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Branding Yourself for Business Bliss

5 Steps to Effective Self-Branding

Last week, I talked about finding time to brand your agency or self. (Branding Me: A Matter of Time) This week, I elaborate on self-branding by offering tips on how to compile a checklist for a small to medium-size agency’s and/or individual practitioner’s self-branding agenda.

To thine own brand be true.

As marketing communications professionals who are experts at branding others, the most difficult challenge we face is branding ourselves. Yes, it’s a given that in order to be successful, retain existing clients and secure new accounts we have to promote our achievements. However, quite frankly, when do we find the time?

We must find the time to self-brand; its essential and the key to ROI. The same rules of thumb that apply to branding our clients also apply to us. We just have to stay the course and create a bullet proof self-branding program that we can fit into our busy schedules..

Here are 5 Tips for Agency and/or Self-Practitioner Branding that should be on everybody’s checklist:

  1. Join Professional Organizations. There are numerous professional organizations in our line of work that tout our accomplishments, provide endorsements and the like such as Public Relations Society of America, the Advertising Association, Direct Marketing Association, Better Business Bureau.
Finding time to brand one's self is key to increasing ROI
Finding time to brand one’s self is key to increasing ROI
  1. Network, Network, Network! Attend professional organization events, meet-ups and client-category events.
  1. Showcase your Expertise. Seek out speaking conferences and panelist opportunities that reinforce your role as an expert in your field. No time? Write a guest blog or share your professional opinion on social media channels such as LinkedIn.
Membership in professional organizations can help elevate your profile.

4.  Gain Recognition in your Profession. Apply for awards in your category. There are many opportunities to be recognized in our field – whichever communications specialty you focus on.

5.  Promote Yourself! Capitalize on media interview opportunities as an expert in your field.

Winning a few awards doesn’t hurt either.

So, fellow marketers, these are just a few of the myriad of ways to jumpstart your branding of your agency or self. Have a wonderful Wednesday. As

Tags: #SelfBranding #marketing #advertising #PR

BY ABBE SPARKS

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.

ASMGROUP

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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

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.

ASMGROUP

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Sponsorships, Sizzle and Sales

Originally Posted February 19, 2015 in ABBE’S SPARKS FOR RFPALOOZA

 

Event and non-profit marketers know that their party is not complete unless they tie-in sponsors – whether for VIP gift bags, a much needed cash infusion or additional WOM and buzz.

Effective sponsorships are critical to event  success.
Effective use sponsorships are critical to event success

 

Sponsorship is an integral part of event marketing and can boost an event and brand. The larger the event the more the need for sponsorship. Title sponsorship is the top tier of the funding spectrum. This often involves specific benefits that will be advantageous for the sponsoring brand. Let’s face it. Nothing is free. Most event planners strive for multiple sponsors who can take advantage of a lower cost of entry in exchange for sharing the spotlight.

Scene Chicago knows how to make sponsorships happen.
Scene Chicago knows how to make sponsorships happen.

 

Scene-Chicago  is a perfect example of a local-level company that capitalizes on securing sponsorships for their events and non-profit benefits. Scene-Chicago was founded by D. Joshua Banks, a marketing and fund-raising  guru, with a history of successes. The programs he has developed have put Scene-Chicago on every local and national brands’ A-List for allocating sponsorship dollars.

Media sponsors are critical to the success of local events
Media sponsors are critical to the success of local events

 

 

Banks attributes Scene-Chicago’s success to their ability to attract high-profile sponsors such as 103.5 KISS FM Chicago, with morning show host, Angi Taylor, and TV’s Fox 32 Chicago, with evening news anchor, Dawn Hasbrouck.

In the afterglow of last week’s Grammy Awards and Stevie Wonder’s all-star tribute, I’d like to pay homage to one of my favorite Grammy sponsors.

Abbe Sparks and Lynn Orman Weis on the red carpet at the Grammys.
Abbe Sparks and Lynn Orman Weis on the red carpet at the Grammys.

 

Drum roll, please…and the award goes to – Mastercard and its ‘Priceless Surprises’ campaign. Who wouldn’t want to be the recipient of tickets to a Gwen Stefani concert or a designer handbag shot out of a cannon and dropped in front of you when you used your Mastercard and Apple Pay for a purchase? We were blown away by Mastercard’s campaign and found ourselves indirectly promoting them through our publicity and social media efforts for our client. Talk about the power of sponsorships!

Bottom line?  Event sponsorships pay off with Sparks, Sizzle and Sales for your brand.

P.S. –  MasterCard and Gwen Stefani you guys are the BEST!

Enjoy the week! –Abbe Sparks

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Share the Love with a Car and a Cause

 

Share the Love: A Car and a Cause

JANUARY 7, 2015

POSTED IN ABBES SPARKS @ RFPALOOZA.COM

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

ASMGROUP

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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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Pairing the Right Clothes and the Right Table

Pairing the Right Clothes and the Right Table

ABOUT the only time that food and clothing turn up together in ads is when detergents demonstrate their abilities to remove from one the stains made by the other. That is about to change as a food magazine and a clothing retailer join for an elaborate summer promotion.

The magazine is Bon Appétit, part of the Condé Nast Publications division of Advance Publications, and the retailer is Banana Republic, part of Gap Inc. It is, apparently, a coincidence that the retailer involved features a food in its name.

Those two brands are working together, along with OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation service, to promote a new apparel collection coming from Banana Republic called Desk to Dinner. The clothes, as the name suggests, are intended to be versatile enough to be worn from a day at the office to a night out to eat.