Check out our blog for industry related posts focused on helping you achieve your advertising and communication goals.

Ready, Set, WATCH! The Super Bowl of TV Commercials


Some of us are looking forward to the football.

Some of us are looking forward to the food.

I am looking forward to the TV commercials as I really don’t care who wins this particular game, and I am responsible for the game-time food in my house so there are no surprises there.

The commercials, however, are a different story. Stress the word “story.”

As part of a marketing firm that create visual and audio “stories” for our own clients using a variety of media, it’s fascinating to watch what global agencies are able to create with seemingly out-of-this-world budgets.

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Who's the Biggest?


Want to know who spent the most on advertising in 2018?


Pull on your Nike’s, hop in your Volkswagen to pick up McDonald’s and a case of Coca-Cola, then head home to watch ESPN on your new Samsung 60” TV.

Get the picture?

All of those brands (plus 19 more) make up the 25 biggest advertisers in 2018 worldwide. They cover technology, personal care, food and beverage, retail, automotive, entertainment/media, restaurants, apparel, travel and telecommunications. Whew.

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The Real Secret to 20 Years in Business


What’s the secret to successfully staying in business for 20 years?

I know it wasn’t the relationship I had with my business partner at the time. In reality, we were almost strangers, having worked together on a single project through our respective employers at the time. We knew each other for a matter of months when we decided to go into business together. Not terribly smart but, hey, it worked.

Over the years, we discovered we were similar enough to have like minds regarding business ethics, core values and the determination to succeed, and we were different enough to have complementary skill sets that would benefit us in years to come.

I know the secret to our success wasn’t the great strategic business plan we had in our back pockets. We started KMK Media Group with a simplistic business plan. You could even call it “bare bones.” I honestly think our success at the time was fueled by sheer motivation and the ability to recognize opportunity. It was the dawn of the “website revolution.”

Finally, I know the secret to staying in business for 20 years wasn’t the great stash of cash we had ready to sink into our new marketing venture. We contributed a mere $200.00 each which went toward incorporation fees, installation of a single business phone line in my home office and printing business cards.

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What SpongeBob Can Teach Us


Did you know the founder of SpongeBob SquarePants passed away?

I saw the tidbit on a CNN newsfeed that popped up on my phone last week.

My husband wasn’t aware of it until he read the newspaper the next day.

My 10-year-old saw it on CNN Student News at school.

My 13-year-old saw it on her Instagram feed.

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It's Been 20 Years...


KMK turned 20 this month. Doesn’t seem like that long ago when I say it out loud but when I look around, things sure look different.

Back then, when we produced TV commercials for clients, I’d get in the car and run out to the TV stations to drop off a video tape copy to each one. It got me out of the office and feeling productive, mentally hitting the “done” button when I’d finished my media trek to the west side of town. Not the same feeling today after I email the link to some “cloud” somewhere, hoping it arrived safe and sound.

What I have learned in 20 years is the more things change, the more they stay the same. (My dad used to say that and I never believed him. Until now.) It’s really all about understanding the message that needs to be communicated. Whether on TV or online or somewhere in between.

That’s where KMK shines.

We’re a small group of really creative people committed to getting our clients’ message in front of the right audience, no matter the medium. Medical, industrial, educational, doesn’t really matter what industry. The basics of communicating “why you need that product or service” remain the same for our team.

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The End of a "Yellow" Era...


In case you haven’t heard, 2019 marks the end of letting your fingers do the walking.

In case your nose has been too far buried in your phone book to have heard the news, the Yellow Pages telephone directory will no longer be printed after 2019. Final issues are prepping for press right now and aggressive yellow page phone book sales folks are making their final push for those last commission checks.

Considering the fact that the Yellow Pages is ceasing to print and, therefore, sees no value in continuing to publish its own book, I’d think “selling” the value to advertisers to be included in the 2019 print version would be an uphill battle. I suppose it’s possible some might like to be in the final “collector’s edition,” which I’m guessing will be thinner than ever before.

Yell, owned by the Hibu Group, said the decision marked the company’s transition to a “purely digital business” and aims in 2020 to help a million businesses be found on its online directory.

Side note...Yellow Pages first began publishing in 1966. The rise of search engines like Google in the early 90’s posed challenges for the print directory, resulting in its first web directory in 1996.

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Does your Agency Stand Up to the Test?


As KMK Media Group approaches 20 years in business, there are some things that have made it stand the test of time. It’s a combined skill set among our team that centers around some core “rules of thumb” when developing work for our clients.

Whether it’s an ad campaign, new website, press release or social media calendar, clients pay KMK to produce results and those results happen when we keep a few simple rules in mind.

K.I.S.SWe can kiss good copy goodbye if we forget to “keep it simple, stupid.”  TOO WORDY gets you every time.  Write copy…let it sit…re-read it and take out every non-essential word. Stick to what’s important and try to communicate with visual elements rather than words.Poor ReadabilityAs a designer, typography can be pretty complex.  A good standard is to use 50-60 characters or less per line…online or offline. Anything more than that and your eye wanders, diluting your message.Too Many FontsLimit yourself to 2-3 fonts MAX. If you need to change it up, try different weights of a font rather than switching font styles so your design remains legible and looks cohesive.White Space is Your Friend It may be an imaginary friend, but it makes your end product look so much more attractive, helping focus the eye on the main message.Get a High Resolution Image If you’re going to use a photo or logo in a printed piece, make sure you use a high-resolution version. Don’t have one?  Ask your designer to create one.  It’ll be well worth the relatively minor investment in having a crisp, clean outcome rather than fuzzy results.

Every creative piece your agency (or in-house designer) produces should stand up to these general guidelines.  If they don’t, it’s most likely having a negative effect on your R.O.I.


Google Search: “dogs in the office”


Each morning as I head to work, I say “see you later, pup” to my 15-pound dachshund, Olliver. He doesn’t know where I’m going or what I’m doing. What he does know is that nine hours later, I return home smelling like another dog.

Cue Riley, a golden retriever and KMK Media Group’s very own office dog. You can usually find Riley taking a nap outside of his mom’s office, but when we have a meeting in the conference room, Riley is there. Tail wagging like a fan, head in any lap that has committed to scratching in just the right spot.

How does Riley’s presence benefit the way I work, you ask? According to a recent study done at the University of Southern California, pets in the workplace reduce stress and nurture productivity. For example, during a meeting held this week, Riley came over and plopped his head in my lap – immediately after the meeting, I opened up a new Word document… and here we are. As a matter of fact, I credit Riley in the completion of this blog post.

While he might aid in the productivity of fellow employees, pets at work also benefit overall employee health, improve employee retention, and alleviate loneliness. For some, coming to work to a wagging tail is just as important as going home after a long day to a family pet greeting you at the door. As for Olliver, that includes a very detailed sniff down.

So, there you have it! If you already have a dog in the office, tell us how much you love it! And if you don’t have a dog in your office, well… what are you waiting for?


To Drone or Not to Drone.


Years ago, when video went from analog to digital, a whole new world opened up for video producers.

Rooms of expensive video equipment went by the wayside, replaced in part by a single personal computer that was easy to use and maintain. The technology shift was a dream come true for small start-up companies with little funding for capital expenditures and a major headache for existing, full-blown video production houses. The result? The tools of the trade might have changed but the end product was relatively the same.  That technology trend has continued…buy a nifty new tool, wait six months, and buy a better one for less. The same is true for one of the coolest tools used in video production today – the drone.

Drones have been around for several years, just not always cost-effective to use. But now the floodgates have opened. Depending on what your personal level of “expensive” looks like, there’s a drone for every user. This adds a whole new layer to video production and how it can be used for marketing.

The same rule applies, however, in using a drone for video production versus using a different type of camera. You get what you pay for…both in equipment and the skill level of the operator. From shooting to editing, scripting to graphics, when done well the drone footage can significantly enhance your final product and tell your story from a different perspective.

Check it out!


Ready to Outsource Your Marketing (or some of it?)


Top Tips to Get the Most Out of It!

When you outsource a portion (or all) of your marketing efforts, you’re probably looking to accomplish one of these goals:

Save money on salaries and benefits by not hiring in-houseGain additional skills not available in-houseGet an outside, professional perspective and experienced approach

Over the past 20 years, we’ve worked with clients in all these situations. Time after time, we’ve found the partnership is most successful in reaching the above goals when our clients take the following steps:

Assign Responsibility...when clients funnel all communication at their organization through one person, we avoid conflicting feedback that often increases the project’s time and cost.   Set Objectives...when we begin working with clients, we ask what they’re trying to accomplish (i.e., brand awareness, foot traffic, online traffic, Facebook fans, new customers). Limit your key goals to one or two. Any more than that and it’s tough to create a solution that adequately addresses all needs, meaning any result is diluted.Share Preferences...define any likes or dislikes upfront.  If you hate the color purple and Garamond font, tell us. Otherwise, we risk having to start over due to personal or professional preferences that weren’t shared, potentially increasing costs. Make sure all people who need to sign off on the project have given their input before the project begins.Provide Information...we conduct an initial briefing with clients to gather specifics about products and services. Come armed with brand standards, collateral, recent ads, media schedules, social media and website links. Be prepared to discuss product features and benefits, know your competition and the single most important thing you want to communicate.Respond Efficiently...projects lose momentum and enthusiasm when they drag on. When we receive no meaningful client response on a project for several weeks, it takes time (and often money) to resurrect it, clarify direction again and proceed. The best advice is not to start an outsourced marketing project until you can commit the time to finish it. The end result will be stronger and far more impactful.

Follow the above tips and make sure your partner agency does, too, and you’ll be assured a stronger end product and successful relationship!


You Know It’s Time for a New Website When...

Old Yahoo design

I think we just celebrated a record at KMK.

...a record for the longest stretch between the first website we designed and developed for an organization and its 2.0 version which we were just hired to program last week, nearly 15 years later.

The organization is a long-standing non-profit we’ve supported and enjoyed working with, and we are thrilled they’ve deemed a web redesign part of this year’s budget. It’s long overdue but we understand that marketing desires and line items in budgets don’t always add up.

Eventually, though, a website can drive down your bottom line down due to lost opportunities.

The worst part? You might not know it’s happening unless a forthcoming prospective client tells you they eliminated your company because your website doesn’t measure up.

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The Color Purple…so to speak.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2018-ultra-violet  ~Courtesy of Pantone

I complimented our always put-together graphic designer last week when she strolled into the KMK office wearing a blouse in a lovely shade of purple.

She said she recently bought a flat iron and a hair dryer in the same color, not because she’s infatuated with the shade but because it’s everywhere this year. Why? …a vivid shade of purple is Pantone’s color of the year. It’s actually Pantone #18-3838. (Purple Is The Color Of The Year For 2018). Pantone is now *the* authority on color trends. There isn't virtually anything you can't buy in a Pantone color anymore including paint, plastics and coffee mugs. Every industry is affected by Pantone's color "predictions,” especially the fashion industry, which spills over into design.

Our knowledgeable designer and I then devolved into a kitchen counter discussion on the shades of purple, what shades look good with what skin types, and I pondered whether the color of the year would ever make my husband willingly wear any shade of it and concluded, probably not.

Our talented designer looks great in purple and has designed some awesome-looking purple-inspired brands and creative work this year. So even if the color of the year hasn’t inspired my husband’s wardrobe (he’s more of a “Men in Black” kind of guy), it has infused a swash of beauty across some of our recent design work.

Thank you, Pantone, for choosing a hue that communicates originality, ingenuity and visionary thinking and that many of us “creative-types” enjoy.


Can Small Businesses Benefit from Influencer Marketing?


For months, I’ve been increasingly fascinated by both the capabilities and caveats of influencer marketing. Last week, Kylie Jenner posted a tweet expressing her disappointment with the Snapchat redesign.

One day later, shares of Snap closed down six percent which translated to a market value loss of $1.3 billion. Sources debate whether to credit Kylie with the drop, but either way it’s an intriguing coincidence.

Numerous others are annoyed about the redesign and over 1.2 million people have signed a petition asking Snapchat to remove it. While the change to the app improves exposure for advertisers, users are frustrated and find it more difficult to find the content they actually want to see, stories uploaded by friends.

In direct response to the petition, Snapchat said it would soon be adding tabs to make it easier to locate stories. Zooming out, it has likely been the backlash from multiple levels of influencers that contributed to this resolve in less than a week. Celebrities, bloggers and other micro-influencers had the clout to help the petition go viral.

The most well executed mainstream marketing campaigns are strategic enough to incorporate influencer marketing at the global, national and regional levels. For example, the film industry often rounds out marketing efforts by incorporating private screenings to influencers within their target audience.

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It’s Super Bowl Ad Time!


Okay. I admit it. I don’t really “watch” the Super Bowl. I watch the TV ads. And that’s what I’ll be doing this Sunday evening as I scurry to get dinner together for our family during playtime until my husband calls me back to the TV when the commercials start.

It’s our business at KMK to keep track of national trends in advertising and, from what I’ve gathered, this year’s TV ads are supposed to be tear-jerkers overall. I look forward to the story-telling, to the TV spot that makes you scratch your head and wonder why in the world an agency convinced a company to waste gobs of money on it, and to the commercials that you know are going to be memorable for many months and years to come.

I also marvel at the obscene amount of money national companies spend to have their moment in the spotlight (a very fast 30 seconds of fame) and hope they’re tracking the return on their investment.  

Super Bowl LII is a big game investment for TV advertisers. Here’s the breakdown:

The average cost for a 30-second commercial in Super Bowl LII is just over $5 million.That equates to a price per second of $168,333. Blink and you missed $168,333.Total spending on ads during Sunday’s NBC Super Bowl broadcast will run approximately $419 million.Marketers have spent a total of $5.4 billion on Super Bowl ads over the last 52 years.The average cost of a 30-second TV spot in the 1st Super Bowl in 1967 was $40,000. ($300,000 adjusted for inflation)



When Does PR spell ROI?


Our team and I have worked on public relations for multimillion-dollar corporations down to small start-up companies, and when we work with them they all have one thing in common.

The first question typically asked is, “How do I know if the PR is working?” (Which really means…is it resulting in increased sales?)

Public relations can be measured but not in the same way as other marketing and sales efforts. Unlike a coupon offer or a highly effective salesperson, the results of public relations are a bit more complex to track. That does not mean, however, that they CAN’T be measured.

So, how do you measure the results of public relations? Here are a few key areas to track:  

Number of Impressions. Basically, how many times did your topic get picked up by the media and where? Print, TV, online? Did the coverage include a link to your website or social media page? If so, you can track that inbound traffic, as well. Set up Google Alerts and check the websites of the media outlets that ran the story. Check your own web analytics.  Positive Brand Awareness. How many of your PR mentions in the media are positive? How many are negative? Are your proactive public relations activities resulting in more positive mentions than negative ones? This can truly be captured via an excel spreadsheet or written log.What is the conversation surrounding your media exposure? Is it positive or negative? Look at the social media comments posted to the stories online. Ask your outside sales/community relations people for specific customer feedback. Check your own website contact page and social media conversations.

So how do you start?  

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Let's Talk Strategy: Will You Be Ready for Q1?


Fall is official and fourth quarter is fast approaching on October 1. This can be a chaotic time of year for businesses and organizations as they are challenged with balancing various priorities including year-end campaigns, auditing, employee reviews and more. It can be so overwhelming that strategic planning for the year ahead gets put off or left behind. Developing your marketing strategy in Q4 is a sure way to finish the year strong.

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For the Love of Writing…


I confess.  I love writing.  Really, I do.

We have many clients, however, who don't love it. In fact, they hate it. They hate it so much they would rather fire an employee, get a root canal or assign any of their own writing assignments to their children than have to sit down and draft text for a marketing project.

I guess it's job security for us at KMK. But it does make me wonder, what's so scary about writing that people fear it so greatly?  

Unlike calculating how to successfully land a space ship on Mars or how to effectively teach squirrely, hormonal teenage students the angle bisector theorem, everyone naturally has something to say that can be translated into words on a page (printed or digital).  

In writing copy for marketing, the concept is the tough part. Once you have the idea, someone else is typically available (or for hire) to clean it up and make it sound good. There are quite a few news stories, web content, editorials and other writing out there that was conceived by our clients yet finessed by KMK team members. The best part? Our clients get all the credit!

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5 Simple Branding Tips to Make Strong First Impressions


As the newest member of the KMK team, I find myself in first impression mode as I engage with my new colleagues and introduce myself to the firm’s clients. More than a remarkable resume, intriguing business card or firm handshake, strong first impressions stem from solid branding efforts.

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Dealing with Negative Facebook Feedback and Trolls

Be ready for any grumpy cat

Here's the bad news: Studies show consumers are more likely to give a review after a negative experience than give a review after a positive experience.

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Color Me Crazy


I was aware that I wasn’t fond of the color of my office walls at work, but I didn’t realize just how much the color affected me until I recently switched offices. I went from feeling blah and at odds with my palest of gray/green walls to feeling a sense of ease and invigoration within the bright and warm beige refuge of my new office. Call me crazy, but I believe the paint color of my old office actually frustrated me with its lack of commitment–is it gray or is it green?

Crazy or not, color psychology exists and is a study of hues as a determinant of human behavior. Color psychology has been used by companies for years to improve the moods and reactions of their customers and workers. Looking to reduce stress and fatigue in your work environment? Blue and green hues have been known to create calming environments that are easy on the eyes. Want to stimulate creativity or energize your employees? Yellow and orange hues when chosen correctly can increase productivity. A red hue when used as an accent within an office space can evoke passion and emotion from your employees.

While color psychology and it’s use in the workplace is fascinating, color psychology in marketing and branding is a whole other ball game. Color psychology in marketing and branding is both widely used and widely debated. The reason for this is the margin for error – it is difficult to predict with 100% accuracy any given individual’s response to a color. The application of color psychology to marketing and branding requires an understanding of color theory combined with a good amount of research and a healthy dose of gut instinct. Even with those three things applied, your desired effect for your brand or your product is still at the mercy of consumers' personal preferences.

If you want to learn more about the use of color in marketing and branding, the article “The Psychology of Color in Marketing and Branding” on is a pretty good starting point. Be prepared though, the more you increase your knowledge of the use of color as it applies to the consumer, the more you may drive yourself crazy analyzing your purchasing decisions.



Who We Are?

KMK Media Group is a full-service communications firm focused on helping businesses succeed through consistent creative, message and tone.

What We Do

Our services include award-winning design, web development, social media management, video production, public relations, ad campaigns and more!

Where to find us?

716 North Church Street
Rockford, Illinois 61103
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