With a new look and focus on established brands, it’s a new day at Sunrise Advertising.

The full-service advertising agency marked its 10th anniversary this year with its own rebranding that grew out of strategic planning effort, says Brian McHale, CEO of the 20-person agency.

“Many ad agencies try to be all things to all people. Sometimes you can be good at that and sometimes you’re not. I’m a firm believer in focusing the business,” says McHale.

Sunrise emphasizes its ability to energize established brands, a theme on its website and in its promotional materials.

“It’s a strength of the agency, if you look at the clients we’ve been successful with,” says McHale, who ran Empower MediaMarketing for a decade before acquiring Sunrise about five years ago.

It’s evident in some of the firm’s best known clients such as Skyline Chili, Bob Sumerel Tire, First Financial Bank and Curly’s Barbecue, part of the John Morrell Food Group.

It’s also part geography, says McHale.

“We’re in the Midwest and when you look at the types of brands in the Midwest, there are a lot of established brands here.”

Being an established brand doesn’t always mean being around for 50 or 100 years.

“An established brand is a brand that has developed enough to have a place in the hearts and minds of their customers,” says McHale.

If you’re a business owner, when should you think about energizing your brand? If you wait until sales start to weaken, it may be too late, says McHale.

“Everybody’s changing the way they want to receive information from an advertising standpoint,” he says. “One way you can tell is if customers start wanting information in a different way than the way you’ve been communicating to them.”

Another sign, he says, is if customers are looking for more coupons and marketing materials online and you don’t provide that.

“If they are in the social media space and you’re not there, it’s time to start thinking: Is my brand relevant? My product might be still be good, but I may not be speaking my customer’s language. Or, I might be speaking in a medium where they’re not spending a lot of time.”

Another warning sign is not seeing new customer trials or doing enough to attract them.

Sunrise has a process it calls “trial rocket” to build customer awareness, understanding and finally consideration.

For one restaurant client wanting to boost sales in some fringe markets, Sunrise adopted a completely different media buying approach.

Rather than a big media buy, he says, “We took a more geo-focused approach around different locations to make sure what we were saying, when we were saying it, and how we were saying it was extremely relevant to the people most likely to be coming in to that restaurant on a regular basis.”

Moving into 2014, McHale says Sunrise’s approach is resonating with clients. The firm recently added a new account, Dayton-based Morris Furniture and Ashley Furniture. He senses businesses are focusing more on their advertising and brand message. “That’s a great sign for us and a good sign for the economy in general.”

The firm's website is sunriseadvertising.com.