"Giving a retailer the tools to go out and become a local publisher is one thing," CEO Jamie Tedford says. "Giving them the consulting services to become better publishers and teach their operators to become better publishers, then teach them to amplify – this is a process."
But Brand Networks is still relatively early in its foray into social media advertising. The company started as an app developer, as did many companies in the Facebook ecosystem (Buddy Media, Vitrue). It then expanded into social media presence, driven by Facebook's decision to make Pages the hub of its marketing platform. The company refers to its combined tools as the Social Marketing Stack.
When it comes to paid media, Brand Networks tends to view ads as a means to amplify social app activity and page posts, primarily to drive actions on Facebook. Not surprisingly, Tedford says it has not engaged with Facebook Exchange to date.
In addition to retail clients, Brand Networks has a second line of business, helping companies with loyalty marketing programs identify their customers on Facebook and merge social data with their database files.
As part of its investment, AEA appointed three members to Brand Networks' board – two partners and one independent investor. It didn't disclose whether founders or other equity holders had taken money off the table as part of the funding round.