Bradford Media Group is doing interesting things in West Chester
Tightly integrating video and social media marketing

Tom Paine

Brad Heureux and Matt McGlynn in BMG's studio
(Source: BMG)  

Bradford Media Group, located in the middle of West Chester near the corner of Market and High Streets, has a model that's different from many social media agencies. The innovative agency has a passion for integrating social media with video production to meet its client's needs, and is trying out new formats that marry the combination.

It is perhaps not surprising that BMG's founder & CEO, Brad Heureux, has a multimedia emphasis in his background, having had considerable experience with Comcast, where among other things he help build what ultimately became known as Comcast Spotlight (its cable advertising sales unit) into an industry juggernaut. He also founded and ultimately sold Off The Wall Productions, a pioneering multi-platform marketing company, and helped launch PAXTV, a TV Network later acquired by NBC. He started up BMG in 2009.

BMG defines itself as having three primary components: Studio BMG, which creates original media production including branded entertainment series, product videos, and episodic programming for multiple platforms including social media and television; BMG Social, the agency’s social media platform management arm utilizing social strategy and custom application development; and BMG Reach, which specializes in creating individualized and targeted online advertising campaigns designed to drive specific audiences to the customized video and social content. In other words, the three parts are all intended to function in a tightly integrated manner together in support of meeting customers' objectives. BMG also has its own inhouse production studio.

BMG is big on using Facebook, although they employ other social media platforms as well; Pinterest is becoming very important for them, they tell me. It manages Facebook Fan Pages for about 80 clients, Heureux told me in a phone interview, and each one includes a Studio BMG-produced video element. BMG doesn't target a specific vertical niche, and works with both consumer-facing and business to business brands. Heureux says there are probably some 12 million companies (in the US), who need to have brand pages with a professional image on Facebook, and BMG is out to help many of those who don't have the inhouse resources to maintain that kind of presence by themselves.

BMG's senior staff, in addition to Heureux, includes Matthew McGlynn, Director of Operations and a Temple (Tyler School of Art) grad, who might be described as the chief digital person; Rachel Burke, another Temple graduate who was just promoted to Director of Social Media; and Leslie Nichols, a Conestoga High grad with some Hollywood TV producing credits who returned home and, after working for WPVI and running her own company, joined Bradford as executive video producer for Studio BMG (see recent MainLine Times profile). Lara (Toscani) Weems, another Conestoga alum who had previously worked for Comcast Spectacor and has also handled some assignments for the Harlem Globetrotters, serves as Marketing Manager. BMG currently has 16 employees, and also has a New York outpost.

Julie Roehm

Julie Roehm, who became Senior Vice President - Marketing for SAP early this year, is a Partner at BMG (and an investor) and serves as a strategic advisor (Correction: BMG tells me that while Roehm does have some equity in the firm, she has not made a financial investment in it). Roehm, who has a reputation for being a marketing whiz, had her short tenure running marketing communications for Wal-Mart end in considerable controversy in 2006. In a recommendation she made on LinkedIn last year, Roehm wrote: "Having advised BMG Media, I can say that this group is performing some of the most interesting and credible work in the field of e-commerce for social media. They are really starting to crack the code on the idea of QVC for social media".

Two projects are good examples of where BMG may be heading. One is the Studio BMG-produced social media-driven TV show, "Life Around Home", which launched in April on the digital channel NBC Philadelphia Nonstop. The lifestyle show, which covers subject such as organic living, do-it-yourself projects, home organization, fitness, style and fashion, and parenting, chooses its content based on posts to its Facebook page and other social network presences, and also responds to other posts. BMG hopes to roll the concept out to other markets. CEO Heureux calls it "a completely new model of show production".

Another example is the hyper-local approach BMG is taking in developing a Facebook Fan Page for its home town of West Chester. Studio BMG will use original video production to tell the stories of public and advertiser events, all housed in custom applications within the community created by the company’s social media arm, BMG Social. BMG Reach, the marketing arm, will place online adverting and promotional campaigns to drive traffic to these West Chester stories. The page will also include a (free) directory of businesses, restaurants, and events located in the West Chester area, to be launch within a few weeks. It sounds almost as if BMG wants to reinvent the Yellow Pages on Facebook, something Yellow Page publishers have never been very successful in doing .

Heureux is watching the M&A activity involving many of the big players in the social media business with interest. For example, one company he works with is Vitrue, which Oracle recently announced it would acquire. But BMG is not heavily dependent on any one social media marketing platform. In terms of its own strategy, while BMG may develop some proprietary technology, my sense is they are much more focused on creating proprietary content vehicles, through which customer content can be packaged and distributed.


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