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.

Eric Bach

Advertisers have successfully employed the use of voiceovers to command audiences for decades but getting it right takes research, planning and creativity. In producing a commercial or video collateral for your business, give the voiceover some serious thought before moving forward with the creative execution of your marketing.

Voiceovers provide the perfect opportunity to share messaging while controlling tone and guiding the emotional reception of your campaign. In fact, actual science exists behind why you might want to take your voiceover in a certain direction. For example, Phil McAleer, a psychologist at the University of Glasgow, Scotland, uncovered that we begin forming our impression of a person’s personality from their very first spoken word and that we deem higher pitched voices more trustworthy[1]. This research, along with similar findings, can shape the effectiveness of a voiceover and take your marketing from notable to unforgettable.

To help navigate the voiceover process, we’ve gathered a few tips to keep in mind as you craft the perfect campaign.


1. Consider your audience and test, test, test!
As with all marketing and advertising, put your audience first. Consider what type of voice would resonate most with your target market and compile a list of appropriate voice artists. Have your talent provide audition reels and test the different assets against one another in a controlled environment. Reflect on what has worked for your competitors and improve on that model. This could mean going in a completely different direction, but testing will ensure your audience relates to whichever voice you decide on.

2. Keep voice quality in mind and pick a clear emotional direction.

Waveforms show voice amplitude and moments of silence.

Once you’ve picked a voice artist that appeals to your audience, consider the cadence, tone and diction necessary to effectively share your message. A skilled voice artist exhibits control over his or her voice, altering the delivery of copy based on the emotion you want to elicit from your audience. Make sure you’ve chosen a voice artist who not only has a great, natural quality to his or her voice, but that he or she can also convey a message convincingly and authentically to your audience.

3. Be consistent and think long-term.
A successful advertising campaign relies, in part, on the frequency at which your message reaches your target audience. Establishing retention within a market depends on the repetition of messaging. This applies to voiceovers, too. When picking a voiceover artist, decide on someone who can deliver a variety of messages for the brand. Staying consistent with a voice artist throughout the life of a campaign builds trust and triggers auditory recognition that recalls unique brand characteristics without having to explicitly remind audiences.

4. Make sure you’ve got a great script.
Even the best voice actors can’t make a weak script deliver results. An effective voiceover depends upon a well-developed script. So, after you’ve written your voiceover copy, read it aloud, paying attention to the rhythm and flow of the delivery. A word or phrase might look great on paper but sound terrible to the ear. Keep your script clear and creative, and whatever your campaign goal may be, make sure your copy speaks to the action or feeling you want to encourage.


Developing effective and interesting voiceover to complement your campaign visuals often proves daunting, but with proper planning and testing, you can root your marketing efforts in strategy. Monitor the success of your campaign and evaluate how your creative assets resonate with larger audiences. There’s always room for further perfecting efforts, so stay open to switching directions.

Tell us about an effective voiceover experience you’ve executed, or better yet send us a link and let us hear it!
[1] http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/05/05/308349318/you-had-me-at-hello-the-science-behind-first-impressions

Cari Ashkin

As business professionals, we’ve heard it said time and time again: “It’s all about relationships,” however, relationships do not grow overnight. There are steps to take and responsibilities to fulfill before anything can flourish.

Putting forth effort to not only go above and beyond for client work, but for the client themselves, makes the difference between a one-time project and a long-standing business relationship. Going the extra mile to get to know your clients, when done consistently and genuinely, not only serves as a recognizable piece of your brand, it becomes your brand.

At A. Bright Idea, we believe in the power of doing “a little bit more,” consistently over delivering for our clients. At our annual team-building summit, we discussed how pushing every project, just a little bit further, leads our team – and the client – to even greater success. As a result, our team identified five easy-to-apply ways to help flourish your client relationships.


1. Take meetings off site
Every now and then, invite your client to a working lunch meeting or coffee. This opens a window of opportunity to get to know your client on a more personal level while also staying productive. Environment plays a critical role in someone’s willingness to engage more freely, and you’d find it surprising how relocating to an informal, comfortable setting can enhance your overall working relationship.

2. Invite casual conversation
In general, we feel less likely to share personal information if we don’t think someone is interested in hearing about it. Shift the focus of your next touchpoint to demonstrate you care about building a relationship. Adjust your opening in an email or conference call from, “I hope you had a nice weekend,” to “Betty, how was your weekend?” This simple but significant strategy tells the client you’re interested in more than the business tasking and gives you insight, connecting on a more personal level.

3. Stay social
Begin with a LinkedIn connection – the business version of Facebook. Stay up-to-date with client’s important milestones, including work anniversaries and recognitions, and engage with likes, comments or congratulatory messages. Take it one step further and do “a little bit more” by endorsing the skills listed on the client’s page or write up a personal recommendation. These acknowledgments go above and beyond to further build the connection.

4. Pick up the phone
In a digital world, it’s easy to get lost behind the screen in email. If you need to touch base with your client, make an effort to pick up the phone and call—nothing beats talking directly for clear communication. Going out of your way to make a connection can only improve strong working relationships.

5. Dive into their industry
Make an effort to stay aware of your client’s industry. Share related videos, news clips or events of interest when applicable even if it doesn’t relate to the project you’re currently working on. This not only demonstrates your expertise, but highlights your willingness to go above and beyond for their success, ultimately paying dividends in your overall relationship.


While some of these tips speak to client-facing relationships, everyone at the organization is a representative and their role in supporting these strategies further positions a business for continued relationship growth.

Shawn Nesaw

Instagram remains one of the fastest growing social media platforms with over 700 million active users. With its ever-changing features, it’s difficult to remain up-to-date on how to effectively use Instagram to complement your business’s overall marketing strategy.

At its core, Instagram is a visual platform. It offers your business an opportunity to present itself in a purely visual manner. Yes, the platform offers captions, hashtags (more on how to use those later), and tags but they are in place to support the photographic message.

When using Instagram, use the following:

A consistent, brand voice is essential for using Instagram. Your audience, especially on Instagram, seeks an understanding of your business’s “personality.” Develop content reflective of your business, but also specific to the platform. Your followers on Instagram will likely vary from those on LinkedIn. With that said, don’t shy away from distributing the same content across several platforms, but give each one its own voice.
Hashtags serve as a great way to reach more people with your content. Instagram users frequently search trending hashtags to discover new content so sprinkle a few hashtags in your posts. While sometimes overused, we recommend, based on our own success rates, between four and seven hashtags. Ultimately, let the content of the post dictate the type and number of hashtags.
Your Photo Feed
Good quality photos make all the difference on Instagram. It’s the platform for beautiful photos, and users know it. That said, while most businesses may not have a professional photographer at their disposal 24/7, it’s still possible to create a compelling Instagram feed. Take photos that represent the brand best and keep it consistent. Make sure all of your photos, professional or amateur, have a cohesive look by using a uniform filter on all of your photos. There is nothing more beautiful than a consistent feed! Case and point: @laurenconrad.
Also, check out Eric Bach’s blog, The Language of Light: How Light Alters Perception, for some tips on how to improve those Instagram photos!

Use stories to share in-the-moment and behind-the-scenes content. This strategy provides another opportunity for your followers to get to know your company’s personality and day-to-day. Get creative with your stories – post a series of videos to create a short storyline or a fun boomerang.
The discover tab gives users, and your potential followers, access to a pool of relevant content based on their existing followers and other Instagram activity. On the flip side, the discover tab provides a resource for your business. Scroll through this panel to see what competitors do on Instagram, and how your followers engage with other accounts to tweak your approach. The discover tab also allows you to find and engage with people who don’t follow your brand. By searching hashtags relevant to your business, you can find users and engage with them.
Carousel Photos
As one of Instagram’s newer features, the carousel photo feature allows users to post multiple images in one post. Strategically order your photos; display your strongest, most compelling photo first, followed by supporting images. Or, use the left/right swipes to create a larger, continuous image, like @subway.

Jump-start your business’ Instagram presence by following some of these tips and tricks. Stay tuned to the A. Bright Idea blog for more advice on how to keep your social media presence on brand, relevant and an integral part of your overall communications strategy.

Megan Olson

Marketers always look for new and exciting ways to reach their customers and grow their brand. In recent years, while digital advertising has seen steady growth, standing out from the din of every other advertisement out there can be a challenge.

For businesses looking to target audiences towards the bottom of the sales funnel, converting interests into sales, podcast advertising might be a worthwhile option as part of a strategic advertising effort. Podcasts target a niche, captive audience to which a brand can push its product or service directly into the ears of listeners interested in first, the podcast content, and second, products or services that meet a need and/or match the content of the show.

Any effective advertising campaign works through the sales funnel to figure out where customers are along their buying journey and how to get them to convert while spending as little as possible per conversion. TV, radio and digital ads all play important roles throughout the sales funnel from building awareness and interest to conversions. The old saying, never put all your eggs in one basket, holds true in advertising. Use podcasts in conjunction with other mediums to ensure your brand hits a wide range of people in the funnel.


As podcasts continue to grow as an important and worthwhile medium for marketers and brands, businesses must understand what makes a podcast advertisement unique. Once you’ve gained a better understanding of the medium, consider if your business and podcasts are right for each other.

Here’s what you need to know about podcasts before adding the tool to your advertising strategy.

  1. Trusted voice – If there’s one thing podcast listeners have in common, it’s their trust in the host. Podcast hosts fall into the influencer category. The audience views podcast hosts as experts and their shows are a manifestation of their interests and expertise. By creating engaging content audiences come back for repeatedly, they build an audience that genuinely trusts them. It’s that trust that plays well for advertisers. Most ads use live reads, delivered directly by the host at the beginning (pre-roll) or midway (mid-roll) through the show. Live reads, similar to radio, come across like a recommendation from a friend with an authentic feel. Considering your audience, find podcasts/hosts that pair well with your product or service. If their show, voice and audience all match your organization’s brand and target audience, you’ve found a good fit.
  2. The product/service – If you want to advertise on podcasts, you need a product with a broad user base. This is due to the fact that podcasts have a fairly wide range of demographics in their audience. Ads for essentials like underwear, razors, beds and other products are the norm on podcasts because just about everyone uses them. Pairing the right product with the right audience allows the brand to reach more potential customers. A podcast framed around exercise, with a core audience of health enthusiasts, is more likely to advertise jump ropes, foam rollers and Whey protein than it would a new brand of coffee or an online flower delivery service.
  3. A special offer – It’s true, sometimes you just can’t pass up a sale. Podcast ads not only win over audiences with trusted recommendations and useful products, but they almost always tack on a special offer code at checkout. Brands will offer podcast listeners an even deeper discount to further entice on-the-fence buyers.

Podcasts have risen in popularity over the past decade, gaining the attention of brands and marketers who happily fill the podcast niche with quality ads reaching dedicated audiences, something difficult to come by these days. Consider adding this strategy to your marketing toolbox when the brand, audience and budget match up with what podcasts have to offer.

Shawn Nesaw

Today, social media is a critical component of the marketing strategy for most businesses. This phenomenon shouldn’t be surprising, as more than 50 million active small business pages exist (Brandwatch.com) on Facebook alone. While there is nothing our social media experts love more than to see businesses grasp the powerful nature of a social media presence, balance is key. When overindulging, it’s easy to spread your content thin across several channels.

The saying “jack of all trades, master of none,” accurately describes this craze. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) create four to five social media accounts with the thought, “If I’m on these social media platforms, I’ll have more opportunity to communicate to our audience.” While a presence on more social channels does provide SMBs increased audience exposure opportunities, maintaining a legitimate presence on each platform is a two-way street. If SMBs publish content frequently but fall short when it comes time to respond and engage audiences past the initial post, audiences will look elsewhere for content.

All too often when a new social media platform hits the market, the first thought is to immediately engage. It’s the “shiny new toy” effect of which Snapchat illustrates best. Many SMB’s who target younger audiences thought Snapchat would be the right channel and for some it was, but for most, it wasn’t. Snapchat takes time to learn, produce content and grow an audience. Yes, Snapchat is great for targeting a younger demographic, but if the SMB doesn’t have a Snapchat strategic plan in place, Snapchat isn’t going to necessarily work.

Whether it’s Snapchat, Instagram or even Facebook, SMBs should look at their goals and think strategically. Consider the following criteria when selecting the appropriate channel:

  • Does the channel help meet communication goals?
  • Does your business have the capacity to produce the necessary content to effectively reach the audience?
  • Will you be able to reach and engage your audience on this channel?
  • Do you have a real reason for being part of that social community?

If you answered “yes” to the above criteria, then the social channel in question might be a good fit for your business.
The last thing you want to do is make a semi-enthusiastic commitment to a channel, which ultimately becomes just a waste of time and resources, two things no business can afford. The truth of the matter is, it’s not necessary to be on every social channel.
Before diving in, here’s what you need to know about each social channel.

After considering those two channels, we recommend the following social channels after careful consideration of the target audience, brand goals and ability to maintain the channel. Use the descriptions below to help guide you towards the social channels that work best.

Social media shouldn’t be a struggle; it should be fun. It’s where you get an opportunity to talk about your brand, show people who you are and engage audiences you may have otherwise missed. Building your brand on social media is crucial for success in today’s marketplace so choose the social channels that meet your business goals.

Tell us how you engage your audiences through social media by commenting below or engage with us on social media. Let’s start the conversation.

Sources: Social Media Today and Hootsuite

Teri O'Neal

No one likes to think about the worst. Crisis communication planning remains a topic that many businesses and organizations would rather not think about when it is not needed. At its core, the perception of crisis communications screams negativity and causes people to think about catastrophic disasters. The response for most, albeit the wrong answer, typically is to bury one’s head in the sand.

However, crisis communications boils down to two basic principles: adequate planning and building relationships. Three mantras in a crisis all surround the plan and the people: prepare for the worst, hope for the best and expect the unexpected.

Prepare for the worst

  1. Know and understand your business and any possible threats against it.
  2. Develop relationships with those media and organizational allies, which could assist you in an emergency.
  3. Identify the spokespeople, who will control the message during a crisis.
  4. Prepare your virtual “go bag.” Gather all social media and website password and logins, as well as any standard operating procedures for efficiency in a crisis.

Hope for the best

  1. Develop the key messaging necessary to allow spokespeople and staff to speak with one voice about the company, accentuating the positive and allowing potentially negative questions to circle back to a key message.
  2. Train your staff on delivering exceptional interviews and teaching the concept of bridging and redirection. This can benefit your organization in good times and bad.
  3. Build trust by ensuring you circle the wagons immediately during a crisis to allow your internal audience, the staff, know they remain the priority.

Expect the unexpected

  1. Remain flexible in your plan to allow for quick-turn changes. A crisis rarely looks the same twice, so leave room in your plan to adjust, when needed.
  2. Anticipate a fluid situation, which often lasts longer than expected. Back up your plans to allow for a longer situation. Avoid burnout, if possible!
  3. During a crisis, communicate early and often. If you leave a void, expect your adversaries to fill it.

Post-event evaluation remains an essential main component of a solid crisis communications plan, though often is the component left undone. The evaluation plan is usually placed boldly at the end of the plan awaiting execution. Most practitioners and business owners, ready to put the negative event behind them, avoid it like the plague.

Ideally, conducting a hot wash of the event and the application of the plan immediately following the event leads to key adjustments to improve the execution. Take the time to assemble the team, even the external partners, if possible, to discuss the execution and brainstorm ideas to make it better for the future.

Our work with clients allows us to assist in planning for the unknown and developing key relationships with people and organizations, which ultimately leads to better responses during a negative event while managing crisis PR effectively.

Kristie Sheppard

Marketing your small winery can seem overwhelming and challenging, especially for those small shops with just one, or maybe a few employees. During harvest, there is never enough time to even think about marketing, and by the time you get everything else done from, bottling to distribution, it’s almost harvest again! However, you know creative and customer-focused marketing is critical to the success of your winery.

Adding a few simple tools to your marketing toolbox can assist in strategically and successfully promoting your wine brand. Even a minimal time investment pays huge dividends with the following tips.

  1. Know your audience. Defining your target audience is the first step in effective marketing. Keep in mind your audience is much larger than just wine drinkers. Analyze and organize your current customer base by categories, such as millennials, baby boomers, women or wine drinkers who are new to enjoying wine.
  2. Define your message. Determine a key message to connect your brand with each group of ideal customers. The message should be clear, direct and consistently used so it resonates with potential customers. For example, if your millennial audience group is interested in scores from Parker, make sure your messaging includes your recent ratings. Key messages help tell your story to compel your audience to take action.
  3. Get to know the media. Sending a press release about your upcoming winemaker dinner to the local food and wine critic without building a relationship with him/her will appear self-serving and may get pushed aside. Build a relationship with wine writers and influencers. Read their stories, engage with them on social media platforms and share their stories. Are you getting ready to promote a new wine and want some press? Invite the writer to a private tasting before the release to allow for personalized face time. Prepare materials in advance to make packaging the story easy for the reporter; include photos, content and potential alternate interview contacts.
  4. Engage on social media. Social media used to be about likes and followers. Now, engagement determines success- how many people, when they see your Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram post, actually like, share, or comment on that post. Engagement is a two-way conversation. The best way to get engagement is to give some as well. Scrolling through your social media feeds for 10 -15 minutes per day looking for like-minded brands, wine influencers and your customers so you can comment, like and share their posts, will show your investment in the industry. Social interaction creates an awareness of your brand with audiences, who may become followers or customers. Social engagement will keep you in the minds of your customers and strengthen your consumer-producer relationship. Wineries can be hesitant to post on social media because of the Federal Trade Commission laws on advertising to minors, but with advances in data collection on most of the major platforms, you can confidently and legally promote your brand.
  5. Kieran Robinson Wines’ Sparkling Brigade is eye catching and meaningful.

    Let the label tell the brand’s story. If your wine is in retail shops or on display at a restaurant, the packaging is your most valuable asset. You need a label that stands out from the crowd, but also represents your brand and identity. Make sure your key message is translated into the label through visuals or text.
  6. Utilize influencers. Invite top wine influencers to a tasting. Engage with them on social media. Meg Maker, Amy Lieberfarb, Jancis Robinson, Jon Thorson and Antonio Galloni are just a few, but like we mention in Tip #1, do your research to make sure chosen influencers are appropriate for your brand.
  7. Participate in tasting events. For most small producers, providing complimentary cases and cases of wine to a special event may put a big dent in your potential sales, but don’t underestimate the value of attending these events. Yes, you will definitely get quite a few people who are attending the event just to get intoxicated. You will also get serious wine drinkers and media. Many tasting events host a trade/media hour prior to the general public. This is your opportunity to meet media face-to-face and make a lasting impression. Do your research about tasting opportunities. Find out what reporters and influencers have attended in the past. Ask fellow wineries if they have participated and what their thoughts are.

These cost-effective and simple tips will be the start to successfully marketing your winery. We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about wine marketing. Comment or share on social media and tag A. Bright Idea so we can reply!