Shatterproof Pittsburgh Stronger Than Addiction

Please join our friends at on Wednesday, June 25 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, to raise awareness and funds for research, prevention and support of those afflicted with Drug and Alcohol Addiction.

Shatterproof-Pittsburgh-PasadenaSponsor or rappel 26 stories down the side of the Westin!

Rappel times are going fast – hurry to sign up today for the Pittsburgh event here.

Here’s an interview our BrandMill Public Relations team coordinated yesterday for founder Gary Mendell on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today LIVE.


New Website to Help Reunite Ireland

For St. Patrick’s Day, 2012 we launched a new Website for the Irish American Unity Conference. In addition, we revised their logo, launched a Facebook presence and coached them to continue their social media marketing initiatives.

The IAUC is a nationwide, nonpartisan, nonsectarian, chapter-based human rights organization working for justice and peace in Ireland. It’s mission is to bring all Irish, Irish Americans and others together on the basis of their common belief in Justice and Peace in a reunited Ireland. We wish them well in their peaceful endeavors to reunite Ireland. Adh mor ort (good luck to you) IAUC!


Thanks for Making a Dent in Our Universe

Our world lost a great man yesterday – Steve Jobs.

Jobs impacted my life in numerous ways through not only his great innovations and style, but also in his words.

Here’s my top 10 list of Steve Job quotes that have resonated with me over the years.

God bless you Steve and many thanks.  You’ll be missed.

Steve Jobs Top 10 Best Quotes

  1. “We’re here to put a dent in the universe, otherwise why else even be here?”
  2. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
  3. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
  4. “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.  Simple can be harder than complex. You need to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple, but it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
  5. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
  6. Remembering that you’re going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
  7. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
  8. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
  9. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone elses life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
  10. We don’t get a chance to do that many things and every one should be really excellent because this is our life.”

…And, one more thing!

10+.    “You know a design is good when you want to lick it.” … And, “Design is not what it looks like.  Design is how it works.”


Truth and Love Always Win

In life as well as is in brand marketing – long-term – truth and love always win.

On this solemn day of September 11 – the 10th anniversary of  a day we Americans will never forget – I’m reminded of this truism and quote…

When I despair, I remember that all through history
the ways of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants, and murderers,
and for a time they can seem invincible,
but in the end they always fall. Think of it–always.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Wishing peace and comfort to all today and prayers to those who lost their lives and loved ones 10 years ago.

Let’s Roll America!


American Cancer Society Marketing Award

L-R - Stephen Wayhart, ACS RVP Glenn Callihan, Carly Neal

At a recent volunteer appreciation dinner given by the American Cancer Society’s Greater Pittsburgh Unit, BrandMill was recognized with a special Marketing Program Award.

As part of BrandMill’s commitment to the communities in which it conducts its business, the Pittsburgh based marketing consultancy, provided a pro-bono service to lead and create the American Cancer Society Western Region’s (now East Central Region) Facebook Fan Page.

This is the Region’s first foray into Social Media Marketing and it will help it to more cost effectively promote its programs, services and special events throughout Western Pennsylvania. BrandMill will continue to offer other Social Media Marketing consulting services for the Region.

For several years, BrandMill Managing Partner Stephen Wayhart was a Board member and most recently has been the chairperson for the Unit’s Marketing Committee.


A Thankful and Giving Marketing Strategy

On this special day, make a commitment to not leave your “Thanks & Giving” at the table – take it with you and spread its core message of “thanking and giving” throughout all you do in your business and personal life.

Thank and give…give and thank. Plan for it, create unique and fun ways to do it. Then, just do it and rinse and repeat along the way.

If you repeatedly give and thank, your brand will grow, your relationships will grow and your happiness will grow. I guarantee it.

Take some personal time today and throughout this weekend to kickstart your holiday marketing plans, with more than just a “Black Friday” short term sale and thinking. Move toward a more long term strategic way of thinking about putting into practice a “White Sale” of giving more added value to your employees, customers, family, friends and the less fortunate in the communities in which you do business.

If you do, I assure you that people will return your favors by working harder for you, buying more from you and enthusiastically spread your good word.

And, don’t think for a moment that these disturbing facts don’t negatively impact your business and life – so, look for ways to do your part to help eliminate these ridiculous statistics:

  1. One out of seven Americans lives in poverty
  2. The percentage of Americans in poverty is the highest in half a century
  3. Over 59 million Americans have no health insurance
  4. More than 1 million children went hungry last year
  5. Children under 18 make up 27% of the homeless population
  6. Families with children are the fastest growing group of the homeless population, accounting for about 40% of the people who become homeless each year
  7. 38% of the people already homeless are families with children
  8. 50% of homeless women and children are running from domestic abuse
  9. Of all homeless men 40% of them have served in the armed forces
  10. Children under the age of eighteen are 27% of the urban homeless population
  11. Companies that make things no one really needs are doing well in this recession which means the poor are growing in numbers and getting poorer while the rich are getting richer
  12. The total cost of hunger to American society is about $90 billion a year. In contrast, it would only cost about $10 billion to $12 billion a year to virtually end hunger in our nation. And, how much do politicians waste in taxpayer dollars? In defense spending?

Keep in mind, these statistics are for the U.S. a “developed” country, but we all know it’s far worse in other countries and we’re all related and impacted by what’s happening in the smallest corners of the world.

So today, when you’re adding a second helping of stuffing to your turkey plate, remember today’s message and this commercial and commit to thanking and giving.

Have a blessed day and holiday season.

P.S.: Enjoy this Wall Street Journal article, Thank You. No, Thank You – Grateful People Are Happier, Healthier Long After the Leftovers Are Gobbled Up.


Five Thanksgiving Inspired Brand Building Tips

Here are five ways to use this Thanksgiving holiday as inspiration to build a better brand for yourself and/or your company.

  1. For starters, take the word apart ‘Thanks’ and ‘Giving’ and use both themes as part of your marketing mission and messaging for the next 12 months – not just this week.
  2. Call/visit as many customers, team members and vendors/partners this week to thank them personally. Cards/emails are OK, but try calling first. If you don’t reach them, leave a message saying how appreciative you are of their business and partnership and how much you’re looking forward to building a better relationship in 2011.
  3. Send thank you cards, but make sure you sign it with a special note even though your card may have a message.
  4. Commit now to being a better partner inside and outside your company by giving better value going forward and put a special appreciation process in place.
  5. Champion a cause for your brand and become part of the fabric of the community in which you do business. You can give lots of things such as your time, money and expertise. The most successful brands make money of course, but they also dramatically improve the lives of others and their employees. Here’s a link to ideas to help the homeless and for the hungry you can ‘Take the No Kid Hungry Pledge” here. Did you know that that nearly one in four children struggles with hunger? And, did you know that every $5 the federal government spends on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) generates $9.20 in local economic activity? Read more here in the Washington Post about how you can help end childhood hunger.

Throughout this Thanksgiving and holiday season, work on improving the unique value that only you can provide. Gift giving isn’t a terrible thing, however offering genuine thanks, appreciation, added value and truly giving of yourself is the true essence of this holiday and season – and a gift you can give to others that will reap you and them many future blessings and rewarding relationships.

P.S.: One last tip – OK 3 more:

  1. Always bring something – wine and a covered dish is nice
  2. Help with the clean-up
  3. Learn a great toast or two such as one of my old Irish favorites:

“May all that you wish for, be the least you get…
and may the best times you’ve ever had, be the worst you’ll ever see.”



9.12 Marketing Lessons

Today marks a special day for all Americans, the 9th anniversary of 9.11.

This year, this special day of reflection has been marked by toxic amount of hate and anger. It seems to have started with the Islamic mosque that’s planned to be built near Ground Zero in New York followed by the planned announcement then cancellation of a misguided Florida pastor who  – along with his congregation – was planning to burn the Quran.

Where’s the leadership, compassion, common sense and class among Americans?

I can recall 9.12 and the feeling of concern we Americans had for the general health and welfare of others and how we came together as a family under one color of red, white and blue and the tolerance the majority of us paid to Muslim Americans.  And, then in the days and weeks that unfolded thereafter the amazing stories of heroism, volunteerism and love made me so proud to be an American and a proud consumer of BRAND USA.

Today, the American Christian pastors and followers who are spewing anger and hate toward Muslims are not true Christians and they are not following the maxims of Brand Jesus. They may think they are, but they are not.

Is there any place in the Bible that shows Jesus hating anyone?


Jesus was tolerant, kind, understanding, welcoming and loving. He broke bread with tax collectors, prostitutes, the poor and more.  The only thing he condemned was the devil. And, when confronted with anger and violence – even his own brutal death – he said “turn the other cheek,” “those that live by the sword die by the sword,” and “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Building a religious denomination is no different than building any brand. If you want to attract someone to your brand, you’ll never be as successful as you could be by putting down your competitor. To be successful, you need to sell yourself. No matter how unfair, dishonest or terrible your competitors are you should never go there. Sell the positives of your brand and work to eliminate the negatives. And, I’m sure you’ll agree that there are a ton of negatives in all religions – both Christianity and Muslim alike – that could/should be fixed.

Full disclosure – I am a Christian (and American) and certainly far from sainthood, but the so called “Christianity” I see being preached and practiced disgusts and saddens me.

And, the Americans who are spewing hate and anger toward Muslims, are they the kinds of Americans that make up the kind of Brand USA we aspire to be and our ancestors fought to be?


It’s crazy to imagine American Christians burning books – the Quran of all things. Book burning is actually against Constitution, nothing good has ever come of it and simply feeds into Islamic beliefs that American’s are against Islam. So utterly stupid and disgusting.

My Brand America is so much better than what I’ve been seeing. And hey, as a patriotic person, I certainly detest seeing the American flag being burned, but I respect and honor the freedom of someone who wants to do it.

Certainly, we’ve made our share of mistakes as a country in treating others unkindly (i.e. Native Americans), but our batting average of being a religiously tolerant land of freedom and a beacon of hope that welcomes everyone, is still pretty high. we’re far from perfect and far better than most countries but right now, we’re in a bad slump.

Going forward as Brand USA, Brand Christianity, Brand You, Brand Whatever, if you want to be successful,  I assure you that you’ll greatly increase your odds of success if you follow the “9.12” example of:

  • being a hero to others and a Servant Leader
  • sacrifice your short term goals for the goals of the greater good
  • lending a helping hand and being kind, considerate
  • freely give of yourself and be a caring person
  • looking for the light in yourself and others
  • being positive and hopeful and lift others up
  • being a good listener and open to other points of view
  • being tolerant and understanding
  • being nice and loving

These are the attributes of the faith I want to practice, the country I want to live in, the life I want to lead, the business I want to run.  How about you?

Today, we pay tribute and honor to the heroes who gave everything of themselves nine years ago on 9.11 and the days beyond and those who lost their lives and their families.

Today should never be a day of hatred, but a day of personal reflection on our heroes and how we can all be heroes of peace and love and leave the world a better place for generations to come.


How to Get People to Join Your Cause or Brand

Social Cause MarketingThere’s an old saying in cause marketing which is, “People don’t join causes, people join people with causes.”

That is, if you’re a good friend of mine, and if I’m stricken with cancer and involved with one the American Cancer Society’s initiatives such as Relay for Life, chances are you will be more in tune with ACS messages and offer to help (donate money and/or time).

The same goes for Brand marketing these days too – more and more people are joining Brands which are in tune with their causes!

Brand marketing is taking on a whole new meaning which is simply put, “marketing with meaning.”

In this 24/7 age of corporate misconduct (AIG, Wall Street, Enron, BP) and citizen journalism, it’s an absolute “greens fee” for companies to make more meaning by being good corporate citizens and doing more (See Philip Kotler’s Values Based Marketing Model) for their employees and customers.

The chart above is from Ann Marie Kerwin’s article in today’s Advertising Age, How to Get the Social-Media Generation Behind Your Cause which outlines some key steps and  which also links to TBWA Chiat Day’s Eliza Esquivel’s Social Activism 2.0 whitepaper – good stuff.

Marketing with real meaning and brands that truly stand for something other than self serving profits will survive and thrive in the next decade and beyond. Those that don’t won’t be as profitable and/or won’t survive.

Here’s an example of great cause marketing by one of my client’s the Priory Hospitality Group and their announcement of a free Winter White Wedding for a veteran of the Afghan Iraqi war who’s from southwestern Pennsylvania.

See the video interview of The Priory Hotel’s John Graf here from KDKA TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live – we’d appreciate it if you pass the information along to a western, PA veteran.

Now in its 3rd year, the Priory’s generosity has been joined by several other area brands. One of the major reasons why the Priory’s business keeps growing is because they are genuine, caring community partners and employers.

Follow their example for success and make your little patch of the world a better place and watch your business grow too!

I haven’t been to a BP gas station since the Gulf Oil Spill and don’t plan on visiting one in the future. How about you?

Note: Super good book by Bob Gilbreath, The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with Your Customers by Marketing with Meaning.


Marketing 3.0 – Kotler’s New Values Based Model

Since graduating from college, I voraciously read a new marketing book every 10 days and in my library you’ll find several books by the father of modern day marketing Philip Kotler.

What I love about the guy is that even though his book Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control, 13th ed., is the most widely used marketing book in graduate business schools worldwide he never rests on his success and still innovates and tinkers with his marketing theories and models of how marketing works.

I’m a big Philp Kotler fan.

Now, here comes Kotler again with his latest creation (co-written with Hermawan Kartajaya), Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit.

The central theme of the book is based on the simple values-based (not value) matrix above which demonstrates how marketing today has shifted from Product-Centric (Rational Marketing – 1.0 era – e.g., Volvo = safety), to Customer-Centric (Emotional Marketing – 2.0 era) to today’s Human-Centric (Spiritual Marketing – 3.0 era ).

Marketing 1.0 and 2.0 were about how a brands products and services would serve its customers.  Marketing 3.0 is about how a Brand connect with the human spirit of its customers who desire that they assume their fair share of social responsibility for issues that concern everyone (e.g., environment, hunger, poverty, human rights, health and well being etc.).

Brands that behave and conduct themselves properly with regard to the environment, general community at large and create real meaningful demonstrable value that aligns with the social good will be welcome and respected.  The media will promote caring companies which will influence buying behaviors.

Kotler posits that most marketers are stuck in the past. His new model for marketing treats customers not just as consumers, but as complex, multi-dimensional human beings – customers with complex human spirits who are active, engaged, anxious, informed, creative and have the ability to easily connect with others.

Marketing 3.0 addresses the complexity of the human spirit and S.C. Johnson is just one of the many brands Kotler cites as those who are creating products, services, and company cultures that lead, inspire, and reflect the values of their customers.

This recently released book is on my shopping list. I sure wish brands like BP will read it and embrace its philosophy – make sure you do!