Marketing Continuity: There is NEVER a right time to pause your marketing activities

It is not uncommon for me to hear, “Let’s pause our marketing communications for now.” This kind of interruption can be a serious mistake for your business and your brand.

An enduring marketing communications strategy is built on consistency along with solid best practices, which includes a steady flow of activities within your marketing ecosystem.

Imagine you’re a customer, and the brand you love isn’t consistent with its messaging. They speak and act differently from day to day and don’t communicate often. You’ll eventually completely tune out. That’s why marketing continuity is so important. Because without it, your biggest fans won’t know what you stand for, won’t hear what you’re saying, and ultimately will stop listening.

It starts with consistency. Although it isn’t the sole focus, marketing continuity is all about maintaining a consistent flow of content driving engagement, and disseminating communications across all your marketing platforms, whatever channel the activity is on. It’s vital to succeed with your marketing strategy.

By being consistent across your platforms, you’re showing your customers that your marketing identity is unified and cohesive. The more prospects can identify with your marketing message, the higher the probability they will engage and invest in your value proposition.

Making sure you’re speaking with continuity and consistency is crucial because your marketing identity is everything to your business. Continuity matters because it lets people know what you offer. It leaves a lasting impression on potential and existing customers alike.

Finally, marketing continuity is important because it helps set you apart from competitors. Wherever your brand is, competitors are also likely to be. A consistent message across all your channels means that people will know who you are and what you do and will be able to pick you out from the crowd.

That’s why putting real effort into establishing and maintaining your marketing communications activities and its continuity is so important for your business’s success. It will benefit you now, but more importantly, it will have a lasting impact and benefit you well into the future.

If our team can help, please feel free to contact me directly at or call 941.544.2765.

Next-Mark Shines at American Advertising Federation (AAF) Suncoast Awards

The Sarasota-based marketing and communications agency earns 11 awards for creative excellence.

Sarasota-based marketing and communications firm, Next-Mark, earned a total of 11 awards at this year’s American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) 2024 ADDY® awards, Light Up the ADDY’S, at the Suncoast district awards ceremony.

Of the awards, spanning multiple categories, Next-Mark excelled in several categories including Out-of-Home & Ambient Media, Print Advertising, Online/Interactive Microsites, Sales & Marketing, Magazine Design, Elements of Advertising, Film, Video & Sound, and Advertising/Media Industry Self-Promotion. The most noteworthy of which were two Gold ADDYs, one for Out-of-Home & Ambient Media and the other for Advertising/Media Industry Self-Promotion, as well as the prestigious Judge’s Choice Amy Award for trade show design.

It’s an honor just to be recognized in one category, but to be acknowledged for several, it really cements Next-Mark’s belief that marketing communications is integral to a larger business strategy,” says Joseph Grano, Founder and President of Next-Mark, LLC.

Among the work commended were local standouts for project partnerships with the City of Sarasota, St. Armands Circle, International publishing giant, Elsevier, and The Sarasota Players. Each of these bodies of work aided in propelling local businesses forward in the Sarasota area this past year.

“Being a business locally based in Southwest, Florida and working with other local businesses here has allowed us to connect to our community with a greater purpose. The satisfaction we get from contributing to the vibrant area we live, and work is immeasurable.”

About AAF

The American Advertising Federation protects and promotes the well-being of advertising. They accomplish this through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs, and college chapters. Headquartered in Washington, DC, they are the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” The AAF has more than 200 local clubs across the U.S. representing nearly 40,000 advertising professionals, connecting, and leading the industry.

About Next-Mark, LLC

Next-Mark, LLC is a full-service, award-winning marketing communications agency based in Sarasota, FL. It helps business leaders beat their growth targets by delivering better competitive insights, more powerful branding, stronger strategies, and faster results. Breaking away from the constraints of traditional marketing service organizations, the Next-Mark team facilitates new conversations about a client’s brand, integrating experience, analytics, and innovation in developing strategic marketing solutions to meet clients’ individual needs. Next-Mark focuses on internationally and nationally recognized brands along with growing companies across a broad spectrum of categories, including healthcare, technology, hospitality and entertainment, technology, tourism, retail, destination, real estate, environmental, marine products, and tourism. With clients from California to South Africa, its roster includes industry leaders such as Comcast/NBC, LexisNexis, Elsevier, Nuance Communications, CMX/Cinebistro, along with Florida-based clients including The City of Sarasota, DWYLA Landscape Architects, John Cannon Homes, Willis Smith Construction, St. Armands Circle, Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors, Michael Saunders, Yarnall Moving and Storage, CitySide Apartments, and Barancik Foundation, among others.

Next Mark Super Bowl LVIII Ad Review

Super Bowl Sunday is a time-honored tradition for most Americans, and it’s no different for our team at Next Mark. Whether it’s tuning in for the game, ads, or halftime show, there’s something for everyone. You can probably guess here at Next Mark, being marketing and communications professionals, the ads are our favorite part.  Seeing how companies marketed their brands on one of TV’s biggest nights, not only provides us with entertainment and laughs but also gives us insights into what works and what falls flat So, we polled the team on our favorite and least favorite ads from the night to give you our Next Mark Super Bowl LVIII Ad Review.

The Good

Star power and comedic timing propelled ads from State Farm, CeraVe, and Dunkin’ to the top of our list. With appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Michael Cera, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon, and Tom Brady, it was hard for viewers to not be engaged. Whether it was the humor behind “neighbuh,” a coincidental naming incident, or a marital spat, these ads left a lasting impact on us.

The Bad

It’s no surprise that this year, unlike any other year, some Super Bowl ads didn’t leave a lasting impression. Snapchat and CrowdStrike were our team’s lowest-ranked ads. Both companies relied heavily on flashy visuals and fell short on delivering a clear message.

Honorable Mentions

Super Bowl LVIII delivered a plethora of ads that left our team with insight. It’s moments like these that provide us with inspiration and sparks of creativity. It motivates us to continue to propel our clients’ brands with content that leaves lasting impressions and creates meaningful conversations, even if they start with a bit of humor. As we look to the future, our team remains dedicated to excellence and innovation in our work.

A theme we saw and adored this year was the prevalence of TV reunions and references. Tina Fey and the 30 Rock cast teamed up for, while Zach Braff and Donald Faison (Scrubs) reunited for T-Mobile alongside Jason Momoa and a surprise appearance from Jennifer Beals, wrapping up a Flashdance reference. The Suits cast made appearances for both T-Mobile and E.L.F. Beauty, adding to the nostalgia factor. Beyoncé shone in Verizon’s ad, weaving in references to notable pop culture events from the past year. Uber Eats boasted a star-studded cast, with Jennifer Aniston and one of her Friends co-stars, David Schwimmer, among the highlights. These ads showcased the power of celebrity collaborations and humor to captivate an audience and create a memorable viewing experience.

Each year our industry makes predictions and identifies prevailing trends for the year. Here is our list for 2024.

Brand stories continue to fuel business. 

Every Business starts with a brand promise. It is core to your success. Now, more than ever, it is time to nurture your brand to sustain and enhance brand identity and equity.

Reputation Management is a PR discipline.

Public Relations in the digital age is more important than ever. PR has evolved from traditional media relations to digital reputation and crisis management. Every online review, comment, or conversation can impact your brand positively or negatively in the future.

New technologies continue to emerge, but don’t let them monopolize your decision-making.

Remember, whether it’s the latest AI application or the latest software solution, do your research and be aware of your choices and the potential impact on your business.

The obsession with measurement continues.

We hear it continuously, “How do you measure marketing success”? The question should now be “How do you choose among an abundance of measurement tools to measure your success?”. Make the accurate choice to correctly measure marketing and communicative effectiveness.

The Social Media evolution continues.

What was once a revolution is now an evolution. We continue to see social media evolve with new emerging choices. Remember, it is first about reporting the news and telling your story. However, social media platforms are increasingly becoming e-commerce ecosystems, which is expected to impact the digital shopping landscape significantly. In the future, we anticipate major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok to lead the way in integrating more prominent shopping features into their user experience. This includes streamlined shopping journeys, enhanced product discovery, immersive experiences, and social proof to drive future purchases.

The investment in curating authentic content continues to be core to marketing communications success.

Content must be authentic, fact-based, and aligned with your brand. It’s clear that nowadays, strong content serves as a basis for business credibility and integrity.

Companies will embrace sustainability and purpose-driven marketing.

As environmental concerns continue to take center stage, consumers increasingly seek brands that align with their values. To achieve success, it will be essential for businesses to adopt sustainable and purpose-driven marketing strategies that are authentic to the brand. It’s not enough to showcase eco-friendly initiatives. Instead, brands must actively incorporate sustainable practices, support social causes, and authentically validate their purpose.

CRM solutions are no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have.

Client Relationship Management is now a business essential, whether it’s Salesforce, HubSpot, or a proprietary solution, CRMs provide a new level of intimacy with clients and prospects alike.

Street-level and grassroots marketing are more than viable, they are a reality.

How do you get closer to your customer beyond a digital touchpoint? There is a need to get beyond the emails, and digital tracking and reach out on a more personal level. Events, high-touch promotions, street-level campaigns, and neighborhood domination will continue to grow.

2024 will be a year of continued economic growth and a new wave of marketing communications tactics, issues, and opportunities. Ultimately, be curious, conscientious, and courageous in your choices for 2024. If we can help, contact us at or call 941.544.2765…

January 2024

Next-Mark’s 2023 Wrapped – A Year In Review

Every year has its highs and lows, its wins and losses, and like in marketing and communications, how you see them is all about perspective and how you choose to grow from them is entirely up to you. Though our year had its challenges, we know our resilience and accomplishments are far greater and stronger than the tribulations we faced to earn them. So, we would like to take a moment to look back on 2023 and be proud of what we have achieved this year.

Without further ado, let’s dig into peak Next-Mark moments, shall we?

Hosts with the Most
We made our way around town in 2023 and word on the street is we like to have a good time. Our team organized and hosted some of the biggest events in Sarasota of the year. From the freshest block parties to engaging, intimate gatherings and tailor-made hospitality launches, our events were instant hits.

9 City of Sarasota Events
Fresh Fridays

1 Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Trustees event at our office

Launching 2 Hospitality Clients including 

Boo’s Ice House & Dog Bar BESO

Hosting 2 Salesforce Events in the US and Canada

Toronto, CA Mixer 

Columbus, OH Mixer at Top Golf

Supporting Local Organizations
We were the corporate sponsor for FPRA’s (Florida Public Relations Association) Central West Coast Chapter in 2023. It was a pleasure to champion our coast’s community of PR professionals and help support them as they foster connections and provide education in the public relations and communications fields.

15 Awards to Back It Up

Recognizing our Core Business
Although the Next-Mark team isn’t typically one for boasting, we came out on top quite a few times this year, and if we can’t plug ourselves in our Year in Review, when can we? With thirteen ADDY awards and one Statewide Caribbean Gold Angel Award from the AAF (American Advertising Federation), it’s safe to say we worked our tails off to produce unparalleled work for our clients this year. 


1 Statewide & Caribbean Gold Angel 

Oh, and we can’t forget about the celebrity around the office, our Manager of Client Experience and Development, Travis Cornwell, who received a Rising Star award from FPRA.

1 Rising Star

In the Headlines
This blog may be about us, but we’re really all about our clients’ successes day in and day out. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to catapult their businesses to the front and center of audiences and showcase the incredible work they do.
5 Front Page Cover Stories

Onwards & Upwards
Like with all new endeavors, it takes time to cultivate and establish them. When done right, though, the results are well worth the effort. We are proud to report we increased our Salesforce client base by 40% in 2023.

Our culture is one of “how can we step up”? It’s in our name, after all. We are always looking toward the next step in growth for our team and clients, but you can’t grow without building on what came before. Moving into 2024, we take with us all our experiences from 2023, the good and the challenging, while never losing the values that got us here in the first place: kindness, loyalty, and trust. From the Next-Mark team to you, May the joy of gathering with friends and family, cozying up with festive traditions, and the spirit of giving fill your heart with warmth this holiday season. Warmly wishing you and your loved one’s good tidings. Till next year!

Looking to hit the next mark in your business goals in 2024? Let us help you achieve those New Year’s resolutions. 

Reach out to us today!

Sarasota-based marketing and communications agency receives Statewide and Caribbean Gold Angel Award

SARASOTA, FLORIDA (November 29, 2023) – Next-Mark, a full-service marketing and communications agency serving clients in Florida and nationwide, was recently recognized with AAF’s Gold Angel Award for their exemplary public service work in advertising during the 5th Annual American Advertising Federation District 4 Angel Awards ceremony in Tallahassee, FL.

At this year’s Angel Awards, competing in the category of Organization or Cause Promotion, Next-Mark received a Gold Angel, the highest accolade awarded in a category, for their community-based work with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.  

“Although we create for a wide variety of businesses, it’s incredibly important to us that we participate in and support organizations doing great work in our own community,” says Joseph Grano, President of Next-Mark, who accepted the award on behalf of his team. “To be recognized by our peers for the work we do in our region with local non-profits who are making a difference in our community is just an added bonus to the gratification we get from doing these kinds of projects.”  

Every year, the American Advertising Federation District 4 conducts the Angel Award Competition, honoring the very best in public service advertising by honoring campaigns that demonstrate exceptional results and execution. The awards combine two missions of the organization: to utilize industry expertise to address community issues, and to celebrate and honor advertising excellence. Entrants consisted of a variety of advertising service providers, public service organizations, and special interest causes and groups located in Florida and the Caribbean.

“Seeing all of the excellent work in public service advertising created in Florida and the Caribbean year after year is incredibly inspiring. Creativity and innovation continue to evolve in our market, while dedication to creating an impact grows stronger each year,” says Giavona Williams, Governor of AAF District 4. “The award-winning work always gives a deep look at the current issues that impact us. This year was no exception. COVID, social issues, fundraising challenges, drugs; public service advertising addresses it all,” stated Mike Weber, Chair of this year’s Angel Awards competition.

View the full list of winners and the award show video at

About the AAF District 4

The AAF District 4 is one of 15 regional American Advertising Federation (AAF) Districts nationally. It is comprised of 18 local federations located throughout Florida and the Caribbean. The AAF District 4 is different from any other advertising trade organization because it is comprised of a network of professionals that represent all disciplines of advertising at all levels. The District’s goal is to inspire, inform, and educate advertising professionals, mentor advertising students, monitor legislative issues, recognize excellence, promote public service causes, and help build our economy. For more information, visit

About Next-Mark

Next-Mark, LLC is a full-service, award-winning marketing communications agency based in Sarasota, FL. It helps business leaders beat their growth targets by delivering better competitive insights, more powerful branding, stronger strategies and faster results. Breaking away from the constraints of traditional marketing service organizations, the Next-Mark team facilitates new conversations about a client’s brand, integrating experience, analytics and innovation in developing strategic marketing solutions to meet clients’ individual needs. Next-Mark focuses on internationally and nationally recognized brands along with growing companies across a broad spectrum of categories, including home services, architecture, government, healthcare, technology, hospitality and entertainment, tourism, retail, real estate, environmental, marine products and tourism. With clients from California to South Africa, its roster includes industry leaders such as Comcast/NBC, LexisNexis, Elsevier, Neuroflow, Nuance Communications, CMX/Cinebistro, Medecision, CGI, California Pizza Kitchen, along with Florida-based clients including The City of Sarasota, Willis Smith Construction, St. Armands Circle, Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors, Get Coastal Exteriors, John Cannon Homes, Yarnall Moving and Storage, CitySide Apartments, and The Met Sarasota among others. For more information, visit its website at


A Guide to Crisis Communication in Modern Day PR

Public Relations is the cornerstone of effective crisis communication. In the midst of unexpected challenges, how an organization manages its public image can make or break its reputation. Crisis communication through PR involves a strategic and dynamic process aimed at preserving trust and credibility.

With so many avenues for communication as a business today, the odds of facing crises that require astute and timely responses are naturally higher, so it’s essential your public relations team is decisive yet adept at de-escalating and maintaining your brand’s reputation.

In this year alone, large businesses like TikTok, Silicon Valley Bank, and Ticketmaster faced a flurry of public scrutiny. Though a crisis can feel catastrophic, it only is without great communication management. PR professionals must act swiftly to assess the situation, gather accurate information, and develop a well-thought-out communication plan. This often includes crafting clear and empathetic messages that address the issue at hand while demonstrating the organization’s commitment to resolution. So, don’t panic or freeze, instead become crisis ready by creating a response plan that include the following three steps:

Step 1 – Validate

The last thing you want to do in a crisis when you’re directly in the public’s eye is make your audience feel dismissed, unheard, or devalued. Address it head on, acknowledge why people are upset, own the mistake (even if another party indirectly caused it), and do these promptly. In addition to losing ownership of the story, taking too long to respond can be worse than saying nothing at all. Silence often leads to negative assumptions and communication is essential to de-escalating, especially in situations where people are prone to panic.

Step 2 – Relate

Validating the reason people are upset is just the first step in repairing any damage. Next, is connecting with your audience. Let them know what matters to them, matters to you, and by admitting the mistake, you show you’re imperfect and that’s a good thing; it makes you human. In the same vein, don’t be afraid to be emotive and speak to people’s emotions by painting a picture of a better tomorrow, creating a shared vision that inspires and unites.

Step 3 – Prove

Your team must navigate the fine line between disclosing pertinent information and ensuring that the organization is not incriminated. It’s okay to set the record straight… as long as you do so with a solution and people driven message behind it. Gear that messaging in a way where you guide and refocus the story. Remember to utilize social media effectively by responding to negative comments and steer the conversation back towards a positive outcome. Provide fact-based intel for clarity that demonstrates credibility, and then follow it up by reassuring them not only through words but actions. There needs to be a plan in motion to establish trust; seeing is believing.

You want to be prepared and ready to lead at times when it matters most. Think of crisis management as an opportunity to showcase your brand’s true character and ultimately, that you are a brand to trust and follow. Keeping these steps in mind will help you handle the unexpected successfully.

We may be equipped with language, but communication isn’t always second nature to us. Take the pressure off and turn to Next-Mark for any public relations and communications challenges your business may encounter.

When you partner with us, not only do you have a vast resource of marketing solutions at your fingertips, but you can expect a team of dynamic and seasoned professionals ready to collaborate with you. View our capabilities video to learn more or get in touch at 941.544.2765 or send us an email.


You started your business for a reason; you saw a need or desire and knew you could create a service or product to fulfill it, but if no one knows what you do, and more importantly, who you are, you’re not going to get very far. That’s where strategic marketing begins.

Effecting marketing, marketing that actually moves the needle, isn’t an ad here or a social media post there, it is integrated content working together consistently to tell your brand’s story. Leveraging an extensive suite of marketing tools and comprehensive strategies, we take your business’s potential and create a brand that’s uniquely yours and stands out against the rest. Here’s how we can jumpstart your business’s marketing engine.


With cover stories and high visibility client press coverage, we put your brand front and center of your target audience with messaging that represents your mission and vision clearly.


diverse client portfolio of award-winning designs for brands of every kind. For a look and feel that flawlessly depicts your business, come to our team of talented creative strategists for an elevated brand that draws clients to you.


From website design, creation, and SEO to social media management and digital advertisements to email marketing campaigns and newsletters, we build comprehensive digital strategies that integrate seamlessly with every other element of your marketing plan.


As a certified Salesforce partner, we bridge the gap between strategic content and full utilization of your Salesforce application. From implementation to management of Salesforce, we strive to be a strategic, collaborative partner focused on results.


Our team develops video content starting from conception through to fruition. Whether it’s a short clip, like an Instagram reel, TikTok, or YouTube short, or a longer piece, like an explainer (“how-to”) or a cross-platform campaign, we create productions that capture your brand’s story and your audience’s attention.

Discover the Power of Brand

When you partner with us, not only do you have a vast resource of marketing solutions at your fingertips, but you can expect your business to be handled with the utmost attention and creative determination. View our capabilities video to learn more or get in touch at 941.544.2765 or send us an email.

We would like to give you a look inside our team members’ recent ventures and life milestones, allowing you to get to know us a little better. Lately, we have traveled to far-off places, welcomed new life, produced works of art, and excelled in our fields. Welcome to our world!


Ryan Hoevenaar, our Director of Creative Strategy, welcomed a new member to the family in February when a healthy baby boy, Logan, was born on 2.9.23. Congratulations to Ryan and his family!


Next-Mark’s team is always reaching new heights both as an agency and individually. We are proud to announce that Travis Cornwell, our Manager of Client Experience and Development, received the honor of the Joe Curley Rising Leader Award from the Florida Public Relations Association. The award nominees highlight up-and-coming FPRA members that demonstrate emerging leadership traits, and the winner is recognized for their dedication to active involvement in FPRA Chapter activities, programs, functions, and events. Congratulations Travis!


Luke Piety, the team’s Creative Producer, produced and created a short documentary about The Anna Maria Island Players and their theatre’s rich history. The documentary first premiered at the Sarasota Film Festival in April, showing in the Florida Filmmaker category, and later, officially released to the public with a premiere at the Island Players Theatre itself on Anna Maria.

Watch the documentary here.


Our Manager of Client Experience, Matthew Fenton, recently embarked on a trip to Indonesia, backpacking around its beautiful isles and embracing the full spectrum of experiences these captivating islands have to offer. From the pristine beaches of Bali to the lush rainforests of Sumatra, Matthew traversed the beautiful landscapes while immersing himself in the vibrant culture of the island life. This extraordinary experience allowed him to witness life in its rawest form and dive into the breathtaking waters renowned as some of the best diving spots in the world.


By: Ashley Bernhardt

Modern PR and media relations have undergone vast changes in the past three years. Though traditional journalism outlets have scaled down, media relations are more relevant and pertinent to marketing than ever. With other media platforms expanding, navigating and assigning the appropriate importance to each can feel daunting. Here is what we know:


Social Media Influencers & Bloggers 

Social media’s reach is undeniable and those who have large followings have cultivated target audiences that can be hard to register with otherwise. Influencers are a media contact to consider when promoting a launch, campaign, or product that can prove valuable in increasing reach and fostering engagement.

Podcast, Webcast & Radio Hosts

An even greater relevant resource for media relations are podcast hosts. The rise in podcasts popularity is monumental and their content is a huge medium where people get their information. Although podcasts can be treated as media outlets and their hosts like journalists, doing the proper research and finding the appropriate shows to reach out to is essential. The right podcast can provide a format that informs as well as entertains, creating brand trust and garnering connection.


Along with a redefined version of what a media outlet is today, modern PR utilizes a variety of digital tools that can aid with nearly everything, such as monitoring earned coverage, measuring results, managing contacts and lists, press release distribution, and streamlining outreach.   


Not a replacement for earned media but a supplement to it, paid media does have a relevant place in the online and social media environments. Targeted advertising across social channels drives awareness of a brand and draws in your key audience prior to earned coverage, and a carefully crafted and curated paid placement can contribute to an earned strategy by reminding viewers of your unique value.   

Paid media doesn’t have to be the shameless advertorials of a decade ago, or more likely than not, shouldn’t be the plain self-promotions of the past. Paid content can be genuinely good and engaging, surrounding and boosting your earned media.


One thing is for certain in this new digital landscape, the importance of PR and media relations is still instrumental in marketing, and it’s not all “in with the new, out with the old.” All have a place in elevating your marketing strategies and delivering success.

If we can help with your Public Relations strategy, please reach out to