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Annex Comics Taps Social Media to Boost its Base

Around since the 80s, Annex Comics flourishes in 2012, due in large part to the way in which owner Wayne Quackenbush took the social media bull by the horns to promote the fine (and funny) art of comic books.

Here’s Part I of our two-part interview.

NIM: Wayne Quackenbush, I can’t think of a better name to stick onto a Web domain than Quackenbush, but you’re Annex Comics. How long has the Annex been around?

WQ: I started working at the Annex in 1994, and bought it from the owner in 1998. I had an extensive background in retail, having managed several photo-processing and video stores in NYC.

NIM: What’s photo processing? Just kidding. So you’re a savvy retailer who likes new media. Are you a wave-rider in your business, or does the Annex rely on your fan base/repeat customers for its success?

WQ: We’ve ridden through fads over the years, made a lot of changes and experimented with product as much as possible. I introduced video sales and rentals, for instance. The Annex was the first store in the state to go all DVD, and now we have dinosaur status because we’re the last store in Rhode Island to offer DVD rentals.

NIM: That’s very cool, Wayne. I miss the excitement of going to a place and renting something. Speaking of dinosaurs, a few businesses still have yet to embrace social media as a genius marketing tool. But you have. Tell us how you market Annex these days, and how that’s different from before.

WQ: I used to run occasional ads in the local papers, I put up flyers for events and got interviewed in local magazines and on public access TV. Word-of-mouth was and is most effective.

NIM: And what’s faster at getting words out of mouths than Facebook? Your store has quite the presence there. You have a Facebook page for your store, and a Web page for Annex Art Society.

NIM: Before I started following (stalking?!!) you on Facebook, I thought of your clientele as the hipster/nerd/geek squad. Am I on- or off-base?

WQ: My customer base fits the categories named but there’s more. A general description would be male, college educated, mostly in their 20s and 30s.

NIM: How to you market to the Kids who know everything and think everything’s “whatever”?

WQ: I always try to shock and amaze. The store markets a sense of wonder.

NIM: What’s shocking or amazing at the Annex these days?

WQ: I think people would be surprised at the inroads we’ve achieved in promoting local artists via Facebook through our daily artistic challenges, where artists all over the world participate, and our efforts to encourage creativity, especially in young people.

NIM: How do you reach the young’uns?

WQ: The Annex showcases at least 30 artists a year in our galleries. I work with local high schools in artistic intern programs and I teach a drawing class in the store every Saturday morning.

NIM: Well it must be fun, if people are getting anyone under 80 out of bed Saturday mornings! I think that’s great.

NIM: It takes a lot of effort to man those contests because they are so popular! And social media gives people lots of access to your wall. Why has the response to these contests been so great and how do you keep up with them?

WQ: Personally, the daily Art Challenge is a kind of creative calisthenics, an exercise to keep my brain hopping. I know a few others feel the same way. Plus, humans are social creatures, and it’s extremely gratifying to connect in this way and share images and ideas.

NIM: Isn’t that the beauty of social media? It allows you to actually have fun while you promote your business and grow your numbers. And, it gets people in your door who might otherwise just have walked by, had they not seen the quality of the art that’s being posted on your timeline.

Installment II: Facebook, Zombies, hashtags, and more!

Visit Annex Comics in real life at 314 Broadway in Newport, or go to https://www.facebook.com/annex.comics

 


Innovatour: Athletic Standard Helps Recruiters I.D. Student-Athletes

Athletic Standard Logo Rhode Island-based Athletic Standard simplifies the college athlete recruiting process, resulting in a win-win for both student-athletes and the institutions where they will pursue higher education and athletics.

Through certified athleticism and athletic potential testing, Athletic Standard provides potential players a gateway to college coaches across the country. Testing is based on the EPIC Index, which was used by a major Division 1 university to win more than 25 national championships in 25 years.

Via social media, Athletic Standard registers prospective college athletes’ information and test results into a database that can be accessed by coaches across the nation. The coaches are able to view a complete athletic profile, which includes academic records, videos of students on the field or court, and more.

Athletic Standard is revolutionizing the youth athletic market through this testing. If an athlete wants a recruiting edge then Athletic Standard is a must.” –Steve Gibbs, Hoop Mountain Basketball.

Hoop Mountain Basketball is one of Athletic Standard’s key players. With numerous locations throughout the country, facilitators of these programs assist scholastic basketball players in meeting their athletic and academic goals. The testing tool also provides student-athletes with maximum exposure to college and prep school scouts, which is a crucial connection for prospective players. Other key players include Noble and Greenough School and Elite 75, which is specific to New England.

Athletic Standard benefits Rhode Island by preventing nationwide coaches from overlooking the small state’s potential athletes. It gives coaches outside of our state the opportunity to observe the talents of students whom they might not have access to otherwise.

Who are Athletic Standard’s key players?

  • Their key players are Mountain Hoop Basketball, Elite 75 New England and Noble and Greenough School.

What is the Process Athletic Standard uses?

  • ATHLETIC STANDARD can help simplify the college recruiting process by testing and registering potential college athletes for free onto a secure database that can be seen by college coaches from all over the country. Coaches will have a certified athletic test score as well as a complete athletic profile including academic records, game video, and more. (athleticstandard.com)

How does Athletic Standard benefit Rhode Island student-athletes?

  • Allows students to be matched with Rhode Island colleges.
  • It helps high school and club coaches looking to provide opportunities for athletes.
  • It helps college coaches who want to take advantage of the recruiting process a high school or club coach looking to provide o

Why do you personally find it interesting?

  • I personally find it interesting because I have never heard of this type of organization. Rhode Island can benefit from this because it is the smallest state and high school athletes can be overlooked. I think the website is a great and safe way to help coaches and athletes in the right direction.

Alexa O’Rourke and Claudia Blanco

Newport Interactive Marketing

Verbal Branding: Newport Interactive Marketers Networking

Stephen Melanson opened the attendees’ eyes to the importance of Verbal Branding. The seminar focused on concise messaging.

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