Reading Time: 2 minutes

When you think of awards, the Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes probably come to mind, but you probably might not think about advertising agency awards. But for a business like ours, we have been asked to submit and participate, to be in the running for these industry awards, time and time again. Let’s examine what these awards are and if they really mean anything to clients.

We’ll start off with the fact that “awards” in our industry, as with most, are big business. Awards are given out by media marketing platforms like The Drum and Digiday, as well as through industry associations like, The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals with their ‘MarComm Awards’ and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences with their ‘Webby Awards’ just to name a few.

There are awards for:

  • Digital Media
  • Print Media
  • Creative Design
  • Strategic Communications
  • Content Marketing
  • Audio / Video
  • Industry Leaders
  • Technology
  • Strategy
  • Distribution
  • Editorial
  • And more!

For a media planning and buying agency, like ours there are awards for:

  • Best Media Plan
  • Best Use of Emergent Media
  • Most Diverse Spending
  • Best Brand Integration into Gaming/Sports
  • Best Brand Integration into Traditional Media
  • And more!

With more than eight thousand businesses in the advertising industry (Statista 2019), it’s easy to see why this became big business and how there would be so many opportunities to “win”. But how do any of these companies get nominated. Who gets to choose where the entries come from? In many cases, it’s the businesses themselves vying for a chance to get recognized by the companies promoting the awards. And many of these opportunities come at a very high cost.

According to an interview with an ‘agency CEO’ done by Forbes, the CEO had to “defend his decision to spend $250,000 on entry fees”, because “winning awards is how he benchmarks his agency.” That doesn’t seem right. In that same article, the writer noted that the actual “usefulness as any type of industry benchmarking regarding who is doing outstanding work is predicated on the quality and robustness of the judging process.” So, the question is, who are they to judge? Could the winners based on the amount of investment spent to win awards and agencies willing to spend it? That may be why the larger, popular, and wealthier agencies are the ones “highlighting” all their winning awards.

It isn’t that winning an award for something should be overlooked. Our agency won an award for our Out of Home Strategy for “Best Alcohol Advertising and Promotions”. Yes, believe it or not, there are awards that get that specific.

And of course, as a media agency, we were very proud to win, but we didn’t nominate ourselves and we don’t hang our hat on those kinds of things. It means more to us when our own clients tell us they appreciate what we do for them. Getting them the best media placements and unique opportunities, while saving them money. No award necessary.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When something breaks in your home, typically your first thought is to see if you can fix the problem yourself instead of having to hire a professional. Sometimes, you can google the problem and if you get lucky, you are able to fix it yourself. However, often you end up making the problem worse than if you had just hired a professional in the first place. The same concept can be applied to the need for a graphic designer.

I have heard this story repeatedly from clients. All they needed was a couple advertising pieces and assumed having someone in their office do graphic design work not only was going to save them money, but it was also going to save them the time it would take to find a graphic designer, sit down with the designer, figure out what they want and get the design just right. But in the end, they realize this wasn’t the best course of action. For example, say they decide to try one of the free layout and design websites to attempt to create what they need. One of the most popular websites for creating and designing advertising pieces is Canva. Canva is a free online service that allows you to use their design templates to design all kinds of advertising pieces. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that if you choose the free version of Canva, you are limited to a small number of templates to follow. Even if you choose to pay for a subscription, you are still stuck with using the templates. Sure, it is relatively user friendly but in the end the designs look generic, unoriginal, and simply unprofessional.

For small business owners trying to stand out from the other companies in town, it is essential their branding is consistent and distinguished. To do this, you need to hire a graphic designer. Graphic designers have the skills and knowledge to help create branding and any other advertising pieces you may need for your company. They will likely think of things you might need that you didn’t think of yourself. For example, you might think of all the signage you will need for your business, but you have no idea how to have the signage printed or installed. A graphic designer can ensure that your signage is going to turn out exactly the way you imagined it. You also want custom business cards to hand to your customers. After designing your business card, the designer might suggest designing new graphics for your social media pages to attract more customers or a letterhead to match your branding for when you are printing out professional business documents. At the end of the day, you saved yourself the headache of having to do it yourself and you have a person you can turn to the next time you need something designed. And it was worth every penny you spent.

Big corporations choosing to hire a graphic designer is always the best option. Say you have been in business a very long time but now it is time to update your branding. A graphic designer can design a new logo, business cards, letterheads, email signatures, envelops, etc. The designer can make sure the new branding is new and fresh but also still feels like your old branding. They can also ensure that from now on all advertising pieces are consistent with the new branding. Designers create what is known as a branding guideline. A branding guideline will provide instructions on how your logo is to be placed, how not to use the logo and how and when to use the different file types of the logo. This way, when the designer is done with their work, your branding will continue to stay professional and consistent.

No matter what kind of business you are in, hiring a graphic designer is always a smart option. Ask for their work examples. Make sure they understand what you are trying to portray and that you work well with each other. Because even the best artists will need to fully understand the “feel” of the project to be successful, and only you can truly convey that to them.

At A3 media, we have in-house graphic designers like me that can assist our clients with all of their advertising and design needs.

Written by:
Ali Menard
Development & Graphics Team Member

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Anyone who has spent time scrolling through a social media platform is familiar with the image below of “Side-Eyeing Chloe” Clem. Her “unimpressed” image went viral and was meme fodder for everything from celebrities to suspect political promises. Well Chloe and the Clem family will finally get the last laugh as they have sold the original image at auction to a Dubai-based 3F music production company for $75,000 thousand dollars! The image was offered as a NFT or “Non-Fungible Token”, which is a way of owning an original digital image.

What is a Non-Fungible Token?

NFTs are “one-of-a-kind” assets in the digital world that can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but which have no tangible form of their own. The digital tokens can be thought of as verified certificates of ownership for virtual or physical assets. Non-Fungible basically means “something unique, which can’t be replaced by something else that is the same” NFTs can really be anything digital (such as drawings, music, videos) but much of the excitement is surrounding the buying and selling of digital art.

What’s the point?

Why would someone want to buy or sell digital assets this way? Well, that depends on if you are, a buyer, a seller or a speculative investor. If a buyer, it’s a way you can support artists financially. It also brings you some usage rights, along with the bragging rights and a blockchain validation. Although, depending on the art and how its established, some NFTs will automatically pay out royalties to their creators when they’re sold. This is still a developing concept but it’s one of the most powerful. Original owners of EulerBeats Originals earn an 8% royalty every time the NFT is sold.

Why do NFTs matter?

Much like the speculative nature of fine art or even the value at any given time of cryptocurrency, it’s a way to invest or speculate what the value of a digital art piece or item is. Most NFTs are part of the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum is a cryptocurrency, like bitcoin or dogecoin, but its blockchain also supports these NFTs, which store extra information that makes them work differently from, say, an ETH coin.

The NFT tokens are used to represent ownership of unique items. They let us “tokenize” things like art, collectibles, even real estate. They can only have one official owner at a time, and they’re secured by the Ethereum blockchain

Once someone has purchased a NFT token, that token value can go up or down based upon the perceived value of that item or art. Unlike cryptocurrency, it cannot be split up or divided currently. Depending on the perceived value of the token, some platforms are splitting ownership into owners’ shares, to deal with higher values. This has not become commonplace yet but is on the rise.  

Advertising Value

This is where the Advertising value comes in. Businesses can buy and leverage these tokens as rewards for visiting sites or buying a company’s products. They can use them in contests as reinforcement of a brands name by providing the items within online or VR games.

Companies like State Farm want to ride the wave of incorporating buzzy NFT’s into their marketing strategies. Their virtual football treasure hunt allowed for virtual footballs to be redeemed for custom prizes like Autographed merchandise. Bacardi used NFT’s to hold an auction to raise money and grow awareness for aspiring musical artists with a custom NFT Mix tape. McDonald’s is giving away McRib NFTs to 10 lucky winners in a new Twitter sweepstakes that begins on Nov. 1.

NFTs have seen a lot of interest from game developers. NFTs can provide records of ownership for in-game items, fuel in-game economies, and bring a host of benefits to the players.

In each case the companies are trying to leverage this uniquely Millennial-centric platform to encourage, reward and strengthen their company’s ties with the community and demographics they each aspire to reach. This is done to engender loyalty and brand awareness for their products and services. 

Creative agencies should be looking for new ways to leverage NFTs for their clients, especially ones with a younger more cutting-edge demographic consumer.

Will it work? That remains to be seen. It’s certainly grabbing attention and exciting people that are fans of bitcoin and speculative art investments. Companies are constantly seeking new ways to leverage the latest technology and remain on the cutting edge of what is new and exciting to its potential targeted consumer bases.

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Posted notes with online presence tips written on them: blogging, website, social media, etc.

For many businesses, establishing an online presence may seem like a tall task and some may find it unnecessary depending on their product or offering. However, once businesses realize how impactful a solid online presence can be to their marketing, they are usually quick to implement some of these practices into their overall strategy.

An online presence can be defined by how easy it is to find a brand or company online. It’s important for building your brand’s reputation, increasing brand awareness, creating credibility as an industry leader, and providing visibility to your products or services when users are online searching for solutions.

Creating quality content that appeals to your target market is the key to success. Using resources like websites, social media platforms, blogs, and SEO best practices, can help make building an online presence a bit easier. With that said, here are five tips along with some insight on how to get started with improving the online presence for your company or business.

  1. Create a Website – this may seem like an obvious place to start for many, but there are some small businesses that rely solely on social media pages in place of a website. Creating a website for your business lends credibility and gives a central hub to the customer to be able to see you 24/7. Having your own site also allows for online growth opportunity and it sets you apart from your competition. Another advantage is SEO and online advertising, which are a great way to help build awareness and increase traffic to your website. Free website builders like WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are available to help you get started.
  2. SEO Best Practices – by following the best practices for search engine optimization you can increase the organic discovery and traffic for your website. An effective SEO strategy can help you deliver the content on your site to your audience as they search online. SEO provides 24/7 promotion and visibility for your business. Results can take time as SEO is more of a long-term strategy. However, it’s the quality of the results that can really make an impact. For example, if your page ranks on page one of a particular search, that user is more likely to take an action with your site receiving increased traffic.  
  3. Create a Blog – if creating content for your audience is the key, then having a relevant blog is a must. A blog can establish your business as an industry leader by providing something of value to the consumer. How-to guides, lists, interviews, product reviews, case studies, and videos are just a few of the more common blog formats that can be used. Adding a blog into your strategy can offer benefits like an increase in organic web traffic and content that can be shared easily on social media. Companies that maintain a blog produce an average of 68% more leads per month than companies who don’t blog. Enough said!
  4. Be Active on Social Media Platforms – having a number of social media pages across the different platforms will certainly be to your benefit, but it is also important to go where your customers are. These days, just about every business has a Facebook page and that’s great but working that in with some of the other platforms can really set you apart. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are great places to display new product images, post video content, and stay engaged with your audience. YouTube can be the perfect place for a video blog or more in-depth videos about your business. Let’s not forget Twitter, which is a real-time platform perfect for trending stories and the latest news and updates related to your business. Again, it is important to determine where your customers are and be active on those platforms. Your social media pages may be the first place a user goes to learn more about your company. So, being on social media is an absolute necessity in today’s world.
  5. Create Valuable Content – creating good relevant content can provide your business with more organic traffic and increased customer conversions. It will set your company apart as an authority in your particular field which creates trust and ultimately leads to expanded brand awareness. The goal is to attract customers and keep them interested in your brand or business. It’s all about providing users with original content that is informative and useful. Remember to clearly define who you’re trying to reach, how you will reach them, what types of content you will create, and how you will measure the results.

These days most companies have a social media manager on staff or someone who handles their digital marketing strategy. The important thing for them to remember is to stay up to date on the best practices across this ever-changing medium. Here at A3 Media we believe it’s a multi-layered media approach that is always going to service your business best. Improving your online presence is just one piece of the puzzle.

It’s all about reaching your audience and letting them know you have what they are looking for and you may even convince them you have what they didn’t know they were looking for.

Written by:
Bob Freas
Social Media Specialist

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Man holding a sneaker in front of camera making a influencer marketing video blog

While the second half of 2021 is up in the air with the recent “Delta Variant” of COVID-19, the first half of the year saw the transition back to what most would consider, normal. Businesses started to open their doors to ½ – full capacity, gyms and movie theaters welcomed customers back, and businesses started to increase their advertising spend. With 2020 seeing a major decline in money spent on media budgets, influencer marketing was initially hit hard in Q1 & Q2 seeing, but saw an uptick in spend in Q3 & Q4 according to influencermarketinghub.com. A quick definition of influencer marketing from an earlier blog on www.a3media.com, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers–individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts. This doesn’t immediately raise a red flag that it would be affected, but campaigns that are promoting center events, store openings, vacations, anything related to being there physical in person was affected. What saw great success where industries that focused on home improvement, home fitness, and cooking. With 2021 slowly inching back to pre-COVID days, let’s look to see if influencer marketing followed 2020’s Q3 & Q4 bounce back.

Prior to getting into 2021, lets recap campaigns throughout 2020 influencer marketing across the US. As previously stated, Q1 & Q2 were hit hard. By the end of 2019, Q4 saw influencer marketing rise to 2,110 campaigns across the US, a number that rose each quarter, but 2020 saw that number decrease to 1,945 in Q1 and then to 1,575 in Q2. As the year progressed, the change in momentum happened, and Q3 saw the number of campaigns rise to 2,163, and Q4 ended with 2,901. A massive increase from Q2 to Q4 with the year ending. Why this move, people started to adapt to the new norm, and industries, such as home fitness, saw a massive increase in sales and businesses took full advantage.

With the number of campaigns increasing in the second half of 2020, the projections for 2021 followed suite, with a 30% growth projected at $3+ billion spent in 2021, and early reports of $4+ billion in 2022 according to emarketer.com. One industry that has a lot to do with the increase in money & campaigns is the travel industry, who over the past few years have relied heavily on influencer marketing. Over 2020, the travel industry lost 1.3 trillion dollars in export revenue worldwide, so as destinations open their doors back to tourists, it made sense for them to utilize influencer marketing to promote traveling. What is key for the travel industry is to build trust, while people are getting stir crazy and are loosely planning trips with loved ones, a large concern was/is still getting sick. Destinations & hotels need to highlight the measures they’re taking to keep their visitors safe. By highlighting the measures they’re taking, it gives the customer a sense of relief that if they decide to follow through with their trip, they can do it safely.

2021 has been a strong year for influencer marketing and is poised to finish out the year strong and reach its projection of $3+ billion dollars, but as we have come to be familiar with, 2021 could finish the year differently. The increased risk of the “Delta Variant” has the chance to alter some of these projections, but if industries & business remain open, we should not see a hit to influencer marketing. The industry made it out of 2020 alive and saw 2021 continue to grow, with projections of 2022 to be even bigger. Influencer marketing post COVID proved to still be a viable option even with an early hiccup in 2020, as long as industries continue to adapt, businesses & agencies will continue to spend money.

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Businessman and Business woman reviewing visual content graphic on laptop screen at a desk

Have you ever had a ton of content that you needed to send a client, but didn’t know the best way to present it? When it comes to sharing content online, there are multiple ways that one can now present it. In comparison, you could always place all your content on a word document and just send that to the client via email, but what if the client needs to share your content with a larger audience quickly? Is there a way content can be placed on a platform that everyone can have access to? The answer is yes!

There are multiple ways that you can share content online with a larger audience. We are now in the modern age where people want to be able to access content from multiple platforms in a timely manner. One of the great platforms that you can use is, “Online Flipbooks.” This platform can be easily implemented by simply downloading the software, and following the steps of usually transforming your PDF into a visual flipbook. After you save your word document to a PDF, and change that PDF into a flipbook, instructions are given on how to generate a link that you can share to your clients. “Embedding your flipbook allows your readers to view the content of your publication without leaving your webpage!”

If you have a website, there are also ways that you can simply add your flipbook to your web page for your clients to view and share. If you are using WordPress as your website platform, there are also various free plugins you can use to create your online flipbook.

Another great way of sharing content online is by creating a PDF link. Have you ever created a PDF but wanted to post it online? If you have a website along with FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access, you can upload the PDF to the server and define the file path to link it to your website. The server is like a cloud where you can define any path. For example, your domain name could be, “mysite.com.” Once you upload your PDF to the server, you could define the path by locating the PDF’s file folder. Your link that you share to the client would then be, “mysite.com/documents/clientinfo.pdf.”

If you look at the file path, “documents,” is a folder that was created on the server, and the PDF named, “clientinfo.pdf,” was placed inside that folder. Once the client clicks on the hyperlink created on your website, a new tab will open showing your PDF.

Since PDF Reader has a ton of built-in features, the client is also able to download this PDF to their device. If you are building your site using a WordPress platform, there is a list of PDF embed plugins that you can use if you want more features when presenting your PDF to the client.

There are many unique ways that you can share content online with your client. At A3 Media, we strive to stay updated on sharing content with clients on a national level. When using platforms like Flipbook, and Online PDF reader, we can communicate with many clients where they can view and share content on many platforms.

By making content sharing easy, the process of communication and getting the project completed, makes the timeline go by that much quicker. We love making sure the client understands the content, by making sure they can access a clear and organized online platform.

At A3, we understand that people live in a busy and complicated world, so we make sure business with the client is done with success leaving out all the complicated stress. Content sharing can get unorganized and frustrating when there is a ton of content via email. So, the next time you are put in a situation where you need to try a new platform, take a moment, and learn how to execute one of these platforms. Remember, more time spent in the beginning at take off can lead to less time spent when in the air doing business.

Written by:
Arielle Adams
Digital Media & Graphic Designer