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Andrea Garcia

A born observer, Andrea is our communications ninja, and Sparkfactor’s blog is packed with her powerful prose. She keeps us and our clients up-to-date on what’s new with us and what’s up-and-coming in the world of marketing.

Recent Posts

#InspiredBy Independent Bookstore Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Apr 27, 2018 5:45:30 PM

Last April I spent a very rainy and cold Saturday traveling around Chicago with some friends, running in and out bookstores, collecting punchcards. It was the last Saturday of the month—Independent Bookstore Day—and we were participating in the first My Chicago Bookstore Challenge: if you visited 10 of the participating independent bookstores throughout the city and suburbs, you received a 10% discount from all participating stores for the next year; if you visited 15, you got 15%. We succeeded in visiting 11 participating bookstores and several more that weren't on the list, just for fun.

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Topics: Social Media, Marketing, Advertising, Business Lessons, Neighborhood Marketing

#InspiredBy Opening Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Apr 9, 2018 5:30:00 PM

Baseball is back! Today was supposed to be the opening day for Wrigley Field, but with the snow that fell this morning in Chicago, the Cubs decided to postpone the game, while the White Sox found a pretty ingenious way of dealing with the snow on their field to still play their home opener.

As the Cubs were prepping for Opening Day, I'm sure they wanted to get as many people as possible in the stands. In the days leading up April 9, I came across Facebook ads in my feed reminding me that Opening Day tickets were still available.

The ads themselves are simple: nine words, the Cubs hashtag for the year, and a couple of photos with stadium seats. But there's so much communicated in such a simple ad that it should act as the template for your future social ads.

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Topics: Social Media, Advertising, #InspiredBy, Photography

9 Essentials Every Neighborhood Organization Website Must Have

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Apr 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

 

Neighborhoods rely on local businesses to bring in visitors and revenue to the area. Some businesses can do a great job of marketing and advertising their own company, but often it's up to various neighborhood organizations to bring area businesses together to draw participation from local residents, city-wide visitors, and tourists.

The foundation for these organizations should be their website. It can be the first touchpoint for new visitors to the area and should show off a good first impression. The following website essentials should be considered when discussing a new or redesigned website.

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Topics: Web Design, Neighborhood Marketing

Why Plagiarism is Bad and How to Prevent It

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Mar 28, 2018 8:00:00 AM

With the new ruling affecting images and Twitter retweets, we thought it would be helpful to update and re-publish this post about plagiarism, first published in 2016.

In a world of content marketing, when over 2 million new blog posts are being published every day, will someone really notice if a few lines, or paragraphs, or articles are the same as others?

Yes.

Even with online tools (see below) being used to catch plagiarism, which makes it easier than ever to spot a fake, plagiarism is still rampant. Continue reading to learn what plagiarism is, how it can negatively affect your business, and how to prevent it.

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Topics: Business Lessons, Inbound Marketing

New Ruling on Embedded Tweets is a Good Reminder of Copyright Compliance

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Mar 20, 2018 11:00:00 AM

We all know—or should know—that plagiarism is bad. And in this age, it's pretty easy to prevent outright violation of copyright: you can easily link to sources with in-line hyperlinks, Google and other software can easily show you where phrases or whole paragraphs appear throughout the web, and Internet trolls are just waiting for someone to make a mistake they can call out.

But a recent ruling could change all that. Wired reports that a judge recently ruled that those who embed tweets that contain images could be in violation of copyright. It seems like a minor infraction and something where some could claim plausible deniability. But if this ruling holds up—the current ruling can be appealed—it could change how media and other content creators across the Internet use not only tweets but potentially other forms of information and could have ramifications in terms of monetary fines for violating copyright.

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Topics: Marketing

How This Year's Oscars Envelope Can Inspire Marketers

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Mar 6, 2018 11:15:00 AM

Last year, I wrote about the Oscar's Best Picture debacle and what marketers could learn from it when thinking about communicating information in print or in digital: add signals of importance (like bold or italics), make it easy to interpret, give readers room with white space, and use the inverted pyramid of importance to convey information. While we don't know if the card inside the envelope was any easier to read this year, we do know that the envelope itself was considerably easier to read, making it harder for the original error in last year's crisis to be repeated—Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope for the category they were presenting.

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Topics: Web Design, Marketing, Advertising

The Auto Show, Virtual Reality, and Impact on Manufacturing

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Feb 14, 2018 10:15:00 AM

This weekend, the Chicago Auto Show opened. The largest in the country, the auto show will bring in over a million people by the time it closes on Monday the 19th. Every year I brave the cold and spend a few hours in McCormick Place getting in and out of cars that I wouldn't otherwise get the chance to.

But this year, the increase of virtual and augmented reality sections throughout the convention center surprised me. I'm used to seeing test drive sections coordined off and Jeeps proving their worth through various obstacles, but this inclusion of developing technology added another dimension to the day. Chevy had a soccer virtual reality section, where kids could pretend to be goalies and try to deflect goals while wearing a headset. Nissan had a Star Wars augmented reality section, which I fully took advantage of. Ford had an elevated simulator, which included hydrolic lifts and three screens. Acura used virtual reality to simulate racing a car. Other companies had various other degrees of simulators and interactivity.

While I hope all the car companies took full advantage of this trade show-like atmosphere to increase their audience, I'm also hoping that this increase in innovative technology on the consumer-facing side also translates to the same or similar technology being using on the manufacturing floor.

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Topics: Manufacturing

7 Essentials Every Title Insurance Website Must Have

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Feb 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Sparkfactor is the Fidelity National Title Group's preferred website vendor. Fidelity affiliates can choose between a website template or a fully custom site, both of which are built specifically with title insurance companies in mind. But whichever you choose, do you know what should go into a title insurance website? Continue reading for the seven title insurance website must haves.

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Topics: Web Design, Title Insurance

What The Olympics Can Teach Us About Storytelling

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Feb 8, 2018 11:45:00 AM

I love the Olympics and the Winter Olympics are by far my favorite. I enjoy watching sports you don't even hear of outside of the Olympics: ski jumping, bobsled, skeleton, and, of course, curling. So all of the Olympics promos during the Super Bowl on Sunday got me so excited for the next two weeks of winter-based sports.

According to Wired, NBC is going all out to broadcast this year's events. Not only will sports be airing live across NBC's multiple channels, but the social media team will have streaming clips and live updates across multiple platforms. The thing about this year's website that caught my attention was the amount of storytelling content already up.

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Topics: Advertising, Video & Motion

Most Surprising Commercials of Super Bowl 52

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Feb 6, 2018 4:00:00 PM

 

In terms of this year's commercials, some are calling it the #BoringBowl—although the same cannot be said for the actually game.

Personally, part of the boring aspect is that a significant amount of ads could be found online days before the game. By my count, half of the top ten on USA Today's Ad Meter list were online early last week

While there were some inspiring commercials, most had either already aired or could have been seen online before the game. But who is hyped for the Olympics to start at the end of the week?

So instead of the best ads of this year, let's do the most surprising, the ones we didn't see coming.

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Topics: Advertising

   
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