Category Archives: About Us

Corporate Sustainability: the new competitive advantage?

Scientists observe effects like natural disasters and decreasing grain yields caused by unsustainable business practices. According to Maslow, mankind’s basic physiological needs are being threatened – needs that must be satisfied before all else. Businesses actively working against these hazards can help consumers satisfy these threatened needs and, by doing so, create a competitive advantage. This new value stems from sustainable operations, which need to be communicated appropriately.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an excellent success story. It points out monetary benefits of corporate sustainability, primarily when it comes to avoiding physical, regulatory and reputation risks. The CDP uses a monetary vehicle and communicates it to their corporate audience using buzzwords like “benchmark performance,” “stranded assets,” “fiduciary duties,” and even quoting support from the Bank of England. Why would the same system not work for the consumer goods market?

The answer is simple: the system requires an educated audience and/or superior communications. Sustainable Reporting Guidelines encouraging transparency, accountability, SMART approaches and even the disclosure of any lobbying efforts and publications with related content are merely a means to an end. They expose the truth, but which end can consumers reasonably analyze a 30-page corporate report and understand topics like the different scopes of carbon accounting?

The solution is simple: corporate sustainability and its positive impacts could be communicated through an educational framework. Consumers need to be informed about threats to their basic needs, how they contribute to them, and why choosing goods/services of sustainably managed businesses can potentially avoid threats similar to avoiding an investor’s risks. By enabling consumers to expose negative impacts, businesses will react to level the playing field, meaning that the early adopter catches the worm. Pointing out whitewashing is crucial as well; some sustainability efforts are more effective and relevant than others and this needs to be understood.

The 16 UN Sustainability Goals provide information on relevant areas. They allow managers to identify relevant sustainability focus areas for their industry, and their communications experts can conveniently “borrow” from the site’s professional content and visuals to serve their audience.

Long story short, marketing departments play crucial roles in fostering informed consumers and establishing corporate sustainability as an accepted competitive advantage.

Welcome, Haley!

Haley Ruch has joined the Media Link family as a Marketing Assistant. She is currently working towards her bachelor’s degree in International Business, Marketing, Economics and French at Augustana College. Haley has been involved with numerous Augustana campus organizations:

• Advertising Development Club
• Greek Life
• Active Minds
• Entrepreneurial Center (EDGE)
• Varsity Softball team

When she’s not on the softball field, she enjoys playing guitar and travelling to foreign countries. Learn more about Haley here.

Government Contracting – Well Worth the Effort

Have you ever wondered why we have gained so many government certifications? There are several reasons:

Government Contracting
The public sector purchases goods and services, just like every other organization. In addition to making sure they get the best goods/services for the lowest price, the government is committed to supporting small disadvantaged businesses. You can consider this part of the government’s efforts to improve economic development. Prioritizing smaller businesses helps them compete against big players in the market and helps to even the playing field. It decreases market barriers, creates a catalyst for entrepreneurship and creates a more competitive and innovative marketplace.

Transparency
These certifications require a lengthy process that includes opening up to government entities, providing internal accounting, as well as the business owners’ private financial documents. The government wants to make sure only qualified individuals and businesses profit from this catalyst. At the same time, the government needs to make sure suppliers are financially responsible and able to perform the contract. Let’s not forget these goods and services are paid for by taxes, so making sure everyone benefits is vital.

We at Media Link, Inc. were just recently able to utilize our certifications to compete for a contract. The purchasing agency imposed a 30% set aside for small disadvantaged businesses. We were able to leverage our WOSB (woman-owned small business) and IL BEP (Business Enterprise Program) certifications to be eligible to apply. This entity was also eager to support veteran-owned businesses by imposing a 5% veterans’ goal. This created a unique opportunity to partner with another business and to compete for the contract together. Our partner was a small veteran-owned graphic agency that perfectly complements our services.

You can imagine how rewarding it was to get the award. Not only did this contract open us up to a new client, but finding a new partner makes both of us stronger. This contract resulted in the support of two small disadvantaged Illinois businesses. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in teaming up or just curious about the world of government contracting in general!

There’s A New Kid on the Block!

We first brought Gabriel on as an intern a little over a year ago where he quickly showed a penchant for humor and writing. Starting with just a few social media posts and blogs for clients, Gabriel quickly began writing full scripts for our clients’ radio and TV commercials, managing all of our clients’ social media and even drafting website text for the likes of Igor’s Bistro.

After the conclusion of his summer internship, we brought Gabriel on part-time to help out as a marketing assistant, while he finished his senior year at Augustana College here in Rock Island. He kept up his hard work, bringing on clients of his own and tackling the many tasks we threw at him with full force. As the school year began coming to a close we decided to make Gabriel a permanent member of the Media Link family. With great excitement Gabriel accepted and took the next step in his career in marketing and with Media Link.

Gabriel has already worked with a wide variety of clients, opening Media Link up to working with local musicians like Daniel Stratman. In his past, Gabriel worked as a research assistant for David Westman & Associates, LLC where his findings were published in FORUM Magazine. During his time at Augustana, he was the youngest member of a student lead committee to develop a strategic communication and business plan for the on campus Career Development Center (CORE) to help better integrate student workers and interns into projects within the Center, as well as provide them with an early platform for professional development. Gabriel also worked in the Augustana Entrepreneurial Center (EDGE Center), where he helped manage college social media accounts and assist fellow students in developing professional portfolios in the form of personal websites. Upon graduating from Augustana College, Gabriel received his Bachelor’s in Marketing, Political Science and Anthropology as well as a certificate in Non-Profit Leadership.

Gabriel also has an extensive professional music background. Working as the chief audio engineer at WAUG.fm he helped build a new recording studio and broadcast booth. Through WAUG he acted as the recording engineer for the podcast Personal Rejection Letter and has been running professional live audio for more than 7 years. Not to be left out of the action, Gabe enjoys playing guitar and bass in his own bands both in Peoria and the Quad Cities where he was a featured artist for the local music festival, Slough Fest. Whenever asked where his clear love of music comes from, he is always quick to tell stories about his father teaching him the roots and playing in bands together.

When he’s not working or playing music, you can find Gabe wrenching on his car, racing with the local SCCA Autocross group or building gaming and video editing computers with his friends.

Internship Experience – Ny Ny Le

Before starting this marketing internship, I did not have any specific expectation, because I did not have much experience in the marketing and advertising industry. I came in the first day with an open mind and eagerness to learn as much as possible. Looking back, I am now surprised by how much I have grown, not only intellectually, but also personally after the internship.

In terms of knowledge and skills, I have been acquainted with many technical terms in the industry, especially in media buying such as avails, need rates, GRP, CPM, etc. I handled tasks that were essentially important to the company such as generating proposals, checking media buy affidavits, proposing social media copy, etc. Therefore, I feel that I am a part of the team and I have something significant to contribute to the company’s development. During the internship, I worked almost everyday with Media Link Software® (MLS), Media Link’s proprietary media buying software, and I really enjoyed it. MLS made things so much easier, because everything was put in one place. I could import avails, vendor information, generate proposals and check affidavits on one platform instead of using tons of spreadsheets.

In addition to gaining significant skills and knowledge of the marketing industry, I have also achieved personal growth after the internship. By having hands-on experiences, I get to know what I enjoy doing and what I do not like. In other words, I am more aware of myself and my passion, thus it will help me make better choices for my future career. I am also more confident in myself, not only because I’ve gained new skills, but also because I have been encouraged to ask questions, to raise my opinions about given tasks, and to recommend changes for improvement.

Everyone was so helpful and tried their best to accommodate my wish for learning new things. I know I will miss my supervisors and my colleagues who have helped me to become who I am today. I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity to have had this internship experience.

Community Involvement

Whether you provide financial assistance, marketing or other services, your business contributes to strengthening the community where you live. So, we have a solid interest in being part of a thriving social and economic environment. Community involvement can accomplish exactly that, but there are other reasons why individuals, as well as businesses, should be actively involved:

Networking
Whether you participate in local Chamber events or are actively involved in the non-profit sector, community involvement is always a great opportunity to network. You would be surprised how you are connected to other individuals you’ve never met. So, introduce yourself and have a pleasant conversation.

Branding
We all know the importance of supporting local businesses, especially if you are one of them. Many potential clients can choose between a wide range of competitors providing similar services, and actively giving back to the community without expecting anything in return can make a great impression and result in business opportunities.

Hiring
Chances are good that you and your fellow volunteers share similar values and world views. This information is worth gold when it comes to adding to your team! It allows you to draw from a pool of engaged, selfless, and motivated individuals you have already worked with on a project. Who needs a reference, if you have already seen an applicant’s drive and professionalism in action?

Teambuilding
Community involvement is a great opportunity for teambuilding. Organizations like the United Way are frequently organizing events where an entire firm can participate. Assemble your coworkers and clean up downtown or dedicate a night to helping out in a soup kitchen. These activities will bring you and your team closer together than ever.

Learn more about how the Media Link Team is involved in the Quad Cities community and beyond here.

Welcome to Our New Website

Websites have become a second store front for most businesses. They provide cheap and easy access to information about your firm and its services/products and can also be an opportunity to contact you immediately either online or by phone.

Just as products and services need to adjust to customers’ constantly changing preferences, so do websites. This is why we at Media Link, Inc. are introducing our new website with a fresh look and concept.

The homepage gives you an overview of who we are and what we do. It displays our memberships, social media presences, and a couple of testimonials. It also provides links to blogs, information about our services, and access to our E-Blast to stay in touch.

The heart of a website consists of the sites talking about services and products. They need to be precise and intuitive to navigate. Our “Services” site summarizes what we offer and provides further links to our specific services in case you would like to know more about certain topics. In our case, these topics are:

Other elements of the website include sites about “Our Team”, “Media Link Software™”, “Certifications”, and our “Portfolio”. Needless to say, the web tree and design of a website always depends on the kind of business you are. It can be conservative or adventurous. Everything is possible.

Contact Media Link if you have any questions about website design or our services. We are here to help!

Internship Experience – Bri Hanes

If you told me I would be helping with market research for national organizations, generating proposals, or attending a network premiere event, I never would have believed you. I did not know what to expect on my first day as a marketing intern for Media Link, Inc., but I knew I wanted to do more than just run errands, file papers, or make coffee. Media Link, Inc. was that opportunity for me; the opportunity to gain hands on knowledge about the marketing and advertising industry.

Through my internship experience, I was able to work on a variety of projects that were genuinely important to the company and the clients. I was tasked with invoices, proposals, affidavits, social media posts, research, and other vital parts to the overall process. With the projects I was trusted with, I felt essential and like I was a part of a team. I am still amazed by the knowledge I have gained in just one summer.

I am grateful I was able to expand my marketing vocabulary and learn the everyday terms used in this field. This experience has familiarized me with a wide range of marketing terms and strategies, from writing blog posts and social media content to learning about SEO and attracting a target demographic. My supervisor and everyone else in the office established a comfortable environment right away, so I was never apprehensive about asking questions and learning new information. I looked forward to coming into the office each week.

My time with Media Link, Inc. prepared me for life after graduation and opened up more opportunities for success. This was my first real life experience with the marketing industry–outside of textbooks and academic clubs on campus. I feel I am better equipped for a career in this field and thank Media Link, Inc. for giving me the tools to be successful.

The Media Link Internship Program

We recognize the mutual benefits of a strong and structured internship program. Interns have the opportunity to discover both an industry and a company which enables them to further narrow down their future professional path. They gain valuable insights, and by doing so, provide new perspectives to businesses. Having a diverse base of interns also stimulates intergenerational and multicultural exchange necessary for innovation and growth.

Find more about the benefits of internship programs here:

Media Link’s internship program consists of 144 hours per internship. We take time getting to know our interns from the start, so we can create an individualized bundle of responsibilities and tasks to improve the skills necessary for their future careers. Some of our interns like to focus on creative tasks such as copy writing and social media; others prefer the data driven nature of market research and tracking campaign success – our goal is to create a good fit.  Although, we do believe everybody should experience each task at least once to gain a fully rounded internship experience.  Interns meet with our internship coordinator on a regular basis to talk about their progress and to adjust tasks where needed.

Around 10 students run though our internship program each year.  We are so proud to see their growth and see where their path after graduation takes them.  Over the last few years, we have extended our mentoring into a part-time position for those interns who have exhibited a special passion for our field. This ensures they have the opportunity to continue to grow both personally and professionally to help them better prepare to be our next generation of marketing professionals.

Welcome Jennifer

We are pleased to welcome Jennifer Carter to our team! She brings over 20 years of combined marketing, sales, customer service, event planning, and management experience to Media Link, Inc. Jennifer graduated from Bellevue University in Omaha with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management. Prior to joining Media Link, Jennifer had a successful career working with Lee Enterprises for 12 years; 4 of those years at The Pantagraph in Bloomington, Illinois and 8 most recently at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa. Over the years, Jennifer has taken on multiple roles in advertising sales and sales management. She not only developed a great understanding of clients’ needs, she has helped develop and implement many successful print, digital and social media campaigns and long term relationships. She now has both the perspective from a media vendor standpoint and a media buying agency standpoint allowing her to create cost-efficient multi-media campaigns. In addition, her role in event planning has been pivotal, as she helped orchestrate the media partnerships, sales, marketing and event planning for the well-attended career fairs in the Quad Cities from 2009-2016.
Jennifer has been a member of the Great River Human Resource Association since 2013 and has served on the new membership committee from 2014-2016. She was also a “Big Sister” in the Big Brothers, Big Sisters lunch buddy program for 2 years.
Feel free to give her a call and say “Hi” at 309-786-5142!