Karen King, CEO and President of Spawn Ideas, joined Daybreak on Thursday to give Alaska business owners tips on how to thrive in a struggling economy.

King's agency was named the Northwest Region Small Agency of the Year by Advertising Age, a premier publication in the industry. She noted that this award is especially meaningful given the competition in the region like Portland and Seattle.

Spawn Ideas was the Norland Agency for 17 years before they re-branded 4 years ago. King says that taught them a lot about how to run an agency in a wide variety of economic environments.

"We really focused on being the best and making our people proud to be the best... we actually increased our efforts in new business, in innovation," King explains. This included a new innovation practice called Hooligan and a subsidiary called Bore Tide, along with new staff, including outside talent. "It's all about looking out and getting ahead of it...trying to be even better in a time when you're a little challenged."

King says she has three main lessons for other businesses.

"They really need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, and change is uncomfortable," King said. She says that agencies need to see changes as opportunities, not road blocks, for success.

Second, King says that tough times are when businesses should highlight the talents they have to offer. Spawn Ideas invested in a publicist last year, which has helped them become an industry known outside of Alaska that can offer competitive services.

Finally, she says that firms need to prioritize creating quality, distinctive work that sets them apart from the competition. "Make sure that they see the difference in the work that you produce," King explained, "so that they want to work and are proud."

To explore the ad work created by Spawn Ideas, visit its website at spawnak.com.