Meet the Manager

Harrah’s Laughlin Director of Marketing Michael Brown has had an extensive career, gaining experience along the way, which led to his current position managing several departments for the hotel and casino.
Brown grew up in Walnut Creek, California, a suburb of San Francisco. After graduating from San Francisco State University, he started a company that manufactured and distributed products to thousands of stores throughout the U.S., Canada and France. The product was an interactive electronic furball that purred, similar to Star Trek Tribbles.
“We got off to a strong start generating about $10 million in annual sales the first few years until we ran into difficulties with off-shore manufacturing,” Brown said.
He went on to work for several other toy companies, and managed a number of brands including Star Trek, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Care Bears, associating with studios like Paramount Pictures, Disney and Universal Studios.
“Managing these major brands was a great experience, developing and marketing toys,” Brown said. “I had a great deal of freedom to develop whatever look or theme that I deemed best for the brand.”
His lines generated up to a couple million in annual sales. Some of the companies he worked for during his fifteen years in consumer products include Hasbro Interactive, Tyco-Division of Mattel, Playmates and Microsoft.
So how did Brown switch gears from toys to the casino industry?
“I had come to Las Vegas to work for a start-up that ended closing do to health problems with the owner,” he said. “I spent several years consulting for a consumer product company out of Ohio called Flambeau, who manufactured and distributed camping and hunting equipment for mass market. I worked on several projects that involved product development, marketing and sales.”
“Then an opportunity opened up here (Harrah’s Laughlin) to get into the gaming industry and that’s when I crossed over in 2011,” Brown said. “I initially interviewed for a marketing manager position but was turned down because of my lack of gaming experience. They knew that I wanted to break into the gaming industry and were looking to improve the property communications so they created a new marketing specialist position and I accepted the offer.”
Later that year the director of marketing at Harrah’s Laughlin accepted a vice president position with another Caesars Entertainment property, and Brown stepped into the position.
“Timing is everything,” he said.
Brown lives with his wife and daughter in Las Vegas, but stays on property in Laughlin throughout the week. His wife also works in the casino industry and was with Caesar’s Entertainment in Las Vegas for 10 years.
Under his director position, Brown manages several departments including events and promotions, Total Rewards (now Caesars Rewards), entertainment, box office and marketing communications.
“I have a very talented staff of about 20,” he said. “And I work with several departments on property and numerous corporate support groups as one cohesive team to bring together the many marketing campaigns under my responsibility that help make the property successful.”
In 2011 Caesars centralized many functions including loyalty marketing, and his background working with third-party vendors and studios helped him adjust to the newly created Enterprise Shared Services format.
“Wade (former Harrah’s Laughlin general manager) selected me to be a director because of my extensive marketing background and my success that first year at working with the various corporate shared service departments that had just kicked in,“ Brown said.
“The thing about Caesars is that it is a big family and everybody is working to achieve the same goals whether it’s at corporate or on property,” he added. “We’ve got such dedicated professionals, people who enjoy working for the company, and Caesars Entertainment is very employee-centric, it supports its employees through many different programs.
“Something I’ve learned over the years is that profits are important, but none of that happens without good employees, so if you don’t focus on your employees and treat them well, you won’t get the same success. I’ve been at Harrah’s Laughlin for eight years and the amazing staff has made my job easier and enjoyable.”
Caesars Entertainment tracks that success through customer reviews and Harrah’s Laughlin consistently scores at the top.
“People just really like working here and that is why our scores have consistently been so high,” Brown said.
“I’ve always been very dedicated and passionate about my work, so I’ve worked hard to improve where I can by utilizing my skills to manage the marketing functions under my responsibility, to provide support and direction to my staff and to seek out new opportunities for the property,” Brown said. “Two years ago I suggested that we expend the amphitheater and after getting approval I worked on a new layout expanding the capacity and implementing improvements. The idea was to try and get bigger acts in here to bring more compelling entertainment to the property.”
The expansion of the Rio Vista Outdoor Amphitheater started last year and concluded this year, bringing the number of seats up to 5,200. As outdoor concert season quickly approaches, Dustin Lynch, Sammy Hagar and Willie Nelson all are slated to take the stage at the amphitheater.