Category Archives: Words + Thoughts


Personal Brand + Company Brand

by Sarah Stone


Brank Marketing


“How should my personal brand and company brand intersect online, if at all?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

Branding Tips: Aligning Your Personal and Company Brands

1. You Are Your Business
“The founders of a startup are the startup. When you’re getting going and resources are limited, invest as much time as possible connecting your personal brand with your company’s brand. Introduce yourself to the world as part of your startup’s team, engage with your company’s fans and try to live the business. Putting a face to the business is beneficial for early adopters and press alike.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

2. Use Thought Leadership to Connect the Two
“Publishing value-driven content is a great way to align your personal brand with your company brand. You can establish both you and your company as a thought leader, which is helpful for both sides. Post the articles on both your company and personal social media accounts to maximize the sharing potential of an article. Take advantage of speaking opportunities as well.” ~ Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

3. Customers Just Want to See Consistency
“Whether or not your personal and company brands intersect online is dependent on the relationship they have outside of the public eye. If the brands never interact in any significant way on the back end, there is no reason to do so publicly. However, if your personal brand is closely tied to your company brand, then it is important that they send the same message. Consistency is everything.” ~ Rakia Reynolds, Skai Blue Media

4. It’s Different for Every Industry
“Being an industry leader means something different in every industry. It’s possible that having a bio page on your company’s website is plenty for your personal brand. However, in other industries (especially communications and marketing industries, where people are buying ideas and people), it’s helpful to work on boosting both your company AND yourself to build credibility as a leader.” ~ Brittany Hodak, ZinePak

5. Rely on the Perfect 160-Character Bio
“Write a 160-character bio that intersects your personal brand with your company brand (not the bio that says, ‘Tweets are my own and don’t represent the opinions of my employer.’) Mention the company you work for, and use that bio across your social media channels, personal website and thought leadership channels (Medium, Quora). A well-written bio naturally intersects the two brands.” ~ Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

6. Not Every Project Is You
“Personal branding can intersect powerfully with company branding, but not every project or product you launch needs that connection. Injecting your personal brand should be a goal when you’re dealing with projects you have a real passion for, the kinds of projects you consider to be your flagships. Overusing your personal brand on products that don’t have the right feel can dilute it.” ~ Matt Doyle, Excel Builders

7. Use Your Personal Brand to Drive Company Brand Awareness
“Your personal brand is an asset that will hold value, no matter what turns and paths your professional career takes. A strong personal brand can instantly create a strong company brand following when your audience is truly engaged. If someone is following your personal brand, they are going to immediately trust, be interested in and engage with the company you represent, present and future.” ~ Marc Lobliner, and MTS Nutrition

8. Use Social Media to Create a Streamlined Image
“I use my personal social media profiles to promote myself as the head of my company. I keep the focus of my personal posts work related, but not promotional. I also use my personal social media accounts to keep in touch with business colleagues by posting and commenting on their posts to maintain business relationships.” ~ Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

9. Be as Human as Possible
“One of the key aspects of our company’s brand is simple: be human. Part of the humanity is demonstrating that we are simply an awesome company built by some even more awesome people. We encourage all of our employees to have strong personal brands both online and offline that just reinforces our core belief whether it is positioning themselves as thought leaders or just being themselves.” ~ Christopher Swenor, East Coast Product


H.R. Giger – A Tribute

by Sarah Stone

 Hellish Hybrids and Biochemical Design

H.R. Giger

Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger (/ˈɡɡər/; 5 February 1940 – 12 May 2014) was a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer. In honor of his passing, here is a short video representing some of H.R. Giger’s work.  A uniquely creative artist and designer, sculptor and Academy Award winner. A talent and artist exponent of spectacular, often horrific, nightmare-esque art.

His work was always dynamic and deep, from his set of Tarot cards to the Aliens from the same titled movie. It’s Giger who is responsible for the look of the eponymous creature, all slimy sinew, acidic blood and double-jawed fangs.

Giger’s work explored the relationship between the human body and the machine, and he created surrealist images of humans fused with industrial parts, a style he described as “biomechanics”. Giger’s works, often showing macabre scenes of bodies  fused into hellish hybrids, influenced a generation of movie directors, art students and inspired an enduring popularity for “biomechanical” art.

“My paintings seem to make the strongest impression on people who are, well, who are crazy. A good many people think as I do. If they like my work they are creative… or they are crazy,” Giger said in an 1979 interview with Starlog magazine.

He has been a favorite artist of mine for his willingness to dig deep into his imagination and show no fear of sharing what he found.

Giger was also known for his sculptures, paintings and furniture and many of these works are on display at his own museum in a medieval castle in Gruyeres, central Switzerland, which is run by his second wife Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger.

The museum, which opened in 1998 also houses Giger’s private art collection, including works by Salvador Dali.


Sarah ~



Intuit Small Business- Big Game

by Sarah Stone

We are entered in to a competition through Intuit – Small Business Big Game for the opportunity to win a BIG prize – A TV spot in the LARGEST FOOTBALL GAME of the year!  We made it into round 2 so we need to keep going :) The exposure and coverage could really make this or any business come alive. There are some other great companies out there to vote for so click the black “VOTE” button below at the bottom of the page, Vote for us. . . . and take a look at the other inspiring stories of other people who went out and are making it happen. #TeamSmallBiz

When asked. . What’s your best advice?”

When the time is right – Do it! 

I knew what I wanted to do: my own business, I knew the direction, I had the experience, potential clients, I had everything, except . . . except I just wasn’t there 100%.

One day, that switch flipped, I knew it was now or never and I did it. I wasn’t ready 6 months before or even 2 weeks previously.

Working toward a goal is a consistent job, don’t stress yourself over it, be prepared, absorb all you can, take baby steps toward it,then, when you feel it, when you know you are the cross roads.

Dont be afraid to turn left, when everybody else turns right.

When asked. . “Why do they love your business?”

It’s the personality right?

I put myself into my business. Experience & knowledge are great, they are a must, but being personable, genuinely caring about the outcome, and enjoying the conversation with your clients, that makes it all fit together.Technology often lacks a personal touch. We make a point to be there providing advisory artistic creative services. Come join us, share a cup of tea. 

“Consistently reliable, always on time, a fantastic communicator with a wonderful can do attitude. Very refreshing. We are so glad we found you.” –  Michael Myers, Owner, Myers Fine Art & Antiques

Thank you in Advance. . :)

Vote for Illumination Advertising


New Services

by Sarah Stone

SEO Packages, Marketing





In order to expand and grow with demand, we are also always looking for areas to improve and services to offer that our clients require and we can professionally provide. Just incase you missed it. . . here are some of those services we are able to offer you.

Copywriting + Technical Writing

​At Illumination Advertising, you​ can always expect, interesting, factual, clever, poignant copywriting, We provide In-depth research, press releases, media alerts, executive bios, copywriting in business to business, online, and direct mail for all markets. We offer planning, design, and execution of exceptional copy written content. Illumination Advertising understands client brands, indications, implications, and the competition, as well as techniques to research trends in the appropriate areas.

SEO Online Marketing and Social Media

One of the most current and effective marketing tools is optimizing your content over multiple online systems, coordinating organic search and social marketing activities with public relations, and measuring web presence and performance with customized analytical software. The first step to improving digital marketing results is to understand the emerging trends and techniques used to interact with your clients. Illumination Advertising provides experience, results and knowledge to help your business evolve, build your audience, engage both current and potential clients as well as understand future trends and grow as technology advances. With our Social Media Packages, we will create content from scratch, are able to build accounts and maintain your social presence through FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle Plus, YouTubeYelpMerchant CircleYahoo and more. We are a member of Google’s “Engage for Agencies” trained to specialize in Google Adwords, so we can help you become a master in the art of online marketing or let us take your  problem and create a solution.


Jobsite Gala 2013

by Sarah Stone

I am happy to be working along side of some dedicated people over at Jobsite Theater.

A committee was developed to organize “Jobsite Gala 2013” of which I am a small part. The group has been working on plans for an amazingly fun evening, which so far is sounding like a great night, from live music provided by ( to deliciously exciting gourmet hors d’oeuvres from local Tampa Bay restaurants, (see which ones are going to be there below)  something which I always love. . . food. Wine and craft beer.. Did I mention an open bar until 10:30pm?

The night includes a silent auction, a photo booth, a display of costumes from past and present productions and well as a chance to wine and dine with a few hundred local artist, actors and friends.

The night is to celebrate 10 years of Jobsite being in residence at the Straz Center, a great part of the community and a Gala to raise funds so they can keep on doing what they do best. YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT of this event will help ensure that they can continue to attract and keep the best talent the region has to offer, while making Tampa Bay a better place to live.

Jobsite Gala Invite Card





  Take a look at the website for al the details, the sponsors, the program of events and most importantly to buy tickets. :)









by Sarah Stone

When it comes to writing for clients, you can always expect, well researched, appropriate, interesting, factual, poignant copy, consumers tend not to read through anything else. Look closer at any seemingly simple paragraph within a marketing strategy and you will discover insights, intention, well thought through placement and convincing yet often elemental persuasion.

We provide In-depth research relevant to the clients requirements as well as, press releases, media alerts, executive bios, copywriting for business to business, consumer, print, online, and direct mail content for all markets.

Talk to us, we know communication is key. Our team will work together with you to find the right approach and direction for the right results. At Illumination Advertising, we offer planning, design, and execution of exceptional copy written content because we understand the necessity to develop client brands, and interpret your goals and direction into an informative and credible message.

We enjoy the process and have developed techniques to bring you the best content possible. Through research and communication of our clients business and needs, we learn to understand their process, recognize areas of potential and then correct failed ideas. We learn how to interact with clients and their competitors. Once we have the knowledge required we can develop a strong and realistic plan that not only services your current status but builds and expands into tomorrow and beyond. Copywriting,Copywriting

Let us find the right language to decipher what your product or business is all about and how best to place you on track to achieve the results you came to Illumination Advertising for.

Copywriting – We work closely to render both advisory and artistic creative services.

As part of our SEO (search engine optimization) services, we also provide original content writing for websites which includes objectives for the goals of higher rankings in search engines. Known as “organic” SEO, this practice involves the placement and often repetition of keywords and keyword phrases on web pages, resulting in consumers being led to your website based on the keywords within your site matching their own search online.


Copywriting and website content SEO


Take a look at our other Services or reach out to us and we can discuss an approach that will suit you best regarding your future endeavors and plans. Call the office at 813.507.9392 or email the owner directly at






Changes in Google AdWords – Mobile Devices

by Sarah Stone



Earlier this month, Google unveiled the biggest changes to the AdWords platform over  the last few years in a bold move to make AdWords work in the mobile world we all occupy and use. Designed to simplify campaign management across multiple devices, and to increase adoption rates of mobile advertising among small and medium sized businesses.

Google is highlighting three key features of enhanced campaigns:

  1. Simplified budget allocations: Manage bids across location, time of day, device type and more from a single campaign.
  2. Customized ad delivery based on where, when and how a user is searching: Show ads across devices with the right ad text, sitelink, app or extension, without having to edit each campaign for every possible combination of devices, location and time of day.
  3. New conversion types for more comprehensive reporting: Track multiple types of conversion including app downloads and calls from smartphones.

Here are 4 key mobile SEO trends to look out for, based on all of the new changes that are happening in the world of paid mobile search.

1. Local Organic Search is More Valuable than You Think.

One of the main drivers behind the recent redesign of AdWords was that it was getting difficult to measure the ROI of mobile search. For example, someone might:

  • View or click on an advertisement, then later walk into a local store and make an offline purchase.
  • Call a business straight from the Search Engine Results Page rather than converting on a “thank-you” page, or even visiting your site in the first place.
  • Start a purchase transaction on one device and complete it on another.

These same challenges exist in the SEO world, too. If you’re doing mobile SEO, you can’t track all the benefits you’re getting.

2. Mobile Search Is Really Way More Valuable Than You Think!

When it comes to quantifying the value of mobile search, it’s not just a matter of trying to track the aforementioned difficult-to-measure conversions. Furthermore, it’s worth pointing out that mobile-optimized ad formats do way better than regular ad listings – ads that employ a click-to-call ad extension and/or location extension enjoy an average 6-8% uplift in click-through-rate.

3. If You Must Have a Mobile Site, Don’t Dumb it Down

Some businesses have made the mistake of oversimplifying their mobile sites – what Chatterjee called “dumbing them down”:

The key takeaway here is, don’t strip your mobile site of information; just organize differently.

4. User Context is the Key

This has to do with a new concept of user context in search, which refers to the time, location and device from where a search was executed. According to Google, user context is the single biggest predictor of what users will search for, and what actions people will take after having conducted that search.

As an example of just how powerful user context is, consider that Google Now – the new App that provides you with all the information you need before you search for it – leverages your user context data (time and location) to determine exactly what it is you’re looking for before you search for it.

So now in AdWords, rather than creating specific ad campaigns to target different types of devices and hardware, search engine marketers are being asked to just create a single campaign and adjust the ad copy and bidding strategy based on user context.


Lets see what happens next.



Marketing for your Small Business

by Sarah Stone

What can a Marketing Plan do for Your Small Business?

A marketing plan includes everything from understanding your target market and your competitive position in that market, to how you intend to reach that market (your tactics) and differentiate yourself from your competition in order to make a sale.  Your small business marketing budget should be a component of your marketing plan. Essentially, it will outline the costs of how you are going to achieve your marketing goals within a certain timeframe. If you just don’t have the funds to hire a marketing firm or even staff a position in-house, there are resources available to guide you through the process of writing a marketing plan and developing a market budget.

 As a business owner, it is vital that you understand and use advanced technologies. Technology can help increase business efficiency and even expand operations.

Accounting software. This is important, even if you have your own accountant or bookkeeper. Accounting software allows you to see your profits and losses at a glance. It can also help you design and maintain a budget for your business. (

Planning software or tools. A calendar system is a must. There are many online planning systems that can be utilized to help you keep your calendar organized. Find a system that meets your business’ needs and be sure to stick with it.

Time tracking software.  A time tracking device will help you determine what tasks result in a profit and what tasks do not. This will help you determine what tasks can be eliminated, outsourced, or improved.  If you’re looking at software that requires a fee, ask for a free trial first to make sure it’s the right software for you.

Email management. As a business owner, you probably use several email accounts to manage the various aspects of your company. If you streamline these emails to one account, you’ll be able to stay organized and abreast of your emails. I would recommend looking into the services Google provides for free.

Mobile internet access. Access to the internet on your mobile device will not only make your life easier, it will also help you maintain a positive reputation for your business. For example, if you are able to follow up with a client by email immediately after a meeting, you will be showing that you are accessible, timely and professional.

Once you decide which types of technology are right for you and your business, you’ll be on your way to being more organized and efficient than ever.

Bend Your Budget When Necessary and Keep an Eye on ROI

Once you have developed your marketing budget, it doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. There may be times when you need to throw in another unplanned marketing tactic — such as hosting an event or creating a newspaper ad — to help you reach your market more effectively.

Ultimately, it’s more important to determine whether sticking to your budget is helping you achieve your marketing goals and bringing you a return on investment (ROI) than to adhere to a rigid and fixed budget.

That’s why it’s important to include a plan for measuring your spend. Consider what impact certain marketing activities have had on your revenues during a fixed period, such as a business quarter, compared to another time period when you focused your efforts on other tactics. Consider the tactics that worked as well as those that didn’t work. You don’t have to cut the tactics that didn’t work, but you should assess whether you need to give them more time to work or whether the funds are best redirected elsewhere.

Granted, some tactics are hard to measure — such as the efficacy of print collateral (brochures, sales sheets, etc.), but you need to consider the impact of not having these branding staples in your market tool kit before you reign in your graphic design and print funds.

Marketing plans should be maintained on an annual basis, at a minimum. But if you launch a new product or service, take time to revisit your original plan or develop a separate campaign plan that you can add to your main plan as an addendum.

At the end of the day, the time spent developing your marketing plan, is time well spent because it defines how you connect  and communicate with your customers. And that’s an investment worth making.

More information:

At Illumination Advertising, our business is built on our relationships, communication and knowledge. This is how we grow, step by step, client by client, relationship by relationship. We promote a positive and ethical business sense and environment for both employees and clients alike. Illumination Advertising, Inc. has personality & character. We are friendly, dedicated and know our industry. We enjoy working with you, not just for you.


Sponsorship of Jobsite Theater 2012-2013

by Sarah Stone

Illumination Advertising is proud to be one of the sponsors for the 2012-2013 season at Jobsite Theater who are the resident theater company at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts here in Tampa Bay. Currently performing “Fahrenheit 451” running through September 30th

Take a look at their site and then get out in the community, enjoy and share with a friend.





An eye for India

by Sarah Stone


I want to share a website of a friend, Santosh Verma who is a spectacular internationally published photographer. His work can be seen at ~ An Eye For India

Take the time to enjoy, educate yourself and experience the beauty and strength of life elsewhere in the world. Santosh has an incredible eye for his homeland, India and is a pleasure to be around. We met in 2012 when Gwendolyn and myself were travelling through Mumbai, India. A chance meeting in a bookstore, conversation and coffee/tea followed and we began out friendship. It was insightful to be around him and it gives me great pleasure to share his work on here.





An eye for India


Virgin Group

by Sarah Stone

Meet Richard Branson. . . .

Maybe not the best advice for everybody. . He never went to business school, but something has to be said for intuitive ideas and determination of following through on your own will.

 I do find this international businessman and tycoon most fascinating, his ideas and commitment to succeed is exciting and inspirational. One of his first projects was a magazine called Student at the age of 16, followed up in 1970, with an audio record mail-order business. From there grew his record store, 1972 and launched the record label Virgin Records with Nik Powell. Virgin Atlantic Airways was developed in 1984, then Branson launched Virgin Mobile in 1999 and then on and on and so on. . But what I love about this man is his love for life and his joy to share with others. His humanitarian work with the “Founders” joining forces with musician Peter Gabriel and Nelson Mandela an idea of a small, dedicated group of leaders, working objectively and without any vested personal interest to solve difficult global conflicts.

If ever you need some encouragement by watching somebody else achieve . . . find his blog, website, life story and read on. .

“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do”



Building your online strategy

by Sarah Stone

An online strategy is key in the development of a well-run business

No longer is an online strategy only useful for those who work in the e-commerce industry, it is as important for every business, no matter what you produce, sell or where you operate.

For a lot of companies, it may be that most of your trades are carried out offline, but there’s a great chance that most of your clients would have researched your business out beforehand online. I know that is exactly what I do! An online strategy is now as important for a small independent local restaurant as it is for large online stores. By excluding yourself from the internet, you are limiting your business prospects.

Take further look into some of these options to develop your online presence.

: E-mail Marketing
E-mail marketing is a wonderful way to provide specialized content to people with whom you’ve already built relationships. Most of your clients will have an email address already on file. Consider offering a pre-order for your new product, exclusive only to e-mail recipients. Or, offer a sneak peek at the new product before it’s released to the public. This will help to nurture and reward your existing relationships and continue building on the trust you’ve already earned. However over saturating somebodies inbox can lead to a loss so be sure to keep clients interested with key data and always allow an option to unsubscribe.

: Online Advertising
Tools such as Google Ad Words (and other pay-per-click services) can increase awareness and funnel parties directly to your product. Online advertising allows you to get in front of a specific relative audience but with wide reach.
Another option is to do some research to determine the most widely read blogs and sites in your industry and also those frequented by people in your target markets. Advertising is often the main revenue generator on these sites and blogs, so it’s a great way to begin building relationships with the editors and site operators for a chance to get in front of the people who are most inclined to care about your product.
Don’t overlook opportunities to advertise on social networks. Some have predicted that $4 billion will be spent on Facebook advertising alone in 2011.  Marketers are already realizing the benefit of getting in front of this giant’s more than 500 million plus users.

: Social Networks
When your product is ready to go, inform your current customers and brand enthusiasts by updating your existing social networks. Whether you have a presence on one of the well-known platforms and/or another niche social network, craft catered messages for each. But, don’t just post to any of these social networks and walk away. There are many tools available to help you manage multiple social networks, keep the information up-to-date and continue to communicate with your connections, while providing the social proof needed for people to buy.

: Blogger Outreach
Blogging has grown tremendously in the past five years. Even though Technorati’s State of the Blogosphere 2010 report* found that 65% of blogger survey respondents are hobbyists, it’s likely you’ll find several bloggers in your industry who have very active communities and traffic/subscriber numbers that blow traditional media websites out of the water.
Blogger outreach goes hand-in-hand with traditional media outreach when it comes to generating interest for a new product, and the approach and methods used are much the same. Understand the blog, its audience and its content before sharing information about your product.

(*Some content is taken from