Idlewild & SoakZone Opens 137th Season with Daniel Tiger

idlewild-daniel-tiger-wtae-pittsburghHere’s a nice PR piece we earned for one of our favorite clients and places – Idlewild & SoakZone – which recently appeared on Pittsburgh’s ABC Affiliate WTAE-TV.

The Park’s coverage discusses the highlights of its 137th season, its 4th consecutive Golden Ticket Award for being recognized as the Best Kids Park in the World by the readers of Amusement Today Magazine. And, a new Daniel Tiger Meet & Greet attraction – be sure to check out the Park this season –


BrandMill is Pumping Iron

Iron-City-ToastIn the 10+ years BrandMill has existed, we’ve been blessed to have worked with some of the most beloved brands in the Pittsburgh region such as Duquesne University, Kennywood Park, Idlewild & SoakZone, the Gateway Clipper Fleet and more!

And now, we’re proud to announce that we’re pumping Iron with the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and Iron City Beer!

Stay tuned for some exciting news that will be flowing from this famous brand!

We’re just getting warmed up!


Duquesne University’s Entrepreneurial Growth Conference

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 7.40.51 PMIf you’re an entrepreneurial led small/medium sized business you should be heading to Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center’s Entrepreneurial Growth Conference tomorrow, Thursday, June 5.

If you’re going, please connect with me.  As a sponsor, BrandMill will have a demo table and I’ll (Steve Wayhart) be moderating a lunch table discussion about, “How to Profitably Build Sales” and leading a discussion about “Shortcuts to Social Media” at 3:30 p.m.


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.


How to Ensure Flawless Execution

Effective strategy and flawless execution are inseparable. You cannot have a great strategy without great execution, and in my experience I’m sad to report that brands tend to place more effort and time to developing a strategy and less is given to execution. To avoid failure people must understand what they are responsible for (clear job descriptions with measurable expectations), know the key decision makers, and have access to the information, training and tools they need to complete their tasks. They must practice, practice and then practice some more.  And, they must be tested, tested and tested some more. These systems need to be in place.

ferrari-pit-stopTake a close look at this amazing video of a nearly 20 person Ferrari team changing a tire in a pitstop.  You can be sure that the prep time is longer and that they’ve practiced this effort many, many times to make it flawless.

Each is trained for a specific role and teams take their preparation as seriously as drivers’, managing crewmen’s fitness and diet. They practice hundreds of pitstops until the process is instinctive. Everyone focuses on their own job. In a 2-second pitstop, there is no time to see what everyone else is doing

In the Harvard Business review article, the “Secrets to Successful Execution,” Neilson, Martin and Powers discuss their survey research of more than 26,000 people in 31 companies.

Surprisingly, even in these top companies just two-thirds of their employees agree that important strategic and operational decisions are quickly translated into action. That, is nearly 70% of employees say that their execution efforts are nowhere near flawless.

If you pay as much attention to your execution phase as you do with strategy, I’m sure your profits will rise along with customer satisfaction.


New Mobile Marketing Offerings and Outlook

Mobile-Marketing-Infographic-2014Over the past few years, we’ve experimented with mobile marketing (e.g., text marketing) on a limited basis, but are now ramping up our services big time with not only text marketing, but mobile websites and native mobile apps and other forms of location-based marketing.

We’ll keep you posted with our mobile capabilities as we progress into 2014.

For now, check out our Infographic of the week which highlights the Mobile Marketing Landscape of 2014.


How to Lead Like Pope Francis

lead-like-pope-francisOn Friday, February 21, BrandMill helped the Bishop Canevin Alumni Association host best-selling author Chris Lowney as their first Ignatian Spiritual Leadership Speaker for more than 100 guests at Pittsburgh’s St. Paul’s Seminary, Cardinals’ Great Hall. And, the event which attracted over 100 paid guests ($100 per ticket) was a huge success.

Check out the great pre-event press coverage we earned in the Sunday, February 16 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (top/front page Business section – Former JP Morgan manager: The business world could learn a lot from Pope Francis. And, see a related article in the Pittsburgh Catholic (page 2).

Chris Lowney currently chairs the board of Catholic Health Initiatives. Formerly, a Jesuit seminarian and J.P. Morgan Managing Director on three continents, Chris is now is a popular keynote speaker who has lectured in more than 24 countries on leadership, business ethics, decision-making and other topics. As a well-known speaker, Lowney has influenced many people that range from religious, to educators, to corporate businessmen and women.

Event attendees received continental breakfast, Chris’ two part – three hour seminar on Ignatian Spiritual Leadership and a copy of his book, “Pope Francis – Why He Leads the Way He Leads.” Bishop Canevin students volunteered at the event and helped with registration, parking, welcoming guests and promoting the school.

Here are a few key Ignatian Spiritual Leadership Takeaways from Chris’ inspirational talk.

What is leadership

Per Webster’s Dictionary – “To point out a way, direction or goal….to influence others toward it…and to make good choices…in order to achieve results.”

The case for leadership

Moral and ethical leadership is needed more than ever because of people’s lack of faith in the character and integrity of “leaders” today.  See Gallup 2013 Honesty and Ethics (Rating of Clergy Slides to New LowNurses again top list; lobbyists are worst).

Because the world today is so much more complicated, fast-paced, and rapidly changing than years ago, it’s important that leadership be decentralized. Everyone on a team can lead, but there needs to be a clear direction or strategy; and a motivating vision of accomplishing things that are bigger than ourselves – our own personal goals; no buy in

Sense of self-direction

We must recognize that we’re all leaders and that we can’t be great leaders of our families, firms, communities etc. unless we can lead ourselves – it all starts with self-leadership – and answer the following questions:

  • Why are we here
  • Where are we going
  • How do we get there
  • What do we stand for
  • What do we do tomorrow

Great leaders are

  • Self-aware, authentic, and committed to purpose greater than self  (heroic)
  • Ingenious: free to make choices and skilled at decision-making
  • Reflect daily, deliver results, are grateful, treat others with love (See St. Ignatius’ Examen)

To strengthen your own leadership performance, every day:

  • Remind yourself that you will be pointing out a way and influencing others; you have a leadership opportunity.
  • Organize daily priorities by reminding yourself each morning: direction, influence, choices, results.
  • Take two mental “pit stops” of five minutes each: gratitude, lift your horizon, review the last few hours (See St. Ignatius’ Examen).

 To help your team:

  • Encourage them to do their own daily mental “pit stops”
  • Say thank you and look for ways to introduce more gratitude into work
  • At least quarterly, remind the team that each has a leadership opportunity
  • And, finally when you have to make choices, identify any “unhealthy attachments” that are holding you back from making a decision that’s free from all prejudices.



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.


Super Bowl Ads Fumble Every Year

fumble-footballEvery year when the Super Bowl rolls around, I’m offended by the ‘professionals’  in my industry who kickoff campaigns at this time. Granted, from a media efficiency standpoint the Super Bowl is a pretty decent investment. On a per-person basis, the cost of a commercial in the big game is virtually the same price as a 30-second primetime  weekday commercial throughout the year.

My problem is that the overwhelming majority of commercials fumble when they simply try to shock or make viewers laugh with no regard to motivating them to buy. And, few have ever built market share or earned a significant return on investment.

It’s no wonder at all to me why the C-suite of executives lack respect for the marketing function. Shame on us marketing folk and shame on the ego driven brand executives who approve this rubbish.


How Do You Do Hallowboo

Idlewild hallowboo (3)Here’s a great interview we scored on KDKA-TVs Pittsburgh Today LIVE Show featuring Idlewild & SoakZone Spokesperson Jeff Croushore talking about their 9th Annual Hallowboo this weekend and every weekend this month (Oct. 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, & 26-27). Operating Hours: Noon – 6:00 PM. (Gates open at 11:30 AM).

It’s the Idlewild you know and love with a FUN, family-oriented, Happy Halloween twist! Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage of Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands and the rides and attractions of Olde Idlewild, Jumpin’ Jungle, Hootin’ Holler, Raccoon Lagoon, and Story Book Forest.

We’re proud to say that for 10 seasons of summer fun, we’ve provided marketing communications and public relations services for our good friends at Idlewild & SoakZone – the best amusement park for children in the world per Amusement Today Magazine for four years in a row!