Planit, an integrated marketing communications agency based in Baltimore, MD, offers a blend of strategic, client, and creative services with digital at the heart of every solution it proposes. Seeking an easy-to-use workflow management platform, the team turned to Cision Communications Cloud® to maximize efficiency and provide tangible ROI to clients like Sheetz, a major Mid-Atlantic convenience and restaurant chain.
Planit offers a wide variety of PR, social media, marketing, web and creative services to its niche client base and needed a tool to help 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 just social media,” said Jennifer Donahoe, PR & Social Media Supervisor at Planit Agency. “No matter what request we receive, we need to be fast and well-equipped.”
This means having a good communications and PR platform that maximizes efficiency. “We needed a system that could help our large team throughout the PR process,” said Donahoe.
Planit chose Cision Comms Cloud to help the team identify influencers, craft campaigns and attribute value to clients. “We’ve implemented Cision throughout the PR process – from pre-strategizing with clients, to execution and then to analyze and share results,” said Donahoe.
The agency starts with Cision Database to hyper-target its media outreach. Planit can instantly gain access to over 1.6 million complete, dynamic and vetted influencer profiles. “We often use the ‘Talking About’ feature to see what journalists and influencers are saying,” said Donahoe. “This is very valuable client information that we use at the pre-planning stages of our campaigns as well as in quick-reaction to insert client expertise into breaking news.”
Planit also employs Cision multi-channel monitoring tools to 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 really evaluate what coverage our clients are getting,” said Donahoe. “These insights empower our teams to give the most valuable recommendations possible.”
For press release distribution, Planit uses Cision Distribution by PR Newswire when broad dissemination is required, but opts for Cision’s email distribution tool within the Cloud for smaller, more targeted campaigns.
On a monthly basis and at the end of a campaign, the agency exports reports from Cision Comms Cloud to share with their clients. “These reports really help us bring additional value to the relationship, and allows us to showcase the ROI of our PR efforts,” said Donahoe.
Planit has been a Cision customer for over five years and has been impressed with the platform upgrades and the customer service it has received. “Cision has the best platform I’ve ever used in my PR career and the support we’ve received has been amazing,” said Donahoe. “I’ve been using Cision for quite a long time, and have brought it with me to every company I’ve worked for.” Cision’s platform has contributed in some of the following areas:
Thorough media planning: Through the “Talking About” feature in Cision Database, Planit can get a nice picture of journalist or influencer opinions. “It helps us identify ‘brand loyals’ and allows us to build relationships quickly, especially in smaller markets,” said Donahoe. The team also uses the feature to identify influencers who’ve had bad experiences with its clients. “It is also a really powerful opportunity for us to demonstrate value and proactively rectify a bad situation,” said Donahoe. “Before a journalist writes negatively about you, they’ll probably talk about it on social media.”
Strong data points: 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 said. “It helps us pinpoint which stories are really resonating with our target audiences.” The agency has began to move away from calculating publicity value in favor of impact and prominence scores, which it gathers from Cision. “We’re gradually getting clients more familiar with these key stats that demonstrate quality of coverage. It’s been nice not having to calculate these by hand,” said Donahoe.
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,” said Donahoe. “In addition, the BCC feature allows for greater accountability across the agency.”
Planit recently realized the benefits of Cision through its successful campaign with Sheetz, a U.S. chain that offers fast food and convenience store items, in addition to gasoline.
Sheetz began opening fuel-free cafes, 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 the 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 outreach to continue generating buzz. “We used Cision to quickly identify the best contacts in Sheetz’ hyper-targeted markets,” said Donahoe. With college students at the heart of the campaign, Planit appreciated having updated contact information for on and off-campus media. “It was really important for us to have that data because it changes so frequently,” said Donahoe.
From building buzz to boots on the ground, Planit garnered more than three million media impressions in less than a month and drove more than 200 attendees to the grand opening of the Sheetz cafe.
Additionally, Planit has leveraged Cision in the development, execution and analysis of major campaigns for Sheetz such as opening the Sheetz 500th store, garnering 58 million media impressions across national, regional and local media and launching Sheetz’s premium coffee line, securing more than 550 media placements, 280 million impressions and increasing coffee sales overall by 11%. “We are extremely proud of our work with Sheetz and the coverage they’ve received,” said Donahoe. “Cision really helped us connect with the right audience.”