New I.C. Light Pittsburgh Pirates Collector Cans

PIRATES-IC-LICGHT-IRON-CITY-RETRO-CANS-BRANDMILLWith the Pirates home opener less than 30 days away, fans can do a little pre-season training of their own!

Our client Pittsburgh Brewing Company,  just released the first of three Pittsburgh Pirates-themed I.C. Light Collector Series Beer Cans – the “Retro – Handsome Jolly Roger” can is on sale now!

For more details, click this link to check out our story on NBC affiliate WPXI-TV!

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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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Iron City beer plays ball with Pittsburgh’s sports teams

Pirates-cansHere’s a nice story that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently ran about our BrandMill client Iron City Beer and their local sports partners – the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers!

We’ve been working with Pittsburgh Brewing (Iron City Beer) for sometime now helping them to rebuild their brand presence and favorable awareness with the regional media and customers.  And, I’m proud to say that we’re tracking well together and the Pittsburgh region is going to like what we’re cooking!

As Pittsburgh natives, we’re proud to say that Iron City Beer is coming back strong!

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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!

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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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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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No Luck of the Irish Needed for Great Websites

Just in time for the annual ‘Season of St. Patrick’ that starts March 1 – and for the Great Guinness Toast that starts tonight at 11:00 p.m. at Irish Pubs throughout the world – we’re proud to report that our launch of a new Website for our good friends at Riley’s Pour House in Carnegie, PA is doing great!

In it’s first 2 ½ days of existence, the page views for Riley’s new Website outperformed the former proprietor’s Website performance for the entire year! Yes, you read that right!

What’s our secret? A little luck of the Irish maybe?

Maybe a little luck – we were lucky to land a great client that’s for sure.

However, far more credit goes to having a good solid brand to promote with good old fashioned hard work, Public Relations, Social Media Marketing integrations and excellent SEO writing inspired by a few pints of Guinness!

Yes my friends, Guinness is good for you!

Slainte!

P.S.: To help you along in March, here’s an old post about the 15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day – enjoy!

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All Hail Duquesne Beer the Prince of Pilsener

Earlier this week, I attended the Pittsburgh American Marketing Association’s annual kickoff dinner at Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory. I was delighted to hear Duquesne beer president Mark Dudash talk about how his wife Maria and he are reviving the Prince of Pilsener, Duquesne Beer. Here’s the back story from their Website – it’s a great one too.

Mark’s an attorney and a proud city of Pittsburgh guy like me – in fact, we went to rival highs schools – South Catholic (Beechview – him) and Bishop Canevin (Westwood – 28th Ward – me).  He might not be a “classically trained” marketer, but Maria and he are super smart marketers nonetheless – believe me. They didn’t jump into spending a ton of money in outbound marketing, but rather spent their money on creating a unique, high quality brand – a super premium Pilsener beer – at a fair price. And, with their inbound marketing efforts – via Faceboook – their raving fans are spreading their good word.

During his keynote, Mark repeatedly used words and phrases like, ‘loyalty, ‘having fun,’ ‘conducting your due diligence,’ ‘understanding your product’ and doing the right things right. Believe me…the Dudash’s are doing a ton of ‘right things right.’

When we consult with brands, we conduct a ton of research before we ever recommend marketing strategies, tactics and tools.

In fact, we start every new client engagement with a simple, initial 5 question exercise such as:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What’s your story?
  3. Why should someone care?
  4. What’s your dramatic difference?
  5. How can/do you passionately demonstrate and convey your dramatic difference?

Maria and Mark, may have not known the questions above, but more importantly, they sure know the answers and are hitting the cover off the ball!

I’m a big fan of Duquesne Beer – it tastes great and its a great brand – and will be rooting for them to “stick it to the man” – the man – or men – being the likes of Mr. Budweiser, Mr. Miller, Mr. Coors and more.

Good luck sweet Prince! We’re glad to have you back!

P.S.: Looking forward to you bringing back Ft. Pitt Beer too!

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Show and Tell More to Sell More

Just got back in town to Pittsburgh, from two glorious weeks throughout Italy and Switzerland.

Ugh!  What a state of depression I’ve been in since! Can’t wait to go back!

We saw some amazing, breathtaking sights such as the Sistine Chapel, The David (I’m a big Michelangelo fan), The Vatican, Pompeii , the Amalfi Coast, Capri, and much more.

However, one man/woman made creation that simply took my breath away as a marketer was the Gelateria (gelato) stands and stores throughout the various Italian cities we visited. They seemed to be on every street corner!

And, what a merchandiser’s dream of flawless execution.

Believe me, even if you were a severe lactose intolerant individual, you’d cave in to any one of these Italian gelato taste bud blowing experiences.

You would not be able to resist it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

As these pictures show, the merchandising of these Italian Gelateria’s are without peer. And, the taste delivers on the merchandising promise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My question then is, “What are you doing with your merchandising to create a brand experience such as these Gelaterias?”

P.S.: For a great tour guide for Italy, the Holy Land and more, check out Fr. Anthony Nachef’s Proximo Travel. And, tell him Steve Wayhart sent you!

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Priory is SBA family-owned small business of the year

L-R - Priory co-owners Suzanne and John Graf and GM Tim McGlothlin. (Photo/Kelly Thomas)

Congratulations to a great client and family – the Graf family, owners of the Priory Hospitality Group in Pittsburgh, PA – for being recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the Family Owned Business of the Year!

See story here.

All of us at BrandMill are proud to serve as a marketing partner of the Priory Hospitality Group.

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