Pittsburgh Brewing Marketer of the Year

Pittsburgh-brewing-brandmill-iron-city-marketing-awardBrandMill’s marketing partnership with Pittsburgh Brewing Company (brewers of Iron City Beer) helped earn the iconic brand its first Marketer of the Year Award (Consumer Products) from the Pittsburgh American Marketing Association. In BrandMill’s 11-year history, the Pittsburgh marketing firm has earned four Marketer of the Year and one Grand Marketer of the Year Award (performance-based) for its clients!


BUILD TRUST, IMPROVE PRODUCT AND INNOVATE
For the past decade and more, Pittsburgh Brewing Company has undergone multiple ownership changes, bankruptcy and moved its brewing operations 60 miles outside of Pittsburgh to City Brewing in  Latrobe, PA generating a ton of negative feelings and record low sales over many years for this historic Pittsburgh based brand established in 1861.

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-PIRATES-LANDING-BRANDMILLHowever, new Pittsburgh Brewing CEO Brian Walsh felt the time was right to drive favorable awareness about the brand because through his team’s hard work, relationships had been positively re- established with its wholesaler and distributor networks (10+ new sales people on the street vs. 1-2 over the past few years); the new contracted brewery operator was producing a higher quality consistent product (due to more modern equipment); relationships with Pittsburgh’s sports teams (Pirates, Steelers, Penguins) had been reignited and the brand was about to launch a new “craft” line under the name of Block House Brewing.

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-PIRATE-CAN-PRESS-KIT-BRANDMILLMARKETING COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY
With a low, limited budget, BrandMill was charged to create a low cost/high impact “WOW” Communications Strategy to excite the media and regional beer drinkers and to show that Pittsburgh Brewing was here to stay and getting better. Pittsburgh Brewing wanted to demonstrate (offer proof) to its customers and prospective/lapsed customers that they should be proud to know that the brand was back to its exciting innovative times and wanted to re-earn its trust as the favorite beer of Pittsburgh Nation. One press announcement would not suffice and a flurry of media executions was required.

THE FOUNDATIONAL IDEA – PITTSBURGH BREWING COMPANY’S PRESS KIT PLATFORM
BrandMill decided that Pittsburgh Brewing needed a “Press Kit Platform” to communicate and integrate its multiple messages and created a low cost 4X-hit Press Kit Platform. All targeted Pittsburgh Regional Media would receive low cost/high impact (size, color, content) press kits (4x – repeatedly – over 4 consecutive months) to guarantee readership, interest, curiosity, follow-up and coverage.

PITTSBURGH-BLOCK-HOUSE-BREWING-PUMPKIN-ALE-CHOCOLATE-BOCK-BRANDMILL-PRESS-KITPittsburgh Brewing’s Press Kit Platform enabled it to generate quick and extensive favorable brand awareness throughout Western Pennsylvania about the brand’s new product launches of its Pittsburgh Pirates (baseball team) themed cans; its new Block House Brewing (Craft Entry) Brand (i.e., Pumpkin Ale and Double Chocolate Bock); and, its new Red Hot Iron beer to further extend and enhance its brand recognition of the favorite beer of Pittsburgh Nation!


LOW COST, LOW TECH, HIGH IMPACT IDEA
The uniqueness of this Media Kit/s (platform) is that it’s an ‘old school’ low cost and high impact effort wrapped inside a unique platform of four consecutive new brand launches.

BrandMill used common plastic and cardboard mailing tubes to safely transport glass bottles of beer along with a press release and related elements (mnemonic devices) to the production of each beer brand – i.e., themed Pirates cans, Pumpkin Spice candle and Blockhouse key to “unlock the flavor of the Pumpkin Spice brand, and Chocolates and Chocolate scented candle for the Double Chocolate Bock and Red Hot candies for the Red Hot Iron brand.The press kit platform demonstrates to the media the care and seriousness that Pittsburgh Brewing is taking with its announcements – a flurry of positive, exciting and innovative news that the media needs to take notice, because their readers/viewers/listeners will be greatly interested.

 

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-RED-HOT-IRON-BRANDMILL-PRESS-KITFLAWLESS TECHNICAL EXECUTION
The color, graphics, messaging and “surprise and delight’ contents of the Press Kit Platform set it apart from all other communications pieces the media typically receive such as a boring, 1-D press release. The unique sizes of the mailing tubes demands that the recipient open it and discover what’s inside. And, the media thought the effort was clever, fun and interesting and drove their interest in our Pittsburgh Brewing’s NEW NEWS!

 

CAMPAIGN RESULTS
Pittsburgh Brewing’s Press Kit Platform led customers to basically say that, “Wow, it’s great so see Pittsburgh Brewing is back to doing exciting things – I can’t wait to see what’s up next!”

PITTSBURGH-BREWING-MEDIA-TOUR-BRANDMILL

Pittsburgh Brewing earned tremendous regional press coverage from both Print and Broadcast channels. Pittsburgh Brewing’s CEO was interviewed extensively on local business talk shows via Pittsburgh’s CBS and NBC affiliates) channels. Pittsburgh Brewing’s Social Media channels (primarily Facebook) surged to improved performance/traffic by 40%+ with a tremendous, enthusiastic response and without broadcast or print advertising support!Pittsburgh Brewing’s Press Kit Platform helped it to increase its sales throughout Q2-Q3 while the major American Style Lager brands (Budweiser, Coors, Miller) earned negative sales for the same time period throughout the region. In fact, its new Block House Brewing Pumpkin Ale brand sold out in record time!
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Constant Contact Email Marketing All Star

Constant-Contact-email-AllStar-LogoAs a Pittsburgh-based marketing consultancy, for the past 10 years we’ve partnered with Constant Contact to provide our clients with the best online marketing products and services available. You may know Constant Contact as the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small businesses worldwide.

Every year they recognize top performing users with their annual All Star Awards. we’re proud to announce that out of more than 500,000 Constant Contact users, our email marketing work for a great number of clients has earned us another 2013 All Star Award.

If you’re ready to grow your business with award-winning online marketing services, email Stephen Wayhart today or call him at 412.401.0555.

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BrandMill Hits 2 PR Homers at PNC Park

PRSA-Pittsburgh-Best-brandmillAt the annual Public Relations Society of America’s Renaissance Awards ceremony held in Pittsburgh at PNC Park last Monday night, BrandMill won two First Place Awards for Idlewild & SoakZone and the Priory Hospitality Group. It’s our 6th award in 5 years.

Thanks to a great team – Steve Wayhart, Nina Midgley, John Graf (Priory Client/Friend) and Amber Walker.

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Pittsburgh’s Most Memorable TV Commercials

For a fun upcoming story, Managing Editor Jen Curry of  the Pittsburgh Business Times is asking for people’s most memorable Pittsburgh commercial.

So, we decided to take a few nostalgic minutes and come up with our own list.

Madison Avenue has got nothing on the Mad Men and Women of Pittsburgh.

Here’s our take – #1 – no question:

  1. Kennywood Park‘s new Raging Rapids with Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Jack Lambert and broadcaster Myron Cope
  2. Mr Yuk PSA Commercial by Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital in 1971-  scared the heck out of kids.  Here’s a backgrounder.
  3. Eat N Park Christmas Tree – sweet
  4. Joe Said it Would – WTAE-TV Weatherman Joe DiNardo – early 90s – lots of news stations would compete hard with these kinds of commercials featuring broadcast teams and especially weathermen – DiNardo was a Pittsburgh Institution – retired in 1994 – 35 year tenure
  5. KDKA-AM Radio’s K-TEAM John Cigna Commercials here and here
  6. Winky’s – two famous lines – “There’s no Winky’s in Wilmerding’ and ‘Winky’s Makes You Happy to Be Hungry’ – my old boss created these – competed with McDonald’s and others – Big Wink was their ‘Big Mac’
  7. Pittsburgh Pirates Commercial
  8. Iron City Beer – Olympics –  – long version – personal bias – friends Jon Kasunic and Tom Megalis perform and produce
  9. Iron City Beer – Pump an Iron
  10. Iron City Beer – You Can’t Keep an Iron Man Down
  11. IC Light Beer – Gimme the Night Gimme an IC Light – The World’s First Light Beer Ever

Note – Two area hospital commercials I could not find on YouTube were:

  • Children’s Hospital –’Be Glad You Have Children’s’ Campaign and,
  • UPMC’s, ‘Choose a Hospital as if Your Life Depended on it’

Two great campaigns.

And, here are a few ad campaigns that were not locally produced in Pittsburgh, but have significant Pittsburgh ties:

Finally, we tip our hat to home grown Joe Pytka of Braddock, PA who is without a doubt the best television commercial producer EVER!

Among his many award-winning achievements, Joe produced: Bo Knows, Larry and Michael, Michael Jackson Pepsi, This is Your Brain on Drugs and more!

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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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AMA Pittsburgh Hospitality Marketer of the Year

Riley’s Pour House Owner Operator Jim Riley
and BrandMill Managing Partner Stephen Wayhart

We’re excited to announce that our great client and friend – Riley’s Pour House in Carnegie, PA – won the Hospitality Marketer of the Year Award from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Marketing Association.

At a gala luncheon held last week at LeMont restaurant, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Marketing Association, the region’s largest marketing chapter for over 60 years announced its 2012 Marketer of the Year award winners at it’s 6th annual event. And, Riley’s Pour House took first place honors in the Restaurant, Sports, Entertainment, Hospitality, Travel category. The AMA’s annual Marketer of the Year competition was open to any western Pennsylvania-based company, agency, not-for-profit, individual or government organization that developed, implemented, and achieved noteworthy results for a marketing campaign that appeared in the United States.

What’s great about this unique award is that this marketing competition is strictly performance based. And, it’s the third year out of the six years of the event that one of our clients have won this special award (FACT – Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation – Whiskey Rebellion II; Priory Hospitality Group – Grand Marketer of the Year)!

When we helped the Pour House with its Grand Opening back in February, we knew that we had to hit the ground running with not a lot of money or time since St. Patrick’s Day was just a few weeks away and we needed to put in place key marketing strategies, tactics and processes.

We quickly launched a Website, email marketing, social media and public relations plan that immediately drove brand awareness and we’ve never looked back.  In addition, key marketing operational decisions were made for the Pub to be smoke free, have nightly entertainment, reintroduce lunch, add WiFi and add a new chef all contributed to the Pub’s success.

For example, to date, we’ve nearly tripled sales – over and above the previous owner’s numbers – and we increased Website page views by a 27X multiple too!

All of our success helped us earn favorable and well deserved third party recognition too.

In the summer Riley’s Pour House was recognized as the ‘Third Best Pub – Best Irish Pub’ by Pittsburgh Magazine in their annual Best Restaurant’s Reader’s Poll.  A few weeks ago, we won an ‘Irish Echo Hospitality 50’ award in New York. And, just last week on December 7, we earned our third major ‘Shout-out’ of 2012 – Pittsburgh’s Restaurant and Hospitality Marketer of the Year!

Thanks AMA Pittsburgh!

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BrandMill Named Email Marketing All Star

It’s always nice to receive recognition, but it’s especially rewarding to earn a true performance award.

That’s why we’re especially thrilled to be a two-time Constant Contact Email Marketing All Star. We earned the award by helping our client brands realize consistently high open rates greater than 25%, significant click through rates, low bounce rates and more.

Click here for our press release and/or click below to read it.

We’re big fans of Social Media Marketing, but feel many brands and marketing firms neglect the power of email marketing. We find that many brands are too quick to move to the next ‘shiny new thing’ without exploiting other effective tools.

Why do we work so hard to improve our email expertise?

Well, with email marketing’s return-on-investment (ROI) of over $40.00+ to $1.00, investing your time and effort improving your email marketing expertise makes all the good business sense in the world!

Make sure you’re maximizing your email marketing investment.  And, if you need a little coaching, give us a call.

Media Contact:
Stephen Wayhart, BrandMill
stephen.wayhart@brandmill.com
412.401.0555

 BrandMill Named One of Constant Contact’s 2011 Email Marketing All Stars

For the second consecutive year, BrandMill is recognized for achieving exemplary marketing results

 PITTSBURGH, PA — APRIL 2, 2012 – For the second consecutive year, Marketing consulting firm BrandMill® (http://www.brandmill.com) has received the 2011 All Star Award from Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than half a million small organizations worldwide. Each year, a select group of Constant Contact customers are honored with the All Star Award for their exemplary marketing results. BrandMill’s results ranked among the top 10% of Constant Contact’s customer base.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized again by Constant Contact for achieving strong marketing results for our clients,” said BrandMill Managing Partner Stephen Wayhart. “For several years, Constant Contact’s tools have helped us to help our client brands to better manage customer relationships and engagement. And, we look forward to leveraging their resources to more fully develop these relationships in the year ahead.”

Constant Contact customers using any combination of the company’s Email Marketing, Event Marketing, and Online Survey tools are eligible for this award. Constant Contact looked at the following criteria to select this year’s All Stars: frequency of campaigns, events, and surveys; open, bounce, and click-through rates; event registration rates; survey completion rates, se of social media marketing features and use of mailing list sign-up tools.

“There is nothing we like more than to see our customers finding success. It’s the reason Constant Contact was founded, and it’s a thrill to see the fantastic results that our All Stars are achieving,” said Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact. “This group is really leading the charge when it comes to delivering relevant, engaging content that drives real business results. We salute this year’s All Stars for their success, and are honored to have played a part in their achievements.”

ABOUT BRANDMILL
For companies that need to profitably grow revenue and brand loyalty, BrandMill provides a virtual team of marketing experts that deliver actionable integrated marketing solutions and systems.  Unlike a typical Advertising Agency or in–house marketing department with limited personnel and expensive overhead, BrandMill draws from its extensive marketing network to deploy unique teams of specialists for every engagement to satisfy a firm’s key marketing communications needs on time and on budget. For more information visit www.brandmill.com.

ABOUT CONSTANT CONTACT, INC.
Constant Contact
is revolutionizing the success formula for small organizations through affordable, easy-to-use Engagement MarketingTM tools that help create and grow customer relationships. More than half a million small businesses, nonprofits, and associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact to drive ongoing customer dialogs through email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online surveys. All Constant Contact products come with unrivaled KnowHow, education, and free coaching with a personal touch, including award-winning customer support.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

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The Marketing Man Who Hates Advertising

The headline in this post comes from a comment that great client and friend of ours said about me a few years ago.

And, he’s repeated it to me on a few other occasions too.

He said, “As someone who’s been in marketing as long as you, why do you hate advertising so much?”

I answered – and continue to defend myself – that it’s not that I hate advertising, it’s just that I hate bad advertising that’s created to try extort people into believing in or buying unremarkable products and services.

It simply doesn’t work. And, it gives my profession a bad name.

Remember…if you put perfume on a pig…it’s still a pig!

The facts support my argument that there has been a crisis going on in mass media for years and most advertisers simply continue to do the same sad things over and over again.  That is, they spend too much money on TV advertising when they should invest those dollars in creating remarkable high-value products and services.

For example consider these facts*:

  • Only 14% of people trust advertising
  • Only 18% of television commercials achieve a positive return on investment
  • The average ROI is just 54 cents per every dollar spent on TV ads

Now, let’s talk about the biggest joke and general waste of advertising dollars – the Super Bowl.

Just another advertising effort that gives my profession a bad name.

I dread tomorrow listening to all of the so-called Advertising experts and pundits on the national news and talk shows discussing which ad was ‘cute and funny.”  Ugh!

For years, I’ve said that advertising on the Super Bowl is a waste of money. It still is a waste.

Back in 2008, E-Trade premiered commercials during Super Bowl XLII featuring a talking baby (the now infamous E-Trade Baby) in front of a Webcam pontificating about investing and finance in an adult voice. The campaign continued into the Super Bowl XLIII piling on with communications on other channels such Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

And, it continues to this day. Why?

It has to be because it’s ‘cute and funny‘ because it hasn’t done anything to build sales and/or turn around its stock price.

For proof, check out this screen capture I took last night comparing the Dow Jones average (blue)  vs. Schwab (green) and E-Trade (red).  Still laughing?

Now back in 2008, I predicted that the E-Trade baby would rock in advertising recall and likeability and I was proven right. The 2008 E-Trade baby Super Bowl ad campaign earned high marks of 7th most liked, 3rd and 8th most recalled.

However, after the premiere of the E-Trade Baby campaign, I cautioned clients that now that the seed is planted, the E-Trade brand needs to ‘show and tell’ how it has helped real people more effectively perform with personal investing.  They would need to show proof! And, to this day I say, “Where’s the proof?”

There is none and that’s one big reason why their stock is performing poorly vs. other averages. The E-Trade marketing folks must be getting away with this charade by saying, “But, look at our Ad recall numbers! Look at how many golfers know the word ‘shankapotomus.‘ 

To that rationale, I say, “Who cares!”

We do a ton of hospitality work. And, I bet you that we’d drive huge recall numbers by putting a dead body in the front window of any one of our restaurants with a banner stating, “People are dying to dine here!” I’d also bet that sales would rapidly fall.

There’s an old saying that, ‘The only person who likes change is a wet baby.’

I agree and also agree that the E-Trade campaign (and possibly product/service too) needs to be changed if it ever hopes to have happy investors.

Enjoy the game and make efficient use of your day today by getting a something to eat or drink or go to the bathroom during the commercial breaks.

*Source: Justin Kirby & Paul Marsden (2006).  Connected marketing.  Oxford, UK:  Butterworth-Heinemann. xix

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Idlewild & SoakZone Repeats as Best Children’s Park

Congratulations to our super client and all of our super friends at Idlewild & SoakZone for repeating as the ‘Best Children’s Park in the World!’ Here’s the press release we put on the wire earlier today.  What a well deserving bunch!

Idlewild & SoakZone Repeats as Best Children’s Park in the World

LIGONIER, PA – September 17, 2011 – Today, at its Golden Ticket ceremony held in Santa Claus, Indiana, Amusement Today Magazine (http://www.amusementtoday.com) recognized Pennsylvania’s Idlewild & SoakZone (http://www.idlewild.com) as the ‘Best Children’s Park in the World’ for the second consecutive year.

“The Golden Tickets are awarded based on a poll of experienced and well-traveled amusement park fans worldwide,” explained Gary Slade, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Amusement Today.  “Since the inception of the best children’s park category in 2004, Idlewild & SoakZone placed in the top two, and placed first in 2010.  It’s a testament to Idlewild & SoakZone’s perseverance in providing a unique family- friendly entertainment value in such a beautiful park setting.”

“This honor means a lot to our dedicated team members, who work hard to provide a fun, family-friendly experience every season.  To be recognized as one of the best is fantastic news for our guests and the Laurel Highlands region, who have supported us for over 130 years,” said Park spokesperson Jeff Croushore.  “We’re overjoyed to once again be named Best Children’s Park and wish to share this award with all of our fans, both the young and the young at heart.”

For more information about the 2011 survey results, visit: http://www.goldenticketawards.com/

ABOUT AMUSEMENT TODAY’S GOLDEN TICKET AWARDS

Amusement Today is an amusement industry trade publication based in Arlington, Texas.  Introduced in 1998, the Golden Tickets are the most prized awards in the industry. Amusement park fans worldwide are asked to rate the top parks in 25 categories. The 2011 international poll was the eighth for children appeal in its 14-year history. For more information, call 817.460.7220 or visit http://www.amusementtoday.com.

ABOUT IDLEWILD & SOAKZONE

Founded in 1878 as a picnic ground along the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, Idlewild & SoakZone (www.idlewild.com) is the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania and third-oldest in America.  Featuring seven theme areas, operations run late-May through Labor Day with “Hallowboo,” a Halloween-themed event, taking place in October. Idlewild is part of the Palace Entertainment family of parks that hosts over 14 million visitors annually at five theme parks, two animal parks, 10 waterparks, and 21 family entertainment centers. For more information, call 724.238.3666 or visit http://www.idlewild.com and http://www.palaceentertainment.com.

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Best Amusement Park for Kids and Families

Idlewild and SoakZone Best Park for Kids & Families

All of us at BrandMill are happy to report that one of our super clients – Idlewild & Soak Zone in Ligonier, PA (about an hour drive from Pittsburgh) – is now open and operating its 134th season of summer fun and has made a huge splash with its new water park attraction, “Wowabunga” Family Wave Pool.

New Wowabunga Family Wave Pool

 

Wowabunga features intermittent waves suitable for both younger and older guests as well as a “beach” area perfect for guests looking to soak up the summer sun. See awe-inspiring cirque entertainment all summer long at Cirque Extreme – Under the Big Top and enjoy the following special events – all included with the price of admission – and with free picnicking too:

  • June 13 – 17 & June 20 – 24 – BOGO Days
  • June 19 – Firefighter/EMS Family Appreciation Day
  • June 27 – July 3 – Showcase of Stars
  • July 4 – Fireworks
  • July 5 -8 – Antique & Classic Car Show and Parade
  • July 11 – 15 – Mister Rogers’ Neighbor Days
  • July 18 – 22 – Meet the Marvel Comic Super Heroes (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Captain America)
  • July 25 -29 – Christmas In July
  • July 31 – Cheerleading Competition
  • August 12 – Italian Day Festa
  • August 22 – 26 – Car Load Days
  • October – Hallowboo!

For more details, check out this recent video on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today LIVE featuring Park Spokesperson Jeff Croushore.

About Idlewild & ZoakZone

Founded in 1878 as a simple picnic ground along the Ligonier Valley Rail Road, Idlewild & SoakZone is the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania and third-oldest in America. In addition, it is rated the best kid’s park in the world by Amusement Today magazine and the best park for families by the National Amusement Park Historical Association. Idlewild features seven fun theme areas such as SoakZone Waterpark, Story Book Forest and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe.  Seasonal operations run through Labor Day and “Hallowboo,” a Halloween-themed event, takes place in October. Idlewild is part of the Palace Entertainment family which hosts over 13 million visitors annually at 40 locations across the country.  With 8 theme parks, 11 water parks and 21 family entertainment centers, Palace is the largest operator of water parks and family entertainment centers in the nation. For more information, call 724.238.3666 or visit http://www.idlewild.com and http://www.palaceentertainment.com.

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