Last month, I, along with two others from Stone Ward attended the annual Advertising and Marketing Independent Network (AMIN) conference in Antwerp, Belgium hosted by Intracto. Stone Ward, while an independently owned agency, is part of the AMIN network which consists of approximately 50 agencies around the globe that partner with each other on a non-competitive basis in order to educate each other, create efficiencies with tools and grow our business. It also allows our agency to provide global support, if needed to any client right here from Arkansas

I always look forward to attending these conferences, which allow me to reconnect with colleagues I’ve met from past events and form new relationships within AMIN. While networking is an important part of these meetings, even more importantly is the content that is presented at each conference.

Band at the 2019 AMIN Conference in Antwerp, Belgium

2019 AMIN Conference Highlights: Members Look Ahead to Trends and Challenges 

This year’s conference theme was Challenging our Reality. This theme “challenged” us to take a deeper dive into trends that are affecting our business and learn how our AMIN partners are handling them in cities across the U.S. and around the world to bring that insight back to our own clients. Looking at these trends and gaining insights from others helps Stone Ward stay ahead of the pack, and leverage ideas for our clients in ways we may not have previously thought about without this partnership.

The Ever-Growing Insurgence of Video

While no surprise here, one of the main topics was video’s continued effectiveness in a good digital marketing strategy. As consumers ourselves, we all know videos tend to be more engaging and memorable than static images. In our industry the use of video is a “must have” and not optional as it was before.

Many platforms are even prioritizing video over static due to its importance and power with consumers. The use of video in marketing strategies can take on many forms – presentations, vlogs, testimonials, tutorials, product reviews, traditional ads, etc. – and all have their place based on the end goal of the campaign and work together to get a message across.

We walked away with ideas around integrated video content that can help build our clients’ businesses. The benefit to Stone Ward, and to our clients, is our in-house partner 360 Filmworks. We already create award-winning videos for our clients. Now our challenge is to create these videos in shorter timeframes and with smaller budgets in order to keep our audiences engaged in the future.

AMIN Conference Group picture in Antwerp, Belgium 2019

Leveraging Influencers to Grow Your Brand

A tactic within an overall strategy, influencer marketing is seeing a rise in helping brands engage with audiences and creating loyal followers. Unlike the celebrities in simple endorsement ads, influencers have a large following in social media.

Finding those influencers in a niche area and having them help boost your brand can be an impactful tactic. Now more than ever, these partnerships need to be more strategic and work in tandem with other campaign tactics such as public relations and organic social, making sure your influencer content is integrated across other channels such as email, CRM and traditional/digital advertising.

This is especially true when your brand is global in scale as each country will have its own influencer and messaging strategy that works with those particular audiences. Making sure you pick the right influencer is a high priority as it will become tougher with the number of influencers increasing year-over-year.

Connecting With Other Thought Leaders to Grow Your Brand

The benefits our AMIN membership provides are too many to list. These benefits help us serve our clients locally, regionally and nationally, even internationally if needed.

Do you need a solution to a problem? If so, send me a message at and we can talk more about how Stone Ward can help and if needed bring in other AMIN partners to help find the perfect solution. Interested in learning more about what we do? Check out our blog to find video content, case studies, and more!