Shawn Nesaw

A blank canvas, a blank screen, a blank page. Every creative pursuit starts essentially with nothing and requires the creative genius of the person to paint a picture, design a graphic or tell a story. For a business, your origin story, your endeavors, your challenges and solutions, all mean something to everyone involved.

But how do you share all of this with people who don’t know you or haven’t worked with you? How do you evoke emotion and get them to care? That is what branding does. What’s more, the large blank canvases all around you at your office or place of business, are often the underutilized mediums that can help you tell your story.

“Wall projects are a cross between interior design and graphic design,” Lisa Condon, Senior Director of Graphic Services says. “Wall graphics help grab attention, add elements of color and beauty to offices and most importantly of all, tell a brand’s stories.”

Stories are meant to be shared, and what better way to share your story than through big, bold, beautiful images, artifacts and text.

Wall projects come in many shapes and sizes – as you’ll see in the examples below – and with options galore, it can be overwhelming to visualize how to best use space for physical branding.

When considering if a wall project is the right way to tell your story, think about the following:

  • Wall space – Do you have space that is either blank, not used effectively or could be updated? Are there areas where people gather, where you hold meetings or events, or where people are waiting?
  • Longevity – Do you want something with permanence or something that can be flexible and needs to be updated or mobile?
  • Budget – Are you looking for something full or small-scale? (This helps determine materials, fixtures and fabrication plans.)
  • Availability of assets – Do you have high-resolution photos and videos that you’d like to share in new ways?
  • Permission – Can you modify the space? Do you have or can you get the permission to embark on a project of this scale?

Fortunately, we don’t expect you to have the answers. These types of considerations help frame the ideas – showing you all that can be done and in keeping within parameters.

We’re fortunate to have worked on a variety of environmental design and wall graphic projects, including large scale printing, fabrication and installation. Take a peek at some of the projects we’ve developed. Maybe they’ll inspire you to consider telling your story in a unique and immersive way.

Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Chemical Biological Center Visitors Center

Imaginative design transformed this visitors center into a dual-use space for VIP tours, meetings and events showcasing the organizations mission, presence, culture, research and products. Understanding the need for flexibility, we designed 16 inner building walls, 14 banner displays, 10 portable walls and two double-sided outdoor displays.

Defense Logistics Agency

This auditorium oasis consisted of 40,000 feet of wall and floor space telling the stories of the agency’s role in supporting the Warfighter. It created an immersive brand experience for visitors and reached hundreds of personnel daily with important messaging and visual reminders of the mission of the agency. A wall of fame, massive hand painted mural and glass-encased artifacts helped take this project to the next level.

https://www.abrightideaonline.com/work/defense-logistics-agency

U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity

This project consisted of a 10-foot nomadic exhibit, a touch-screen kiosk and retractable banners for use at future environmental and technical conferences. To ensure our client was able to fully grasp the scale, feel and placement of assets within the spaces, we created virtual spaces and elevations. This ensured when the final space was complete, there were no surprises. For the touchscreen and video kiosks, we produced interactive presentations using Adobe Flash and Microsoft PowerPoint, integrating animated, video and audio content.

We also converted a 35-foot-long Airstream trailer into a Mobile Information Center (MIC) to engage students in future recruitment efforts and inform the community of the site’s mission. We developed museum quality display panels, models and hands-on products for an enriched engagement experience. Specific graphics produced and fabricated include munition models in wood frames in a mock igloo as well as a representation of an emergency alert siren. When a button is pressed the actual warning tones and messages play, which audibly stresses the importance of the work being safely performed at the site.

Your story matters so why not tell it and display it in a big way. Ready to talk more about how to brand your space? Do you have questions about wall projects? Email us at info@abrightideaonline.com, message us on social media and look out for our Wall Project Q&A with Lisa Condon, Senior Director of Graphic Services.

Katie Bouloubassis

Many households across the U.S. tune into the Big Game every year. This year’s game truly felt historic for many reasons.

First, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the Kansas City Chiefs at their own home stadium in Florida making them the first team to play a Super Bowl on home turf.

Second, Tom Brady adds yet another win to his record-making this number seven.

Third, you may have noticed the absence of Budweiser’s Clydesdales and the somewhat comical battle for soft drink superiority between Coca-Cola and Pepsi. They, among many other advertisers, opted to take a time-out on advertising during the Big Game this year due to the impact and uncertainty the coronavirus pandemic has placed on this game and life across the nation.

The brands that did have ads air during the Big Game took the opportunity to reach audiences with a variety of creative, some funny, some heartfelt, some serious and everything in between.

I teamed up with our Director of Video Creative, Eric Bach to dissect a few of the ads that really caught our attention.

Our Favorite Spot:

“Last Year’s Lemons” Bud Light commercial secured the winning spot for us. Bud Light took an old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” and squeezed it (pun intended) to showcase their new product while highlighting the many sour situations that took place over the course of 2020. Beyond the clever concept and on-point execution of the ad, we noticed additional creative tactics with this campaign. Not only did they reinforce branding with an in-game ad, known as a drop-in, directly following the commercial, but utilized what appeared as guerrilla marketing in the stands, with the cameramen pointing at a “fan” covered in Bud Light body paint, holding a cardboard sign reading “When Life Gives You Lemons.” Overall, Bud Light executed a well-rounded and strategic campaign this year, relating to just about everyone on earth and making us laugh along the way.

*Also, side note, did anyone else catch Budweiser on screen? Weeks before the big game they announced they would not partake in advertising this year which remained true, not directly spending Budweiser ad dollars as they traditionally would. However, Anheuser-Busch ran advertising on its own and separate lower-third unit advertising their zero-alcohol beer

90s Nostalgia:

A reoccurring theme we noticed throughout the night was 90s nostalgia! This was kicked-off with Pizza Hut featuring Craig Robinson decked out in retro Pizza Hut gear playing Pacman in a room filled with iconic Pizza Hut memorabilia, eliciting fond childhood memories…the only thing missing was a BookIt pin!

The nostalgia kept coming with a reference to one of the decade’s most popular sitcoms, with Tide’s “Jason Alexander Sweatshirt.” The ad not only had us reminiscing about our favorite George Constanza moments, but Tide topped it off with a music bed referencing George’s famous answering machine message. The addition of the audio tied the whole spot together to make it even more memorable for audience.

One last nod to the 90s, Uber teamed up with Wayne’s World’s Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to promote the Uber Eats service. They preface this commercial by stating this is NOT an ad they’re using to manipulate the audience to eat local, while using some not-so-subtle tactics, like the babies wearing “eat local” shirts and a shameless celebrity plug from Cardi B to do just that. Uber took the obvious and over-used promotion tactics advertisers often lean on and made fun of them in their own way to shape this ad.

Honorable Mention:

An all-out sandwich war featuring Brad Garrett playing the part of a mob member in the latest Jimmy John’s commercial had us giggling the whole time. Jimmy John’s typically incorporates humor into their ads and this time did not disappoint. This commercial took a jab at their competitors by stating they are the “King of Cold Cuts” and took time to throw in reasons why, such as their superior ingredients, freshly baked bread, customizable menu and more. Humor remains a strong tactic for advertising because consumers like being entertained instead of pitched, so appealing to them emotionally through humor can lead to further engagement with a product in the future.

When it comes to advertising, for the big game or otherwise, creative direction remains the deciding factor if a brand reaches their target audience or not. Advertising is simply the vehicle to deliver the creative to the audience. That said, an integrated approach to advertising is always recommended. If you’re interested in determining the creative direction for your next campaign, send us an email or connect with us on Twitter! We’d be happy to discuss your next campaign and creative!

A. Bright Idea

We were especially excited to put 2020 behind us and look forward with the new year with hope and optimism.

2021 marks A. Bright Idea’s silver anniversary. From this 25-year milestone, we look back on one incredible journey and toward blazing more trails and pushing ourselves and the creative communications industry to reach new heights.

So, we acknowledge this accomplishment, not to assign importance to an arbitrary number of years but instead reflect on what it took to reach this coming of age and our trajectory from here.

Like many small businesses across the country, the beginning of A. Bright Idea started with a simple vision — a person wanting to pioneer her own way. Anita A. Brightman found inspiration from within and with the support of her family, friends and mentors, to create her own agency in 1996 after feeling lost in the large corporate setting, yearning to not only write but create and ultimately lead. At the start of her journey, a former colleague doubted the 26-year-old ‘s choice but Anita used his lack of faith to fuel a path to success.

From our agency’s foundations, we grew methodically and expanded from a home-based business to a full-service agency with offices coast to coast. Our process-oriented culture has in turn become the hallmark of our brand, a culture that’s methodical, imaginative and collaborative.

We’re excited to start celebrating. For the next 12 months, we will mark this special year with Silver & Shine moments. Look for our new webinar series and participate in two trivia contests on Facebook and Instagram where we’re giving away some great ABI swag and other fun goodies while also sharing tons of great anecdotes from Anita and other employees. You’ll get to see photos and videos to inspire or make you laugh, and of course, help you get to know us a bit better!

In many, if not most ways, we owe a toast to you. We have little room in this one blog post to provide a full compilation of client success stories over a quarter century but suffice it to say each one helps chronicle our story. Thank you and let the party begin.

Anita Brightman

As a business owner, your list of to-do’s remains as endless as your email inbox. Dedicating time to marketing efforts like telling your brand story or reaching new audiences with advertising or social media just doesn’t feel like it’s in the cards. Maybe it’s not; don’t get overwhelmed or frustrated and give up. Instead, look to an agency to lend a hand, taking the marketing burden off your plate.

Agencies come in many forms. Some specialize in a few niche areas like graphic design and digital marketing, while others provide a full range of services. Regardless of their specialties, agencies want to help you meet your goals. Agencies work with businesses of all sizes, with just about all industries and can manage projects ranging from seasonal marketing needs to long term integrated marketing campaigns.

So, where do you start? While you may have started your search for your perfect agency, the guide below answers some of the biggest questions and concerns holding businesses back from looking for that much-needed support.

1. I don’t have a marketing budget.
You are spending resources on marketing, whether you realize it or not. The time to network, sponsor community events and organizations, and keep on top of social media all cost you something. An agency helps you prioritize and maximize your presence, allowing you to do what you do best — your business.

2. I don’t have time to explain my business to others.
Agencies ask the right questions and take advantage of experiences to understand your business, industry, market and competition. It’s the agency’s job to share insights and ideas aimed at accomplishing your business goals.

3. Marketing, social media, advertising…it all changes so fast I just can’t keep up.
So true. Robust agency teams keep up with trends and best practices, so you don’t have to. As experts, they constantly scan the horizon for new and emerging tools and techniques to get in front of your audience, build your brand and get that ROI.

4. Word of mouth works for me, why change?
Good. An agency will give you a menu of recommendations for how to leverage all the word of mouth referrals you’re getting into look alike customers and build on those. You will also receive recommendations based on the agency’s past experience supporting clients just like you, for advertising, social media, website design and more.

5. I’ve always been treated like a small fish when working with agencies.
Their loss. Clearly, those agencies just didn’t fit with your business. Now you know what you don’t want, you can seek out the type of agency you do want. The ideal agency treats you with respect, shows interest in your business and seeks to foster a collaborative relationship with you.

6. I’m only one person. I have a lot on my plate.
Copy that. A full-service agency can take all of the marketing, advertising, video, website, social media, public relations and, of course, design work off your plate. Great full-service agencies offer teams dedicated to overarching disciplines. And, within those teams exist project managers, copywriters, strategic planners, designers, website developers and others allowing more collaboration and a better, more integrated final product.

The bottom line
Marketing your business remains an important component to its success and a full- service agency can provide the guidance, strategy and creative solutions needed to help you be successful.

Are you ready to take your marketing and communications efforts to the next level? If you have any questions about your needs, say hello! We’d love to help you.

Jamie Abell

Due to the sometimes confusing and complicated nature of your work, the general public doesn’t always understand the message you want to get across. Fixing this problem requires creative thinking to develop unique ways to transform technical terminology into easily digestible, engaging content everyone can understand and want to read. See, when your audience goes from ‘huh?’ to ‘oh, I get it!’, they’re more likely to engage and that’s a huge win for you!

Tech-y subjects like number analyses, system functions and legislative action don’t always draw attention from audiences more interested in current events, such as the next big sale or what streaming show to watch. You need to make important messages stand out in a sea of cute puppy and baby videos. The content needs to drive a serial Instagram scroller to pause the way they did when a gossip magazine announced Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan broke up. It must gain engagement and reach the way the blue or gold dress took over the internet in 2015. So, that begs the question, how do you turn technical and complex topics into compelling material to capture eyeballs and encourage clicks?

First, you have to take it back to basics – do the research! You need to understand your target audience and what motivates them. Audiences, of course, can range from teenage TikTokers to parents to high-powered CEOs and any other population in between. Each one of these groups find different things that appeal to them. Find those things, note them and use them!

With this new knowledge on your audience, you should begin translating the technical language into content they will understand and actually care about. To do so, look through the text and data to find the ‘pearls’ – those key points and messages you need to tell the story and appeal to the audience. Use the story to connect the data and technical terms to them personally to tell them why they should care. Use your team to talk through the subjects because, more often than not, speaking through a complicated matter simplifies it for you and generates more ideas on how to communicate it.

As you ponder the story with your team, ask yourself two questions: what do I want the audience to know about this topic? And, what do they need to know? Ah yes, the age-old debate – wants vs. needs. Once you understand that the audience does not NEED to know everything you WANT them to know to drive them to act, you can quickly transform your jargon-riddled content into a piece that’s easier to read and understand for the layman.

With the work, research and debate complete, you need to take a trip to math class. Communicating technical subjects relies on a simple equation:

Important, Simplified Content + X = An engaged audience who gets it!

X is the makeover you give your drab technical language to make it the coolest, most popular kid at the party. Now, this elusive X can be many, MANY things. For example, X can include the use of colorful graphs to communicate technical data or illustrations and motion graphics to break up long blocks of text to create visual interest. X could also include condensing information into a cohesive series of materials or relaying information through videos or social media. Once you determine the X in the equation, your method then needs to be two-fold: grab attention and then capitalize on that moment the user has given you.

While we know it can be daunting to transform massive datasets, 13-letter words and long, descriptive paragraphs that would make a rocket scientist’s head spin into something compelling and engaging, it really is as easy as solving for X. Finding the perfect X is a team effort. It includes trial, error and collaboration – a true experiment.

Translating technical content into a story the general public can read, understand and relate to is challenging. As a writer, making personal connections and analogies to the subject matter allows for further understanding of the technical topics. If you relate to the content, you can help your readers understand it too.

Learn more about our X by checking out some of our work!

Katie Bouloubassis

When you hear the word Amazon, you may think of the ecommerce platform. However, Amazon’s properties extend beyond online shopping. Amazon Prime 2019 Membership data shows 82 percent of U.S. households have a Prime membership1, totaling 105 million households.

While memberships continue to increase, so do the number of Amazon properties, giving advertisers multiple opportunities to reach Amazon customers. These include Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Fire TV and the voice assistant product, Alexa. Amazon’s growth fuels the development of powerful mediums that allow advertisers to follow consumers, understand their habits and in turn, provide them with relevant content and advertisements.

Amazon continues to invest in the digital advertising space, which is projected to grow by about 50 percent throughout 20202.  Amazon advertising opportunities include search, digital display, video and over-the-top television (OTT) tactics, which all utilize Amazon’s proprietary first-party data to accurately target key consumer groups. Below is a list of expanded advertising tactics currently offered through Amazon and how each benefits advertisers:

Placement
Description
Benefit to Advertisers
Display Ads
Display advertising on Amazon websites, apps and devices, as well as sites not owned by Amazon.
Cost-effective display advertising across Amazon and non-Amazon sites.
Amazon DSP (demand-side-platform) Display Ads
Display advertising through Amazon DSP (demand-side-platform) to reach users via Amazon-owned inventory as well as sites not owned by Amazon. Includes custom segmentation and modeling with placement on websites, apps and devices.
Cost-effective display advertising tactic using Amazon’s first-party data to effectively reach target audiences.
Amazon Video Ads
15- or 30-second streaming over-the-top video ads served through Amazon demand-side-platform (DSP) across Prime Video, Fire TV and IMDb TV.
Engages users with video assets across a variety of platforms and devices.
Amazon DSP Video/Over-the-Top Television (OTT) Ads
15- or 30-second streaming over-the-top video ads served through Amazon demand-side-platform (DSP) across Prime Video, Fire TV and IMDb TV.
Engages users with video assets across streaming video platforms to reach non-traditional TV/video viewers.

As you consider tactics for your next campaign, evaluate all of the advertising options across the media landscape, including Amazon. However, while Amazon can provide your campaign with a variety of placements and depth, it should not stand alone. Every campaign should include more than one media tactic that can reach the target audience effectively, convey important messaging and essentially achieve the overall campaign goals.

Let us know how we can help integrate Amazon into your next media buy!

Sources:
[1] Digital Commerce 360, 82% of US households have an Amazon Prime membership, July 2019, available at: https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2019/07/11/82-of-us-households-have-a-amazon-prime-membership/

2 eMarketer, U.S. Digital Ad Spending Will Surpass Traditional in 2019, February 2019, available at: https://www.emarketer.com/content/us-digital-ad-spending-will-surpass-traditional-in-2019

Teri O'Neal

As a business owner, there’s a lot to think about these days amidst the COVID-19 virus pandemic sweeping across the world. For possibly the first time in a century, we all, together, stopped. Stopped going to school, seeing friends and family, enjoying live sports, travelling and unfortunately for some, working. We now only know an essential versus non-essential lifestyle. While businesses in both categories swiftly found solutions to modify goods and services, keeping the consumer, health and safety-first model a priority, many still face tough times as we all navigate the evolving landscape together.

At A. Bright Idea, one of our main core values focuses on flexibility. As a small business, we remain nimble to the needs of our clients, but more importantly during times like this, we show increased flexibility to the needs of our team, families and the communities we serve.

Within that same core value, we recognize the critical need to apply a proactive flexibility stance toward the future. When quarantine and stay at home orders wane, allowing people to return to work, school and normal activities, businesses small and large who start planning and investing in ways to stay relevant in the next phase now will see an easier transition when the time comes.

Here are five quick and easy tips to communicating your flexibility and proactive planning to audiences:

1. Send a personal message to your clients, partners, customers and friends letting them know how you’re doing, the decisions you made amid the crisis, words of encouragement and consultation. Sign it. Make sure it comes from you by using a personal email address. Don’t have a long email list? Mailing a note works too.
2. Leverage the power of social media and the increased digital impressions flooding the Internet to connect with consumers longing for that connection. Take the opportunity to teach people with tips and how-to posts or give advice. Share and comment on other content your audiences might find helpful. Respond to other’s posts and don’t forget to let the human element come through in your content. We’re not in a time of hard sales, but authentic connection does lead to top-of-mind relevance which can benefit sales in the future.
3. Depending on your goods and services offered, consider adapting an e-commerce option for your audience to use during this adjusted business environment. Consumers still want to make purchases and support businesses. Fortunately, getting an e-commerce function running is fairly easy with services like Shopify and Square which can seamlessly sync with your website. Your flexibility with this adjusted way to buy and interact could mean revenue build up!
4. All of this connection through personalized touchpoints, social media and e-commerce means your business website needs to appear up-to-date, eye-catching and easy to navigate. Now is a great time to tackle that website update you’ve continually put on the back burner. Consider the user experience. Look at other websites and find what you like. This does not need to mean a complete overhaul. Little tweaks can make a big difference. Just ask us – we’re constantly tweaking our site based on the needs and wants of our clients!
5. Budget for advertising! No, you don’t have to put money into advertising right now but come up with a tiered strategy that will help you launch into the next phase of business as we come out of the pandemic. Thinking about the strategy now, means you’ll be ready to put it into action when the time comes.

Trust us when we say we understand the endless thoughts and considerations that come with business management during a situation like COVID-19 but we remain encouraged ourselves by these tips to staying relevant and connected with our audiences at any time or phase. Just remember – flexibility and proactive planning. Plus, your ABI family is here to help in any way we can. You can find us on our cell phones, email and social whenever you need us!

Looking for more information about website design and features? Check out Website wisdom: The keys to a successful site.

Anita Brightman

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I reflect on my own journey. I feel our paths reveal themselves to us if we are open to any possibility. In 1996, I took a leap of faith and left my job with a large defense contractor, a comfortable position, to start A. Bright Idea. I took this risk because I wanted more control over my schedule and to advance my career at a quicker pace.

A new mother, I was scared to step out of my comfort zone, but knew I needed to do it.

Starting from scratch, I built ABI motivated by the voice in my head, saying, “I will not fail.”

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First, I made a plan and followed it. I needed to build a clientele. When things clicked, I worked to replicate and improve processes. When I encountered challenges, I looked for ways to improve, such as building checklists and refining processes to avoid future obstacles. The lessons I learned outside the confines of my comfort zone created the foundation of the A. Bright Idea way and guides how I work to this day. I continue to stay the course, keep my head down and keep marching. Working day by day, I forge ahead and persevere, striving to maximize my potential and create opportunity for others.

I did not set out on this journey with the intent of growing A. Bright Idea into a coast-to-coast, multi-office agency. But by building up my team with brilliant, capable people, something enduring was created. In all endeavors, especially creative ones, collaboration is key. Every day with our combined talents, the ABI team pushes through challenges and identifies opportunities to create innovative ways to support our clients, engage audiences and change conversations.

Directors of A. Bright Idea
Women of A. Bright Idea

The past and present power of the women in our industry, combined with collaboration and creativity, make a positive impact on our families, communities and workplaces. I look forward to all we can achieve and remain steadfast in my commitment to moving the industry forward, investing in the next generation as they create their paths and find their voices.

Anita A. Brightman, APR, Fellow PRSA



by Katie MacNichol

2020 also marks the 100th anniversary of the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore (AAFB). Established as the auxiliary to the men’s-only Advertising Club, the organization flourished thanks to a group of women who wanted their own voices heard amidst the growing advertising scene in burgeoning Baltimore. Just like A. Bright Idea, its creation came out of a desire to make an impact.

Over the last century, AAFB facilitated and connected communications and advertising experts spread out across the Baltimore market, creating and helping generations of professionals grow into the best in the industry.

Our industry relies on empowered team members who feel confident enough to share their ideas and mentors who are readily and enthusiastically willing to provide support.

Every day I see the amazing creative contributions of women in the field and think about the progress since AAFB’s founding. Just like those women who founded AAFB, Anita created a space for all of us to use our voices. Because of her experience starting ABI and the lessons she learned, we can truly make a difference.

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Katie Bouloubassis

Technology continues to play a large role in our lives, from serving as a resource for information to providing a quick and easy way to order groceries online.

To serve the increasing number of digital-savvy consumers in the current on-demand retail environment, companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon continue to develop technology to keep up with the wants and needs of the consumer, specifically through voice-assisted devices.

The origins of the voice assistant started with Apple when they introduced Siri on October 4, 2011. Several years later, Google unveiled Google Home, Microsoft rolled out Cortana and Amazon developed Alexa, flooding the market with new devices. By 2019, there were an estimated 3.25 billion voice assistants used across the world.1  The projected increase in digital voice assistants use is expected to increase from 2.5 billion in 2018 to over 88 billion by 2023.2

Advertisers can now reach the average consumer while they’re in-home or simply completing a voice search on their mobile devices. With expanding technology from top tech companies comes expanded opportunities for buyers to purchase goods or services and for advertisers to reach consumers through these devices.

A. Bright Idea recommends the following strategies for integrating voice assistants into your advertising strategies in 2020:

1. Follow the users

The top contenders, Amazon and Google reach most voice assistant users and capture the in-home audience.3 By purchasing advertising units through top companies as listed previously and various applications, such as Pandora, you are able to target specific consumers in real-time. Ads placed within relevant content resonates best with the target audience and ensures the call-to-action is heard.

2. Integrate into the overall plan

The voice assistant tactic should integrate seamlessly into the current audio or digital portion of the full advertising strategy. It is important from a creative standpoint to allow assets used to span across multiple tactics and mediums. Incorporating this tactic can also help reach a new audience not previously reached.

3. Tailor creative

A. Bright Idea recommends tailoring the creative not only to the audience but keeping the placement in mind as well. A. Bright Idea customized creative messaging for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day campaign using Pandora’s connected home placements. Using language specifically for the in-home listener, DEA’s messaging focused on taking an immediate action within the home to connect with audiences in the moment.

Moving forward and throughout 2020, advertisers can take full advantage of not only the voice assistants, but also other digital tech in development with top companies. The trend of voice assistants will increase while consumers will become less reliant on digital screens.2 While the ways to reach target audiences become more diverse, remember that the way advertisers utilize specific creative and placements help drive the success of the specific advertisement within the campaign.

Looking for more advertising expertise? Try this – Advertising in 2020 – The Digital Media Solution

Sources:
1 Statista, Number of digital voice assistants in use worldwide from 2019 to 2023 (in billions)*, November 2019, available at: https://www.statista.com/statistics/973815/worldwide-digital-voice-assistant-in-use/

2 Centro Institute, 20/20 on 2020 Trends and predictions for the future of marketing, September 2019

3 Voicebot.ai, Google Home Added 600,000 More U.S. Users in 2018 Than Amazon Echo, But Amazon Echo Dot is Still the Most Owned Smart Speaker, March 2019, available at: https://voicebot.ai/2019/03/07/google-home-added-600000-more-u-s-users-in-2018-than-amazon-echo-but-amazon-echo-dot-is-still-the-most-owned-smart-speaker/

Robyn Hicks

No matter what our age or profession, there are no rules when it comes to creativity. Creativity is a form of self-expression that gives us the opportunity and freedom to explore crazy ideas that pop into our heads. Being creative opens our minds to new ways of thinking and problem-solving. As children, we were encouraged to turn off technology and play, whether we were coloring with crayons, molding with Play-Doh, building forts out of sticks or just spending the day outside, we were having experiences, building memories and developing our character.

One of our favorite hands-on, creative projects for A. Bright Idea currently is a series called “Today’s A.” Initially conceptualized by several members of the A. Bright Idea team, it was Graphic Design Specialist, Robyn Koenig, who has overseen the growth of the project. “Today’s A” is an example of one of the creative agency’s many bright ideas, allowing members of the Visual team to break from their creative pursuits with a computer and mouse and let their imagination run free to fuel productivity and creativity in the workplace. Team members take turns creating different “A’s,” exploring various forms of lowercase or uppercase A’s and using different materials and techniques to create something physical instead of digital.

History of “Today’s A”

Two of the most recognizable brand elements of A. Bright Idea are the lightbulb and the “A.” Over the years, a lot has been done with the lightbulb. When the team was looking for something fun and creative for future content, they chose to focus on the “A,” which stands for the first initial of Founder and CEO, Anita Brightman. “Today’s A” allows members of the Visual team to dig deep into their creative minds to conjure up beautiful, inspiring and fun creative interpretations of the agency’s “A” logo.

“We’re always looking for new ways to show off our creativity,” said Koenig. “At the time when this was started, we were looking to develop some new social media content. We went outside and picked a bunch of flowers and leaves and nature-type things, came back inside, sketched a very loose, kind of handwritten calligraphic “A” and just had fun with it. We laid the flowers and the leaves out on the outline of the “A,” and that was it! Everyone really loved it and now it’s a hanging print inside of our Burbank office.”

Making an A

The idea for a “Today’s A” usually comes from inspiration on social media, in an industry publication or just from brainstorming with our team of creatives. A select team meets monthly to discuss and plan upcoming content strictly for the agency. It’s from those meetings the “Today’s A” ideas flow.

“One of my favorites is the Pinata A,” Koenig said. “We built it like a real, miniature piñata, but without the candy inside. Then there’s the one we recently created for Halloween – the Jack-O-Lantern carved ‘A.’ We have made them out of Play-Doh, wine corks, marshmallow Peeps and various other materials.”

Benefits of Creative Play

While it may seem like the team just likes playing with Play Doh and craft materials, the team has identified some solid benefits to the “Today’s A” creative exercise.

  1. Exercise – Using different creative muscles to have the freedom to do something in your way instead of trying to fitting within the confines of a brand style.
  2. Tactile – Working with your hands is beneficial for the creative process. For Koenig and others at the agency, joy comes from creating by hand, without the use of a computer. It’s satisfying to create something physical and then share your creation with others.
  3. Practice – “Today’s A” isn’t just a fun, creative exercise, it’s practice for when it’s time to really think creatively to hit deadlines and make a big impact with client work. It also helps the teamwork through problems and grow as creators. One of the biggest skills needed for being a creative, whether it’s a designer or filmmaker or writer, is problem-solving and finding a good creative solution.

The “Today’s A” creative has allowed for creative expression, as well as personal and professional growth. While “Today’s A” is specific to A. Bright Idea, the concept is one any creative individual or organization can attempt to help build culture at a company, work through a creative block, spark new ideas and exercise known skills and tap into new ones.

Do you see a benefit in our “Today’s A” that we missed? Is this something you might try? Send us an email or DM on social. We’d love to hear from you.

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Don’t miss another Today’s A on the ‘gram at @abrightidea.