By any definition, Overseas Media Group’s (OMG) first year in business has been a success. From custom web development and design, social media strategies, SEO services and brand awareness — OMG has broken the myth that locally owned digital companies cannot stack up to the corporate offerings out of bigger cities. 

So how did a small, locally-owned Keys company immediately compete with the metropolitan goliaths? It began with one mission, which was to apply a “quality over quantity” approach to its clients. Today, the quality has become apparent for businesses across the Keys.

The organization was started in late 2020 with just three staff members: chief operations officer Annie Briening along with Jason Koler and Britt Myers, who both also serve as co-owners of Keys Weekly Media, which spans from Key Largo to Key West. 

“I knew Jason and Britt for many years and we discussed the need for a locally owned digital company on several occasions,” said Briening. “But I was sold on the idea once I realized the emphasis would be on ‘one client at a time’ with a focus on quality and service.” 

Briening added that digital companies often face two pitfalls — they can either grow too quickly and their ability to service clients suffers, or most commonly, under-qualified individuals offer general digital services to companies but lack the qualifications and expertise that is needed. 

Within 12 months, OMG doubled its staff, launched 15 websites and won accolades — specifically, the 2021 Newcomer Award from the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce.

“The Marathon Chamber of Commerce hired OMG to handle the lion’s share of our digital marketing campaign for a new event, Florida Keys BrewBQ,” said chamber executive director Daniel Samess. “OMG staff also built us a website from scratch for the event. We could not be more pleased with the results. We have a well-functioning, attractive website, as well as social media pages OMG also created and managed for us.”

Briening is proud of their progress in such a short amount of time.And while digital services can seemingly appear confusing on the surface, she says her job is to provide continued service and communication — and make websites, SEO, social media and other digital elements easy and efficient for her clients.

“I’m excited about our quality over quantity approach, about how we wrap our arms around our clients,” she said. “We build close relationships and have fun with it. One of my proudest accomplishments is when our client considers us a part of their team.”

Over the past year, OMG has hired new staff members Maison Benitez, social media manager/digital strategist; Marla Orlowski, website designer/developer; and Chanice Dos Santos, media manager/content creator.

Koler said the impetus behind the founding of OMG was partly created by the pandemic as more and more businesses (including Keys Weekly) delved farther into digital marketing.  

“There just wasn’t a quality digital solution for clients of the Weekly,” he said. “We grew frustrated with the quality of content and service our clients were receiving and we heard them asking for solutions almost daily. We simply got tired of sending our clients to a company that wouldn’t call them back — or operated out of Chicago or Miami and never set foot in the Keys. How can you service a client, and better yet, tell their story, if you don’t live here and visit them with consistency?” 

OMG clients range from restaurants and local events to Realtors and nonprofits. But for Myers and Koler, it all began with one cornerstone in mind — Briening. 

“Britt and I always knew the service was needed, but the trick was to find a locally respected business person, with the digital talents to compete with anyone in the world,” said Koler. “Our success is measured by Annie and her team’s hard work and that shows in our clients’ satisfaction. The referrals we’ve received in such a short amount of time is humbling and satisfying.”

Myers echoed Koler’s evaluation, but emphasized the job is never complete, which is why the service component is so important. 

“Look, anyone can claim to be a digital expert,” said Myers. “Even for those who don’t outsource their services, how many times do you see businesses using an employee or a nephew to handle their social media? It just doesn’t work. A real digital plan takes expertise, strategies, daily attention and communication. A website and social media tells your business’ story. And to tell your story, someone needs to know you, your staff, your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s why we brought Annie in to lead this company — she shares our commitment to locals.” 

Briening graduated from Pennsylvania’s East Stroudsburg University with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in art and design, moved to Key West in 2006 with her now-husband and hasn’t looked back. She worked in marketing for nine years at First State Bank and built a foundation of business relationships through her work with local organizations. She serves as a board member of the Key West Chamber of Commerce.

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Charlotte Twine fled her New York City corporate publishing life and happily moved to the Keys six years ago. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Allure, and Offshore magazines; Elle.com; and the Florida Keys Free Press. She loves her two elderly Pomeranians, writing stories that uplift and inspire, making children laugh, the color pink, tattoos, Johnny Cash, and her husband. Though not necessarily in that order.