Planit, an integrated marcomms agency based in Baltimore, Maryland, offers a blend of strategic, client, and creative services with digital at the heart of every solution it proposes. The team relies on an easy-to-use workflow management platform from Cision to maximize efficiency and provide tangible ROI for clients, such as Sheetz, a major mid-Atlantic, fast-growing convenience store chain (above).
Managing the PR process
Planit’s PR team chose Cision Comms Cloud, which helps the team manage the details of multiple PR campaigns in the context of larger client initiatives.
“Some customers will require all of our services, while others will need just PR or social media,” says Jennifer Donahoe, PR supervisor at Planit. “No matter what request we receive, we need to be fast and well-equipped. We needed a system that could help our large team throughout the PR process.”
The platform helps identify influencers, craft campaigns, and attribute value to clients. “We’ve implemented the sytem throughout the PR process, from pre-strategizing with clients, to execution and sharing results,” explains Donahoe.
These benefits were a key factor in Planit’s successful campaign with Sheetz, a U.S. chain that offers fast food and convenience store items, in addition to gasoline.
Sheetz began opening cafes within its outlets, a completely new concept for the brand, featuring grocery and fast casual/convenience dining without its usual gasoline offering. Along with its new cafe/store concepts, Sheetz opened standalone cafes on college campuses in new markets, allowing the brand to connect with a new audience.
To introduce the brand and the new “Sheetz Cafe” concept to college students, Planit developed a strategic PR campaign that included an exclusive pre-opening tour for local media, influencer outreach and invitations to the grand opening, food drops to local and college media, and targeted post-event media coverage to continue generating buzz.
“We used the Cision Database to quickly identify the best contacts in Sheetz’ hyper-targeted markets,” says Donahoe. With college students at the heart of the campaign, Planit appreciated having updated contact information for on and off-campus media. “It was important for us to have that data because it changes so frequently,” says Donahoe.
No matter what request we receive, we need to be fast and well-equipped. We needed a system that could help our large team throughout the PR process
Jennifer Donahoe, Planit
From building buzz to boots on the ground, Planit garnered more than three million media impressions in less than a month. In addition, Sheetz’s 500th store opening saw more than 800 attendees and garnered 58 million media impressions. Over the course of its multiple campaigns, Sheetz secured more than 550 media placements and experienced an 11% increase in coffee sales.
Cision’s multi-channel monitoring tools lets Planit discover who it has reached with its earned media coverage, how its target audiences responded, what client competitors are up to, and what’s trending within its clients’ industries.
“Cision lets us dive in deep and evaluate what coverage our clients are getting,” notes Donahoe. “These insights empower our teams to give the most valuable recommendations possible.”
Planit, a Cision customer for more than five years, uses the Cision platform for campaign planning and implementation. According to Donahoe, some of the benefits include:
Thorough media planning: The Cision Database gives Planit instant access to more than 1.6 million complete, dynamic, and vetted influencer profiles. Through the Talking About feature in Cision Database, Planit can get a sense of journalist or influencer opinions. “It helps us identify ‘brand loyals’ and allows us to build relationships quickly, especially in smaller markets,” says Donahoe.
The team uses the feature to identify influencers who’ve had bad experiences with its clients. “It’s a really powerful opportunity for us to demonstrate value and proactively rectify a bad situation,” adds Donahoe. “Before a journalist writes negatively about you, they’ll probably talk about it on social media.”
For broad dissemination of press releases, Planit uses Cision Distribution by PR Newswire, but opts for Cision’s email distribution tool within the Cloud for smaller, more targeted campaigns.
Demonstrating ROI with strong data points: On a monthly basis and at the end of a campaign, the agency exports reports from Cision Comms Cloud to share with clients. “These reports help us bring additional value to our relationships, and allow us to showcase the ROI of our PR efforts,” says Donahoe.
Donahoe is also a big fan of Cision’s tagging features. “We can show our clients coverage over time, by outlet, and by topic,” she says. “It helps us pinpoint which stories are really resonating with our audience.” The agency has begun to move away from calculating publicity value in favor of impact and prominence scores, which it gathers from Cision.
More accountability across teams: Pushing email distribution through Cision Comms Cloud lets the team track interactions and work more efficiently across the organization. “We monitor our click-through and open rates, see what’s working, and implement what we’ve learned in our go-forward strategy,” says Donahoe.
To learn more about the Cision Comms Cloud, read this overview in Burton-Taylor’s Media Intelligence’s Buyers Guide.