Latest News RFPalooza

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

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.


Latest News RFPalooza

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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NADP Names Abbe Silverberg Sparks a Distinguished Professional

Honored. Abbe Silverberg Sparks Named by NADP as a Distinguished Professional in her Field

Sparks to be featured in upcoming 2015 issue of NADP’s Woman of Distinction Magazine


New York, NY — “I am humbled and thrilled to be named by the National Association of Distinguished Professionals (NADP) as a Distinguished professional in my field.”  It is an honor I hold very dear.  In addition, I will be featured in an upcoming 2015 issue of NADP’s Woman of Distinction magazine. As a communicator for others, I’m truly not use to promoting myself, but in this instance – I will try.  I hope my colleagues, partners,   strategic alliance co-horts in marcom crime, friends and family will greatly assist me with this task.

Stay tuned as a publication date is announced. Best guess is the Fall issue 2015.  I consider this honor a collective effort  of all my mentors, colleagues, clients, friends and family who how have  helped me to achieve this honor along the way, thus far.  Always in Sparks! — Abbe




Latest News RFPalooza

Digital Luxury is a Diamond Gal’s Best Friend

Sitting in the Lap of Digital Luxury – A Jewelers Tale

Luxury brands and their customers are a very discriminating and exclusive breed. In the ever-changing digital world, effective luxury marketers  need  to be on top of their technology game as well as consumer trends across all generations, especially in the high-end private jewelry industry.

Luxury goods marketers are going digital!


For successful independent private jewelers, the digital age and social media marketing have opened up a whole new diamond star-studded world! For the top luxury jewelry brands and retail stores, traditional marketing avenues still are heavily prevalent but are now coupled with social media marketing and e-commerce. The successful independent luxury brand jewelers, who have always relied on word of mouth marketing and referrals for their clientele, the digital age has brought new opportunities.

According to a recent article by Luxury Daily: 61% of all affluent consumers said technology had allowed them to make more purchases, while 65% said it was changing the way they shop with luxury brands. For a private brand, these stats are very telling in their favor. Based on my queries plus my own past client experience, it’s very common for a client to scour the internet, visit several jewelry stores, thumb through many magazine ads before they come to a private jeweler to purchase a gem and create their own bauble.

Take it from Diamond Deb, Digital Drives Diamonds.


Private jeweler Conrad London Jewels, LTD. founder Debra Lynn Harris, a/k/a Diamond Deb, is one private luxury brand that has capitalized with the digitization of marketing.

Founded in 1978, Diamond Deb and her company have the diamond blueprint for keeping up with the evolving times and turning customers into happy repeat buyers. Word of mouth marketing and referrals have always been Diamond Deb’s best method of securing clients across the globe. Social media has definitely played a huge role in reinforcing the WOM messaging and reputation of Conrad London Jewel’s inventory, quality and supreme customer service. Yet, Diamond Deb, herself, explains that “It’s truly a referral-based business – it was in 1978, and remains so today.”

Facebook has been a real game-changer for Conrad London Jewels


It definitely helps if your independent luxury brand client is visible in the public’s eye, especially when referrals are key. Diamond Deb is a people person and applies her personal passions to her business networking. On a recent out of state travel to attend a music concert, she connected with a famous headlining musician who in turn, purchased an engagement ring through her. In fact, today, she is in Colorado to meet with same client, who is purchasing a few more gems for his now wife.

Social media channels and new tech tools play a key role in today’s contemporary luxury marketing world, especially during gifting holidays like Mother’s Day. “Facebook has definitely increased my sales in the past few years; it truly has paid off,” says Debra Lynn Harris.

Don’t let the market pass you by. Go digital!


How do private luxury brands compete against the big stores? Easily. Significantly less overhead is the secret to being able to charge a customer a fraction of what the luxury retailers would. “Every savings is passed on to my client, while providing exceptional quality and service,” says Diamond Deb.

As the younger generations grow into affluent consumers. luxury marketers will be increasingly utilizing digital and social media to connect their products with the right consumers. So marketers – make sure to keep your brands in the lap of digital luxury! Have a marvelous Monday. as


Tags: #luxury #jewelry #digital marketing #social media


Latest News Nonprofit Events

Crowdfunding + Social Media for Non-Profits

  • Originally posted IN ‘ABBES SPARKS at BY ROGER CHIOCCHI ON OCTOBER 29, 2014

    Crowdfunding campaigns are now an essential tool in the fundraising arsenal to get a project or company off the concept stage and into launch mode. The success of a crowdfunding campaign is largely dependent on how it is marketed; social media marketing and strategic targeting to the appropriate audiences are key factors in reaching a campaign’s funding goal. In today’s economy and with a crowded playing field, it has become increasingly difficult for fundraisers to attract potential donor. As a result, we have seen a steady increase in crowdfunding sites such as gofundme, KICKSTARTER, indiegogo and causes, which have caught on to savvy funding strategists, non-profit organizations, start-up businesses, cause/health initiatives and artistic and scientific projects, to name a few. ‘IF YOU CREATE IT, THEY REALLY WILL COME.’  


    Case in point #1: The importance of social media and strategic targeting in raising funds is evident in the multitude of conferences, articles and worldwide attention to social good that exists today. As I write this blog entry, I am at one of several Social Media for Non-Profits conferences being held around the country in 2014 & 2015. Today, I am being inspired at its Chicago conference featuring some of the country’s top experts in the social media and non-profit marketing arena. #SM4NP @SM4Nonprofits #socialmedia #fundraising #nonprofits #marketing #charitablegiving.

    This play about suicide-awareness was crowdfunded via social media.

    Case in point #2: Boulder Story Healers, a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, a nonprofit charity under Section 501(c)3, set out to raise funds to produce and tour the production of its two person autobiographical musical play “A Day For Grace (ADFG) — which raises suicide awareness — by utilizing the crowdfunding site indiegogo. The needs: raise funds for the tour and its promotion. In addition to traditional fundraising practices to raise awareness for its campaign, such as partnering with other like-minded organizations and hosting special event performances, the ADFG team utilized indiegogo campaign to simultaneously raise funds and maximize its promotion of the show and its message. Targets: #theatre #suicideawareness #music #recovery #nonprofits #drama.


    The Social Media for Non-Profits Conference in Chicago

    Today, clients can seek funding for nearly everything from social good causes to documentaries to t-shirt manufacturing. There are a myriad of crowdfunding sites an organization can utilize to assist them in their fundraising efforts. According to,the top five sites are gofundme, KICKSTARTER, indiegogo, tspring and causes.

  • So, maximize your client’s crowdfunding initiatives through social media marketing and strategic targeting to achieve success and their funding goal, attract new donors and retain existing. 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.

    Read more blog posts by Abbe Sparks at


Latest News

Changing the World One Empowering Social Media Post at a Time

Abbe Silverberg Sparks Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group
Abbe Silverberg Sparks
Principal, Abbe Sparks Media OrGroup

Originally posted in ABBE’S SPARKS for

Empowering social media marketing can greatly affect change for social good initiatives. The inspiration for this week’s blog comes while in NYC at The 2014 Social Good Summit #2030NOW. There are many forms of social good and good in general;  even more marcom vehicles at our disposal to heighten awareness. The true essence of social media marketing is when we can affect positive change –-whether it’s by creating word of mouth buzz, going viral with our empowering social media posts or causing trends. Let’s start with “good in general.”

Click below or on title to read more:

Changing the World One Empowering Social Media Post at a Time

Latest News

Powerful Messaging and Passion are Keys to Successful MarCom Campaigns

Originally posted in RFPalooza Other Stuff, Our Bloggers, Abbe’s Sparks


We are thrilled to share a new weekly blog post by Abbe Sparks Media Group principal, Abbe Sparks in RFPalooza’s Newsroom that appears every Wednesday, beginning today, September 16, 2014.  The blog title is simply called ‘ABBE’S SPARKS and offers her expertise and thoughts on all things marketing communications and social media marketing  Read the inaugural blog post below:

AbbeSparks_2 (1)


Abbe Silverberg Sparks Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group
Abbe Silverberg Sparks
Principal, Abbe Sparks Media Group





Powerful Messaging and Passion are Keys to Successful MarCom Campaigns

Powerful messaging and passion for our business and for our clients are keys to successful marcom campaigns – whether it is creating word of mouth marketing, grabbing maximum attention/awareness, raising funds, or attracting customers/consumers.

click on title or below link for full story.

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Sparks Ignite with Formation of Abbe Sparks Media Group

Sparks ignite with formation of Abbe Sparks Media Group

New York/Chicago, September 11, 2014 — Sparks ignite with the formation of Abbe Sparks Media Group, created to best reflect the true nature of capabilities and services offered by Abbe Sparks, principal of Abbe Sparks Media Relations, LLC. Effective immediately, Abbe Sparks Media Group will serve as the umbrella company of the boutique communications firm, which specializes in media relations, cause and social media marketing, branding and special event planning. Abbe Sparks Media Group will absorb Abbe Sparks Media Relations as a subsidiary, joining its other strategic alliances: FiredUp Communications, WebRankOne, and FaceBooth TV. Abbe Sparks Media Group has offices in Chicago and New York City, with virtual teams in New York, Denver and Los Angeles representing all sectors of the country.

Reflecting this structural shift comes a new url: and email address:

Orman Music & Media Group Becomes Newest Strategic Alliance Under Sparks Umbrella

Abbe Sparks Media Group is delighted to announce its newest strategic alliance with Lynn Orman, President of Orman Music & Media Group, an established music and documentary production and promotion firm.  Abbe and Lynn have been collaborating for years, co-promoting each other’s projects and creating the ultimate Sparks for mutually designed non-profit events, as well as music and social issue clients.

“Lynn and I have found that while we are powerful voices and advocates for our clients independently, when we collaborate our skills set and our drives, the results are insurmountable and fully Sparked!  Powerhouse comes to mind” – Abbe Sparks

Spread the word!

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Social Media Marketing and Public Relations

Social Media ROI and the Impact of Press Releases

According to Technorati

A recent post from BtoB Magazine highlights the impact of social media marketing as an overall strategy for public relations. In an article on March 4, Christopher Hosford mentions that social media is part of an overall plan for most companies, but is still being limited to 6 percent of the average marketing budget. Press releases are being integrated into this strategy with social media.

Kirsten Bjork-Jones points out that press releases are part of the marketing plans at her company.She mentions, “We distribute catalogs, PR releases, videos, email, ads and so forth, and it’s hard to tell which leads come from which channel.” This is a common issue for companies that focus on multiple venues to market their products or ideas because tracking ROI has its limitations. An infographic from PR Newswire highlights how press releases get shared across multiple social networks, so the combined impact of other social media efforts can be difficult to trace.

It is clear that social media ROI and press releases are being mixed together as companies encourage more shares of the releases through Facebook, Twitter and other networks. PR Newswire found that Twitter was able to “drive significantly more traffic” compared to the other social networks; however, Facebook and LinkedIn were still important for overall shares. This may explain why press release websites are still flourishing despite the multiple options available to companies. Business Wirecontinues to make global partnerships to increase its press release distribution with the addition of multimedia content. TransWorldNews has also focused on press release services with videos and picture galleries along with offering tweet services for more distribution. PR Newswire has focused on creating social channels with search optimization.

As press releases continue to be combined with other social media efforts, the blend that is being created is making it more difficult to track ROI. However, as Kirsten Bjork-Jones mentions, the “overall program” and its impact is more important than “individual elements.”

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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.