Jun 25, 2012

Another brick in the wall of marketing for a building materials manufacturer

Tony Treadway

Like many building materials manufacturers, the recession was a wake up call. The giant orders for new housing developments, malls and towering office buildings ground to a halt in 2008 and the construction market is only now showing some signs of life. For General Shale, one of America’s largest brick manufacturers, the period has enabled the brick maker to retool its company and its marketing.

For decades, General Shale focused largely on residential contractors who were busy building single family homes, condos and apartments. Today, about 60% of those contractors are out of business. In their place, opportunities now come in the eye of renovation companies, and the wives of do-it-yourself husbands looking to fix up their existing home since their prospects of selling their home and building a new one has become less likely. The large volume building material opportunities rest in the hands of a finite number of large architectural, design, commercial construction companies and residential tract builders. General Shale’s products and its marketing message had to transition to multiple messages to a variety of targets based on the ultimate value of beauty, fashion, sustainability and long-term resilience. The company turned to Creative Energy for marketing solutions.

For a company offering the long-lasting beauty of brick, stone and rock, the colors of nature were to become our new color palette as the attention turned to beauty, style and fashion. Our new marketing plan includes a new “share site” where General Shale retail stores and distributors can access a new integrated marketing plan that offers print, direct mail, radio, online and even television commercials produced by Creative Energy and General Shale’s director of marketing and retail, Dawn Duncan.

A new web site, is a first-of-a-kind cross merchandising feature that enables a user who selects a brick color to also be provided with complimentary interior Thin Brick and Thin Rock colors as well as complimentary outdoor living products and even the right color of brick for the home’s mailbox.

A new annual magazine selects the best in Great American Homes to be shared with designers, architects, and landscape designers. For large architectural and design firms, a new online newscast with a special microsite for sharing technology, product and design videos, an architectural kit, offering the latest styles and colors and direct communications through e-blasts, an iPhone app and more.

We’re focused on the success of General Shale as our economy turns to renovating what we have and building better structures in the future. The one thing that we are not changing is the stance line for the company – Building The American Dream. Stay tuned for more news on our facelift of a building materials icon.

Tony Treadway


President & CEO

Regarded in the advertising and PR industry as a top strategist, Tony is considered one of the most respected marketing minds in the business, especially in the $600 billion foodservice industry. As president, he leads Creative Energy in serving a variety of regional and national accounts in the textile, hardware, building materials, electronics, nuclear power and health care markets.