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Stealing Time to Self-Brand

Branding Me: A Matter of Time

Clients and Family First, What About Me, Me, Myself and I?  – Promoting Thyself or Thy Agency

To some, self-branding may be narcissistic, but it’s a vital tool in today’s economy.

Promoting and Branding yourself or your agency is essential to every marcom professional’s business –whether an individual practitioner oragency owner – from acquiring new accounts to retention to notoriety to return on investment. Yet, most often, the practice of marketing oneself or agency takes a back seat to existing clients’ needs, family matters, and professional, charitable and volunteer commitments.

The old adage – woman and children first, can be rephrased here to state “clients, family and charity first.” Case in point – this blog comes out, for the mostpart every Wednesday dependent on a variety of factors: my business, workload, etc. Today being Thursday, obviously I did not get to this blog. Reason being: client deadlines, writing a speech for my mother, my children’s travel plans now that college year is almost done, and the list goes on.

Sometimes there just aren't enough minutes in the day.
Sometimes there just aren’t enough minutes in the day.

For me, it is essential that I continue a steady stream of branding Abbe Sparks Media Group, Abbe Sparks and our clients, and this ‘Abbe’s Sparks’ blog. Due to the frustrations I encounter when I can’t get it all done, I thought I’d share a few tips on time-management when it comes to branding yourself or your company:

Early bird catches the news – Wake up an hour earlier in order to schedule social media postings that highlight your company or its endeavors for the day; check your inbox and make sure you share the relevant news with all.

• Steal Time – Try to block 15 minutes to a half hour during lunchtime to catch up on social media notifications, posts and updates. Or, use this free time (I know, what’s that, right?) to delve into your to do list of self-promotion items, such as award entry forms.

Nothing like a few endorphins to revitalize one's self.
Nothing like a few endorphins to revitalize one’s self.

• Play Time – All work and no play makes a burnt out executive. Make sure to get those endorphins going at the gym, socialize with friends or catch a movie to recharge your batteries.

• Night Owls – Sometimes, returning from a night out can be invigorating and allow you that second wind of creativity to apply to your self-promotion.

• Take Comfort – You are not alone, and eventually, will achieve success.

So fellow marketers, take a page from me as my sign off for this blog is usually have a wonderful Wednesday, but if I can’t get to writing it in time, it turns into have a terrific Thursday – and this week, it’s have a fabulous Friday and wonderful weekend. as


By Abbe Sparks

Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the founder of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.


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Share the Love with a Car and a Cause


Share the Love: A Car and a Cause

JANUARY 7, 2015


The inspiration for today’s blog post comes from my personal car shopping experience in December 2014. Brands and charities forging marketing partnerships is commonplace today, and the auto industry is in the forefront of this trend.

The end of year is the optimal time to purchase an automobile — every car brand offers huge incentives to unload its 2014 stock. For the past several years, we have seen an increase in car promotions tied to charitable messaging. When automakers promote these tie-ins with national TV, radio, print and digital and then further supplemented by the dealers adding local incentives, it amplifies the awareness and makes the consumer’s purchase decision an easy one.

In today’s socially conscious society, ‘power to the people’ has become the marketing norm — giving the consumer some power in social choice and engagement.  I am not the only recent car buyer who can say the tie-breaker in my decision came down to a charitable tie-in.

This holiday season, Subaru gave buyers the choice of 4 charities.

This year, Subaru partnered with four national charities. Its “Share the Love” campaign runs through December each year, giving $250 per purchase to one of  four charities chosen by the buyer. 2014’s list included the ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals On Wheels Association of America, and the National Park Foundation. Subaru promotes the event with a national TV and digital ad campaign and individual dealers  can  tie-in with local charities as well.  The auto company estimates $15 million will be donated by the end of the year and $50 million during the seven year life of the seasonal campaign.

A charity tie-in helped many an auto dealer ring the new year in!
A charity tie-in helped many an auto dealer ring the new year in!

According to new data from  the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and Ally Financial Dealers, auto dealers continue to increase their level of giving to charitable causes. As leaders in their communities, auto dealers’ see the value of giving back. More than 70 percent of new-car dealers surveyed said they increased their charitable giving in 2014, up from 65 percent last year.

FREI2_a86320285015100581ae00146efa6b30Family-owned Frei Chevrolet is among the oldest Marquette, MI auto dealers, serving the Upper Peninsula since the 1920s. This past holiday season, each time a consumer shared and forwarded its e-greeting card electronically, Frei Chevy made a donation from $.50 up to $1,500 to the United Way of Marquette County, a community collaboration to provide health, education, and social service needs to county citizens through charitable gifts of money, time and goods.

In 2015, promoting your client’s brand with love for a cause will continue to play an important role in positive ROI and endearing customers. The company that values connection and integration with society and puta their brand to good use in promoting wonderful social causes is a winner in my book. Have a wonderful Wednesday. – as


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Get Appy This Winter Season

Appy Holidays!

ABBE’s SPARKS Weekly Blog for RFPalooza

The holidays are a time to help others. The best promotions do the same. As I write today’s blog entry from frozen Chicago where the high is 18 degrees, I can’t help but crave warmth via a burning fire, or hot soup and Chai Tea to fend off a guaranteed cold or illness. Enter a brilliant promotional partnership that uses technology to address my very same craving with a clever helpful offer to boost existing users frequency and attain new users.
Here is one of the best examples of using technology and partnering for a seasonal promotional campaign:

This holiday season, Uber launched an uber-clever promotion.

Uber and Vaccine Finder : The ridesharing service pilot program called UBER HEALTH offered a one-day promotion in select cities to help existing and potential new users from getting the flu this season.

The Promotion — UberHEALTH offered free flu prevention packs and flu shots On Demand. Together with Vaccine Finder, they offered to help consumers stay healthy this season.


Technology to the rescue.


Uber users could request this service within their Uber app. When the Uber car arrives (complete with a registered nurse aboard), users receive a flu prevention pack and have the option to request  flu shots from the nurse for up to 10 people – all at no cost.

Slogan: Stay healthy and Uber on!

The winter season and holidays can be stressful for everyone, particularly your clients. Promoting their brands for a successful and profitable winter doesn’t have to be difficult. The caveat for informed, health-minded consumers — brands can’t just do social good; they have to be good.

With a little extra effort, you can see big results that will let you end the year on a high and healthy note. Have a wonderful Wednesday.


    By Abbe Sparks

    Abbe Silverberg Sparks is the principal of Abbe Sparks Media Group (, a boutique communications firm specializing in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special events planning.


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RFPalooza to Debut Abbe’s Sparks New Weekly Blog Post

RFPalooza will debut Abbe’s Sparks new weekly blog post in its Newsroom on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.   The Newsroom features the latest developments in Tech Innovation + New Biz Curated Especially for Small + Medium-Sized Agencies.  Stay tuned til tomorrow.

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Big Companies Are Adapting to Social Media Marketing

Big Companies Are Adapting to Social Media Marketing

From Shutterstock

More large companies are using social media to promote their brand online, according to a report from the Center for Marketing Research (CMR) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. That’s quite a change from last year’s report, which found use of social media at big companies waning.

The newest report, titled Social Media Surge by the 2012 Fortune 500, reveals that large companies are increasingly adopting the same social media tools that have been used extensively for years by smaller businesses and startups.

Social media engagement has long taken a back seat in the eyes of many big companies, and last year’s CMR report demonstrated a stall in adoption by all but the most progressive large companies. At that time I suggested that the big corporations could be rightly accused of neglect when it came to taking advantage of such valuable marketing tools.

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Is Your Brand Ready For ‘Generation S’ (Screen)?

Is Your Brand Ready For ‘Generation S’ (Screen)?

Successful Brands Will Go to Where the Kids Are — Touch Screens

By: , AdAge DIGITAL Published: August 10, 2012

Every generation experiences advances in technology that change people’s lives and expectations; children are almost always born into a different technological world than were their parents. This is particularly true when it comes to how they discover, consume and share content and information.

Children born in the last three to five years are what I call “Gen S,” or “Generation Screen.” They came on the scene during one of the most significant technological revolutions in the digital age. According to NPD, 27% of all TVs shipped in the first quarter of 2012 (almost 14 million) were internet-ready. Gartner estimates there will be almost 60 million tablets sold this year, doubling total users. And, Goldman Sachs estimates almost 2 billion smartphones will be sold this year around the globe.

These youngsters are growing up in a world where screens are used for everything from entertainment, communication, education, shopping and transacting. It makes the world much smaller and more accessible — and at virtually any time, on demand.

Who is Gen S?
Gen S will never know a world without screens, without being connected, without touch and swipe, or gesture control, or without cameras to capture, interact, share and connect with others, instantly. We’ve all witnessed toddlers navigating a smartphone or iPad better than we can, or swiping a TV or laptop screen expecting it to react to their touch, only to be dismayed. The keyboard and mouse are foreign to them, and soon may be remote controls. Will wallets, credit cards or even cash have any purpose for them a few years from now?

How will marketers, brands, retailers and publishers stay relevant to this audience that expects to transact nearly everything on a touch screen?…