pinot Noirs from Russian River Valley AVA such as those produced by Walt Wines, but you can also find wonderful Pinot Noirs from Oregon.

Cabernet Sauvignon — You can’t forget this classic Bordeaux wine this season! Bold and rich, a great cab is perfect to warm you up on cold winter nights. Pair a Silver Oak, Far Niente or Joseph Phelps cab with filet mignon, beef tenderloin or a roast.

Dessert Wine — The wine pairings don’t end after your main course. Dessert wine can be a stand-alone dessert or paired with your favorite tasty sweet. Our picks include Joseph Phelps Eisrebe and Dolce by Far Niente.

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at A. Bright Idea! Cheers!

Chris Lamartina

Outside of my career in advertising, I produce low budget horror movies, and believe it or not, there’s more similarities between the two than you might think.

Now, I’m not suggesting we put a bloody chainsaw in your ad for toothpaste, but if you can understand the psychology of how monster movies work for an audience, you can leverage those ideas to create some truly powerful marketing plans.

Here are three quick concepts to consider in future projects.

There you have it. Three quick lessons on how strategies in marketing and in horror movies share common goals that you can leverage for your next big idea.

Kristie Sheppard

It’s a tale as old as time. Shoppers see a promotion for “joining the club” or getting those special “members-only” benefits and then before they know it, they have more memberships than they know what to do with. Then, after just one shipment, they cancel the membership altogether. How do you keep members around for the long-haul? For wine clubs, it starts with creating brand loyalty.

What’s in your shipment?
Make your members feel like it’s Christmas morning the day their shipment arrives. Leading up to delivery, build up the excitement through emails, social media and phone calls. Make each and every member feel special, as if they are your priority customer. Personalize your packaging by including a note or brief letter. Even better – toss in some extra swag. Think of your shipment as the one piece of mail people look forward to getting. Your club members should be thrilled to receive that big box!
Create brand ambassadors
Use your shipment as an opportunity to cultivate your audience. Include fun tips, tricks and recipes that will make your members want to tell their friends and family, and include a referral discount coupon for them to pass along when they do. Go beyond just delivering a product and include a DIY experience in each shipment that features the wines. For example, with the summer shipment of Sauvignon Blanc, include a dinner recipe that pairs with the wine. Toss in suggestions for table settings that match the label and your brand colors as well as some craft supplies with an instruction card on how to turn that wine bottle into a centerpiece. If a shipment has sparkling wine, include instructions on how to saber it. If you give your members something to talk about while enjoying the wine, they will.
Make members feel special
Communication is the key to any successful relationship. Communicate with your members more often than just notifying them of their shipment. Turn the purchase into a relationship. Send a birthday card or wine club anniversary card. Call them once they receive their shipment to answer questions about the wine. Engage with them on social media by liking their posts, commenting on their activities or creating conversations through a custom hashtag. In order for your members to feel that you care, you have to show them you do.

Do you have other methods for creating brand loyalty? We want to hear them! Tag us on Facebook or Twitter to let us know your tips.

Adriana Guidi

The ‘A’ in STEAM

Adriana Guidi

“Design is where science and art break even,” said Designer and Entrepreneur Robin Mathew. Most people don’t recognize a correlation between science, technology, engineering, and math as they relate to art, but at A. Bright Idea, we certainly do.

Digital Canvas

It might surprise you to know just how much technology goes into graphic design. Throughout a whole workday, technology gets used to establish creative to bring brands and advertisements to life. No longer solely centered around creating a piece of art, a graphic designer’s strategy now includes a focus on functionality and how their work will succeed in the digital world.

Users can now access online information via desktop, mobile or tablet surfaces. With a change in user experience comes a shift in design strategy. Responsive design, for example, involves creating a website to work on large horizontal desktops as well as a small portrait phone. Designers must keep this in mind during the development process to ensure any text, graphics or videos will function properly no matter the source.

By committing to life-long learning, designers and artists can smoothly transition as technology continues to evolve, thus becoming artistic and creative in a digital and technological sense.

Modern Paintbrush

Just as Leonardo da Vinci found common ground between science and art, so do contemporary graphic designers. A computer, in turn, becomes the paintbrush.

Technology provided the fuel for art to not only evolve but come to life with a direct purpose that integrates directly into everyday life. Whenever you see a logo for a company or a design on a website, you witness art in a digital form.

For the most part, graphic designers start out with a sketch of an idea before turning to technology to elevate it to the next level. Software suites, like Adobe Creative Cloud, allow graphic designers to easily transition from sketch to vector — digital images created by placing lines and shapes in a given two-dimensional space — arrange pages of a brochure or create custom animations. When designers use this software to enable creative freedom, the technological and artistic worlds collide.

Unexpected Inspiration

Creative inspiration can stem from anywhere. Designers use math and science for concept inspiration, as well as product execution. Math allows designers to create crisp and accurate graphics. Simple, yet important things like measuring out the sides of a brochure or making sure lines run precisely parallel to each other make designs as perfect and functional as possible. Designers also use math to scale images, convert units, write print specifications and develop dielines for printed projects.

Geometry acts as a building block for many different designs, such as creating icons and graphics to then use in making complete shapes. It seems like a simple concept, but designers more often than not use shapes to create a complete image, not free-hand drawings. For example, designers can create a light bulb through the use of geometry by setting various shapes at different angles and placements. This method requires a meticulous approach, bringing several different variables together to create an end product.

With so many variables to work through and consider, problem-solving becomes an essential part of a graphic designers’ process. When an engineer gets tasked with building a bridge, key components to consider include the quantity and cost of materials needed. Similarly, when designing a brochure, graphic designers also consider size and shape, materials, cost efficiencies and other variables to ensure a complete and functional final product.

Creativity and technology not only coexist but also produce groundbreaking ideas and outcomes. Art not only fits perfectly into science, technology, engineering and math, but creates a connection among all of them. Strategy and technicality have no limit when it comes to various industries. An engineer exudes the creativity of an artist, just as an artist emanates the innovation of an engineer.

Jessy Weiss

Are you interested in learning how to change color in a picture so it blends perfectly? It takes a lot of skill to get it right, but Senior Graphic Designer/Internal Brand & Social Media Manager Jessy Weiss makes it look easy in the below tutorial. Check out Jessy’s guide to Adobe Photoshop and soon you’ll become a pro yourself.