BrandMill Wins First Place PRSA Award

A few weeks ago, at the Public Relations Society of America Renaissance Awards ceremony on Pittsburgh, our new Engagement Manager Amber Walker and I received a first place Renaissance award for ‘Best Press Kit’ – and placed third for ‘Best in Show’ – for Idlewild & SoakZone’s 135th season opening.

Having a great client like Idlewild who challenges, supports and agrees to ideas helps a ton to create a winning marketing ideas.

And, we’re always amazed to discover that so many brands fail to see the positive light within themselves to amplify and promote.

This isn’t the first time that Idlewild & SoakZone’s press kits have earned industry recognition, we won a few years back too.

If you’re doing ‘remark’able things and want people to make positive remarks about your brand, consider creating an award winning press kit to amplify
your good news! Here’s how!

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15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day

As a 50 percenter of Irish blood and a serial marketing professional, I thought I’d offer you dear reader, my 15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day to help you find your little pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow!

And, I’ll offer them quickly because I shouldn’t even be working this hard today as I’m 17 days away from – and preparing for – St. Patrick’s Day which is one of my many “high holy days” – and there’s a Guinness pint with my name of it at my favorite Pittsburgh Irish pub (Riley’s Pour House) and it’s getting warm! So here you go!

1. Green Marketing Lesson One – Making Money. Always keep money (making it or saving it) front and center of any marketing campaign. If you know anything about the Irish (and I do growing up in a large extended family), the majority have experienced challenging economic times and know the value of a dollar. So, incorporating zero based budgeting into your marketing processes will help you become more creative and help you do a lot more for less. 

2. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Sustainability. These days when you hear brands talk about sustainability, it’s related to the environment, but the basic pure definition of sustainability is “the capacity to endure.” Using the same color in your marketing communications reinforces your brand, makes your marketing work harder for you and enables your marketing to endure.

3. Green Marketing Lesson Two – Color. Design and color can help you communicate a great deal. Red – hot, stop; Blue – cool. etc., Keep in mind that all colors also come in a great deal of shades so don’t be boring and predictable.  Green has about 50 unique shades.

4. Create Multi-Sensory Emotional Appeals (e.g., appeal to people’s five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell). In a prior post about, “Marketing with Sound,” I discussed the awesome power of sound, but you should also consider all of the ways you can appeal to your customer’s five senses. St. Patrick’s Day appeals them all with color, strong visuals of parades, people having fun; taste of ethnic foods like corned beef and cabbage and drink (pints of Guinness and shots of Jameson) etc.,

5. Appeal to One’s Ethnic Heritage. There’s nothing wrong with appealing to people’s ethnic heritage – net, different strokes for different folks.  In fact, it’s a growing and popular strategy due to our mobile society, immigration, single parent households etc.

Some of this strategy’s keys to success include knowing your market well, being aware of unique cultural nuances, being respectful etc.  Disney’s Epcot Theme Park’s World Showcase is a great example of ethnic marketing, but Denny’s Restaurants’ old Pancake promotion is not.

6. Be Inclusive with Your Marketing. As much of an Irish heritage appeal the holiday provides, St. Patrick’s Day is all-inclusive and welcomes everyone to celebrate – everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!

7. Special Event/Thematic/Celebration/Holiday Marketing. Giving a unique thematic association to your marketing messages makes it easier for your customers to understand you and more immediately recognize you too. Tie-ing in to a major holiday celebration gives your promotion authenticity and a “reason why” you’re holding a sales event.

8. Limited Time Appeal.
Having a hard date against a campaign creates urgency, excitement and traffic. Pretty obvious statement, but many marketers leave far too many campaigns without a clear end date and a sense of urgent appeal.

9. Spokesperson/figurehead/celebrity/image appeal. Having a Saint as your celebrity figurehead ain’t too shabby, but it’s the consistency of using the same appealing celebrity with a unique story is what works.

10. Iconic Marketing – Shamrock – brand, sell, profit. Mickey Mouse’s Ears, Ronald McDonald’s big red shoes, McDonald’s Arches and more.

Shamrocks do the same for today’s holiday – it’s the day’s badge of honor and identification. What’s your badge ID?

11. Rule of Threes. Legend has it that St. Patrick used the common Shamrock to teach the Celtic Pagans about the unique Holy Trinity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – 3 in 1 Godhead.

However, the “rule of three” symbolism in the good man’s teaching is relevant today as well because people’s minds are noisy and limited. Using the rule of three enables you to get them to remember you and buy-in a presentation or product mix selection. Small, medium, large; gold, silver, bronze; 3 bears; 3 blind mice; 3 Stooges (see more examples/proof here) – trust me – the rule of three rocks.

12. Be Positive. You won’t find a more positive group of people that the Irish. Despite all of their “Troubles” who else tells you that you can find a pot ‘o gold at the end of a rainbow? At Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade this past Saturday, people throughout the day referred to the cold constant rain as nothing more, “a little Irish mist!”

13. Be Nice. You’d be hard pressed to find a nicer bunch of people than the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day too.

14. Have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. In this age of “political correctness” the Irish are for the most part a happy and fun bunch and most Irish demeaning jokes bounce of them like water on a duck.

15. Plan Your Luck by Working Hard. In my opinion, “the luck of the Irish” is based on hard work – simple as that. You’ve probably heard the saying, the harder you work the luckier you get!” Well, its true. The majority of Irish are no strangers to hard work and I believe – all things being equal – people that work harder and smarter than their peers will meet with more profitable success in a shorter period of time.

Got to run, my pint is getting warm.

Slan (Gaelic for “farewell for now”)!

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How to Build Trust in Brand You

Regardless of your political party affiliation or candidate preference for the USA Presidential election, I’m sure you’d agree that most voters will choose the man that they trust to be the best qualified and able to get the job done for the country.

Trust is critical to brand success and it is a dangerous deficiency for lots of brands as evidenced by the Gallup poll below.

Note that only 18% of those surveyed highly trust business executives! Building trust is a great way to differentiate your brand and bulletproof it!

The lack of brand trust is the basic reason for the success of customer/brand review brands such as Angie’s List, Consumer Reports, TripAdvisor, Yelp and more!

Gallup’s 2011 Trust Poll

Here for 15 ways you can start to build more trust in your brand today

  1. Be authentic, real, open, honest, kind and considerate
  2. Be consistent, competent, capable and deliver results
  3. Have integrity – do the right ethical things regardless of the consequences – even when no one else is watching
  4. Keep your promises – keep your word – walk your talk – honor your commitments – follow through – be on time
  5. Honor people in their absence – don’t talk behind backs or gossip
  6. Keep confidential things confidential
  7. Communicate your vision, values and expectations as clearly and fully as possible, but be open minded and flexible to change
  8. Create win/win shared goals with your customers and team
  9. Be present with people – actively listen to them
  10. Play no favorites – treat everyone special
  11. Criticize actions not the people – don’t judge
  12. Be understanding, compassionate and forgive and forget mistakes
  13. If you fail or make a mistake, admit to it and fix it, then fix the process and move on
  14. Own problems and take steps to fix them – don’t hide – be visible – be reachable
  15. Be generous and give without any strings attached
In short, keep your word and ‘show and tell’ – provide proof – ust like you did in Kindergarten to get the teacher and kids to like you and your ‘Show and Tell’ presentation!
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How to Build Brand Likeability

There are quite a few marketing lessons you can learn from the USA Presidential election race.For example, how to improve your ‘likeability’ can get you elected and/or have someone repeatedly buy from you.

Likeability is defined as, ‘The property that makes a person or brand likeable, that allows them to be liked.’

Trust and proof that you can deliver on your promises is #1, but all things being equal – especially when you compete in an industry with lots of alternatives – likeability is a key for brands to breakthrough the clutter.

Here are 10 ways to improve your likeability factor

  1. Be nice, kind and considerate
  2. Be giving and help others selflessly
  3. Be happy, positive and optimistic
  4. Be complimentary
  5. Be passionate and have empathy
  6. Be humble
  7. Actively listen
  8. Have good manners,
  9. Control your emotions
  10. Follow the ‘Golden Rule’
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