This spring, I had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course at UGA on Digital Advertising.  This blog post is the second of a series of posts on some of the topics covered in that course.

I first started the conversation about Digital Advertising here, and I have to admit - I meant to blog long before now, but here I am in August, trying to make up for it.  So here goes!

First and foremost, it's important to know the different f of Digital Advertising, so that's what I'm going to cover today.  Quite often, ad industry insiders disagree with how to separate the types, but this is my way.
  1. Online Display advertising are ads that appear on website - in the banners, on the side, in-between articles or posts, etc.  They're especially popular on media-related websites (newspapers, tv stations, etc.) and blogs.  
  2. Social Media - like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. - offer multiple ways to advertise.  Most sell ad spots that allow for very specific targeting, and they have ways that you can set up a page or account for your business to talk to you audience on a regular basis.
  3. Search Engines, like Google, Yahoo, and others, are widely used and offer two ways for people to find your business.  The first is through a search, and your company comes up organically in the findings. This is call SEO or Search Engine Optimization. SEO involves setting up your website in a way that makes it easily found. The second is through paid ads or sponsored links in search engines.  This is called SEM or Search Engine Marketing.  These are ads that you pay to have placed when certain keywords are typed in.  Of course both SEO and SEM are a little more complicated, but that's the basic definition of what they entail.
  4. Video is an ever-popular and ever-growing area of the web.  While many host videos on their own websites, sites dedicated to video, like YouTube and Vimeo, allow users to search and find videos on a wide variety of topics. I recommend posting videos in both places.  Never underestimate the power of using web-based video for your business. 
  5. Electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) is all about what people are saying about you.  eWOM comes in the form of online reviews, like with Yellow Pages, Amazon reviews or Yahoo, as well as people who talk about your brand on social media in their blogs and other places on the web.  As Don Draper says, "If you don't like the conversation, change it." It's important to be aware of what others are saying about you so if there's a problem you can address it, and if they say good things you can thank them - even provide them with an unexpected gift or discount for a loyal customer.
  6. Mobile advertising - or advertising that appears on mobile devices - has a variety of forms of advertising for every type of business no matter your budget. Whether you advertise in an app, create your own app, send text or multi-media messages to your customers' phones or dream up a new innovative way to advertise on a mobile device, this form of advertising is growing by leaps and bounds.
That's the skinny on the different types of Digital Advertising.  If you have questions or want to talk to me about creating a digital campaign for your business, drop me a line at cindy@costa-creative.com
 
 
This spring, I had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course at UGA on Digital Advertising.  This blog post is the beginning of a series of posts on some of the topics covered in that course. 

First of all, what is Digital Advertising? Every time I told someone what I was teaching at UGA, it was followed by that question - even from people in the ad industry. To be honest, there is no easy definition. For my class, we defined digital advertising as ads that appear on network supported platforms - basically advertising on mobile phones, the Internet, in social media, etc. 

Now that we have a loose definition, let's talk more specifics.  There are several different platforms where digital ads appear and many different types of ads within each platform.  For example, online advertising encompasses display ads, sponsorships, video ads, and much more. Over the next few weeks, I want to talk in-depth about the different platforms and the different types of advertising available in each. In the mean time, if you're hungry for more on digital, let me suggest this article from Fast Company on the future of advertising.

 
 
Wow! Spring has been insanely busy for Costa Creative! But busy is good. Here's what we've been up to...

The Georgia School of Music
My husband, Justin Reynolds, along with Jonathan and Marla Loggins, opened a new music school in Jefferson, GA, and naturally, Costa Creative did all of the branding, design and website for them. You can view our handiwork at www.GeorgiaSchoolOfMusic.com and sign up for some lessons if you would like to learn an instrument.

Waste Away

Zeb Worley and his brother started a waste disposal service in the mid-2000's in Elbert and Hart counties, and their dedication to consistent customer service has helped their company grow. Costa Creative has had the pleasure to help with some of their advertising efforts as well as creating a new website to help them continue to grow!

Kyshona Armstrong
Kyshona is an amazing musician and songwriter!  I've been a fan of hers for quite a while now, and I was super-excited to help her launch her first website, www.kyshona.com.  

JOXX
It's not often that you get to help launch a new brand, but Costa Creative has been able to do just that, helping with the launch of a new line of men's performance underwear, JOXX. The brand, which will launch in early May, has redesigned men's underwear to provide a superior, more customizable fit. You can check out the brand soon at www.joxxwear.com.

In addition to all of these exciting projects, Costa Creative was able to work with Domus Sound to create a new logo, updated the Athens Spine Center website, worked on two new bulletin designs for Grace Fellowship Church, developed two new volumes of training materials for Zaxby's franchises, worked on a report with the New Media Institute, and launched a new website for Justin Reynolds Music. Whew! Like I said - we've been busy, and loving every minute of it!  Bring on
 
 
I think I blinked and landed in February!  The past few months have been crazy - holidays, graduating with a masters from UGA, getting snowed in with four extra people at our house!  I promise to do a topical post soon, but in the mean time, here's a taste of what we've been up to at Costa Creative:

Frosted Tulip, a new local bakery in Athens, GA, approached us about creating their branding, website and marketing materials. You can check out their nearly completed website here.

A good friend of mine in Charolotte, North Carolina, Starr Haigler, sent her husband my way when he wanted to create a business that would compliment his real estate venture.  The result was Smart Home Solutions of NC, a business focused on helping home owners maintain their homes and receive the repairs they need.  You can visit them on the web at www.MakeYourHomeSmart.com, a website by Costa Creative.

There are a few other projects that are nearing completion, and I'll update you on those soon.  In addition to the advertising and design work of Costa Creative, we were also busy delving into other areas of interest.

In late November/ early December, I conducted my first brand audit for charity: water, a non-profit that builds clean water wells in developing nations.  While this was completed for one of my last classes in grad school, I discovered I had a natural talent for helping brands assess and analyze how they're managing their brand and how they can improve.  You can download a PDF of the charity: water brand audit here

In addition, I started teaching as an adjunct instructor at the University of Georgia this semester.  I'm teaching Digital Advertising for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.  I love teaching and working with the students, and I'll have more to share on that soon!

Whew!  Lots and lots going on, but we're excited about what the future holds for Costa Creative.  Welcome to February!
 
 
With graduation on the horizon, I've been contemplating my next steps for my career. Costa Creative will definitely be a cornerstone in what I plan to do next, but, as I am always the into more than just one thing, I've been weighing my options for my side project. Should I dabble in a side business, take on a charitable cause, or perhaps find a local adjunct position and teach a class or two. While studying for my Masters comprehensive exams, the answer came to me -- or rather fell in my lap. One of my professors from last fall contacted me to see if I would be interested in teaching a new class offered at UGA this spring, Digital Advertising. Well, of course my answer was yes! How often does a newly graduated masters student get the opportunity to teach at the University of Georgia, in a department ranked 10th in the nation for Advertising? While I don't know the answer to that question, I do know that I'm so excited to teach this course. I guess after doing a few papers on advertising on mobile devices, using social media for advertising, etc. the word got around that I was interested in all of these things that comprise digital advertising. 

So, you may be asking yourself, what exactly is digital advertising? Good question. There are several definitions floating around, but the one I like the best is from Madison Multimedia Ltd, based in the UK.  They define digital advertising as follows...
"Digital advertising refers to any advertising that is created and displayed using computer technology primarily based around the world wide web, such as digital radio, digital video and advertising online, which could involve branded computer games, sponsored or advertising on websites in a number of ways, and branded or targeted communication (email)."
Basically, digital advertising is changing and expanding every day, and my job is to help undergraduates (and myself) understand how to harness this beast and use it to help their clients. It's such a great challenge, and I'm looking forward to getting my syllabus together and diving in. 


If you know any Advertising or PR students at UGA, tell them to sign up for ADPR 5990 this spring!  It's going to be a great class!
 
 
This post was originally published in April, but since I really liked the interview with my dad, I'm publishing it again!

I had the opportunity to interview my father, Joe Costa, for a class I’m taking at UGA on starting a business. The class is through the Terry Entrepreneurship Program, and I’m taking it as a cognate course for my masters. While I’m one of the few students who is not working towards an MBA, I’ve found the class to be interesting, and I’ve learned a lot from Professor Chris Hanks, who is the program director. For our class specialization project, my group investigated entrepreneurial leadership, and that’s the topic I discuss in this podcast with my father. He has been an entrepreneur for 30 years, the last 28 as the owner of Joe Costa & Associates. Take a few minutes to listen to what he has to say.
 

August projects

08/31/2010

 
There's something in the air in August.  Perhaps it's due to kids going back to school or the end of summer vacations or the allure of fall, but people want to get to work. July was pretty quiet for Costa Creative, but now that August is here - and almost gone - my phone is ringing like crazy!  So, here's the run down on the projects we've been working on lately...

Joe Costa & Associates
JC&A, an independent insurance agency in Athens, GA, had been getting along with their website for the last seven years or so, but decided it was time for an update. As an insurance agency, it's important that their site is user-friendly and allows visitors to get quotes online. Costa Creative was able to provide them with a website that offers a consistent look throughout to strengthen their brand as well as a site that's easy to update and add new information. You can see the site for yourself at www.costainc.com.

After launching their new site, JC&A wanted to address another issue -  their Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since their previous website was built in Flash, search engines didn't recognize it. JC&A wanted to kickstart by using search advertising through Google and Bing. Search advertising is a great way to target your potential customers where they are with a minimal investment. JC&A was even able to utilize advertising co-op dollars through one of the insurance agencies they represent.  While their ads are pending approval from the co-op company, JC&A is looking forward to watching the results of their efforts. I'll provide an update soon!

Project ADAM
Project ADAM is a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation program based in Winder, GA. They are able to accomplish amazing things for their residents and the Winder community on a shoe-string budget.  Project ADAM approached Costa Creative with a need - a website that covered all the different things they do, but was easy to update.  We were able to respond and build a custom-designed website on a blog host that looks great and allows them to go in and make changes as they need to. It was a pleasure to work with them and learn about how they change the lives of the men and young people seeking help from addictive disease. To view their website or learn more about Project ADAM and how your can help, visit www.projectadam.org.