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Local company offers big time Internet management for small budgets



Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Guy Edwards, owner of Brainjar Media, works at his office in downtown Gresham. The southeast Portland resident moved into the second floor of the historic building on Main Avenue three years ago.

Philosophically, the term “ brain in a jar” refers to a focused thinking environment.

Techno-analysts go one step further, by believing if they could connect their brains to a computer, their ability to process information and problem solve could be expedited exponentially.

Meet Guy Edwards, owner of Brainjar Media, a 4-year-old Gresham marketing company committed to helping small businesses increase Internet visibility via their website and social media.

Edwards is an affable guy, with an eye for small detail, who is constantly plugged in to the needs of his clients.

“One of the things I’m proud of is that I can speak in English — no Star Trek-techno jargon,” he said. “I’ve worked in advertising all my life but I’m a big fan of technology. What I’ve been able to do is scale down what we would do for a big business, to fit a small business, and help you compete locally on a budget you can afford.”

Brainjar Media’s small tidy office hardly resembles the den of a techno geek, even though Edwards refers to himself as one. From a second floor perch overlooking Main Avenue and downtown Gresham, Edwards is never far from taking the pulse of neighboring small businesses. Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Edwards, who enjoys the view and sounds from his office, calls each clients Internet marketing needs a puzzle. Among local merchants, Brainjar has done work for Gresham Animal Hospital, Origins Coffee, Tea and Desserts and Billy Bobs.

A southeast Portland resident, Edwards grew up in Hillsboro. His lifelong passion for art led to work in graphic design, about the same time the Internet was born.

“Everybody thought I was going to be an animator for Disney because I was always drawing something,” Edwards said. “Computers, to me, were a hobby. Since I grew up with the technology, I thought I’d be illustrating comic books someday. But once I started designing websites 17 years ago, my art became my hobby.”

Edwards attended the Chicago Art Institute for two years, dropping out after a website he developed for an investment company was featured in the Wall Street Journal.

“I was pretty full of myself,” he said, laughing.

Between 2003 and 2005, Edwards spent time in advertising, moving into marketing and finally, began developing online MBA courses for the University of Texas and Oregon Technical Institute.

Eventually, he ended up as the in-house marketing guru for Pendleton Woolen Mills.

“My job was to determine how many coats the company sold in Arizona and whether that was a viable market,” he said. “Their stores were all in tourist areas, so the tourists were the ones buying them. It wasn’t that (Pendleton) wasn’t selling any coats in Arizona — it was because they didn’t supply them with enough coats to sell to the tourists.”

Edwards founded Brainjar Media in 2010, gradually working his way across the metro-area until he landed in Gresham three years ago.

Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Edwards built his first website 17 years ago when dialup modems were used during the advent of the Internet. He spent several years in graphic design, advertising and marketing before launching Brainjar Media four years ago. Though he has worked and continues to do work for major national companies, his heart is with small businesses.

“If you’re not Intel or McDonald’s, you won’t have the budget for long-term marketing,” he said. “But with social media and technology now, you can be a big player locally. Every new client is like a puzzle and that excites me.”

But Brainjar isn’t simply a launching pad for commercial websites. Edwards learns what the business’ goals are with Internet marketing, analyzes what local and national competitors are doing and researches how consumers are already using a company’s website. For example, Edwards believes that the use of color and eye-catching website design creates a buzz that attracts additional hits to the site and brings attention to the business.

But often times, he said, it may be simply a matter of adding new key words aimed at including the business in broader Google searches.

“I make sure that a website is relevant to what the business is,” Edwards said. “We don’t just take care of your Yelp presence or your Facebook presence. We take care of all your social media — YouTube, Twitter, blogging. We can personalize the level of social media presence based on what the client’s needs are. Basically, we are using tools to do the marketing so you don’t have to.” Photo Credit: OUTLOOK PHOTO: TROY WAYRYNEN - Edwards understands the budget constraints facing small business owners when it comes to boosting their Internet impact. Brainjars mission is to build juice and visibility for clients.

For small business owners, competing in the digital arena is often low on the list of priorities simply because of the time involved to tweak their website and tweet about it. And frequently, the services of a consultant are not likely a line item in the budget.

Edwards and Brainjar Media provide that oversight so sole proprietors don’t lose their minds.

“I’m proud that we’re able to scale things for small business,” Edwards said. “I can tell you that after four years, we’ve got the secret sauce. We won’t tell anybody what the 11 herbs and spices are though.”

Things to know

WHAT: Brainjar Media

WHERE: 109 N. Main Ave., Suite 109, Gresham

FACTS: Internet marketing for business; website design and management of web presence, with an ongoing analysis to boost business through social media. Costs vary according to services needed.

Call: 503-929-7436.

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