How a New PR and Communications Strategy Helped Transition a Traditional Company into a Modern and Strategic Marketing Culture

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1 Communications and PR Case Study Company: Planes Specialized Logistics Fall 2014

2 How a New PR and Communications Strategy Helped Transition a Traditional Company into a Modern and Strategic Marketing Culture Planes Companies, a mid-american transportation and logistics company with more than 90 years of experience, recognized it was time to modernize their public identity and better define the abilities and reach of their offerings. Until this point, Planes was a classic example of a traditional company that for too long had embraced stale marketing practices such as phone book advertisements and an outdated, basic website the result of which was declining revenue and stagnant business growth. Planes realized the Specialized Logistics division of the company was an area for growth potential. The executive team employed the services of Erin Paulson, a leading brand strategist and founder of The Paulson Collective, a collaborative branding and creative group, to develop a new strategic marketing plan for Planes Specialized Logistics and execute the work outlined in the plan. Paulson s philosophy is that the standard agency model of one full-time staff working on all projects is impractical in today s dynamic business landscape. Something new will always come along, and it s important to find the most resourceful experts in each field of the constantly changing marketing mix. For this reason, The Paulson Collective offers a more modern format, assigning each client its own unique team, hand-picked based on each member s talents and experience relative to the client s distinct needs. This collaboration ensures the best minds and talents are involved with a project, executing the most efficient and effective work possible. In this case, the task was to create a brand and messaging strategy in order to launch the newly-formed brand Planes Specialized Logistics, a unit of Planes Companies. By the recommendations of Paulson, this launch included a new logo, website, infographics and video/animation design, and a new content marketing strategy, including targeted web content, case studies, a corporate blog, and public relations and social media strategies to promote the new content. 2

3 Content Marketing After months of market research, in-depth competitor audits, internal assessments and strategic planning meetings with Planes executive leadership and key sales reps and customer coordinators, it was time to begin developing the content marketing program for Planes Specialized Logistics. Paulson maintains that nowhere is content more critical to marketing success than in business to business marketing. With long sales cycles, large and complex decision-making committees, and tightly controlled budgets, B2B marketing programs must immediately engage with audiences, and then keep that connection for the duration. Planes leadership team fully supported the creation of compelling content for Planes Specialized Logistics, and the consistent dissemination of this content through a number of channels. Content Marketing is the magnet that can help a company like Planes Specialized Logistics be found in search results, drive inbound traffic, attract prospects, convert leads and engage customers. For Content Marketing to be effective, strong content must be created and promoted regularly, and the following formats also based on recommendations from Paulson are ideal for the B2B selling environment: Blog posts Case studies Videos marketing Infographics Webinars Social media As a second step, content should be targeted to various buyer personas. The main buyer persona for Planes Specialized Logistics was focused on manager and director levels in supply chain, logistics, or procurement. The team examined the following persona concepts in developing new messaging and content: Core Buyer information demographics, job description and priorities Persona connection buying triggers, success factors, the buying process and decision criteria All website and case study content was developed with these facets in mind. 3

4 Web Content As the website was going through dramatic changes in appearance, the site content was also in need of a creative and strategic overhaul. Planes marketing team began the process of developing new messaging and content for the website, supported by The Paulson Collective, which sourced all content development support to a seasoned writer and public relations professional, Dane Coleman. Coleman proofed and edited all web copy for not only SEO optimization, but to ensure the messaging was on-target with the strategic goals. 4

5 Case Studies For use as both web content and as a sales tool, case studies are hard to beat. Case studies summarize in detail the effectiveness of a company s product or services using a real customer story as an example. Case studies boost SEO presence and can be used in PR pitches as articles and abstracts. Planes marketing team and The Paulson Collective developed a total of six case studies for Planes Specialized logistics. 5

6 Social Media & Thought-Leadership To continue the success of the website launch and support inbound website traffic, Planes leadership team committed to leveraging social media and executing a thought leadership platform via a blogging program. Coleman created new social media accounts under the Planes corporate brand, and manages all accounts by populating content multiple times per week, driving customer connections and interactions. 6

7 Blog Program One of the best methods for creating fresh content on a website is through consistent blogging efforts. Planes marketing team recruit blog ideas and outlines from members of the Specialized Logistics team, and Coleman finalizes the blog postings and ensures that the messages are on target with the overall strategic approach. 7

8 Public Relations Modern PR is about establishing, and nurturing, a trust and belief in your brand in the media and your customers, both current and potential. By defining your target audience and segmenting media outlets by relevance and level of influence, and then turning those media into believers and advocates of your company, public relations is the most effective way to communicate your brand. It s about inspiring the media and fueling awareness, which increases brand exposure and influences buyers. Results: For Planes Specialized Logistics, the brand launch PR plan created and driven by Coleman included the following: A press release to announce the rebranding and new website Utilize PR Newswire to distribute press release, which includes Industry targets in logistics and transportation Regional distribution to: IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, OH, WI (Print & Broadcast Media Points) 6,500+ Web Sites & Online Media Databases 8

9 Ongoing PR Goals: Relationship building with key media members and influencers via: Media research and media list development Editorial calendar research News release writing News release distribution via PR News wire, the primary online news wire Media outreach and relationship building, including: o Crafting, whenever possible, compelling stories, pitches and abstracts to media o Personalized news release distribution to editors and media Social Media influencer research and outreach Award research and entry Speaking engagement and event research Desired Results: Feature article/blog placement and mentions Unsolicited invites to speak/author Media pick-ups from news releases, social media and blogging efforts Quoted by media and influencers Speaker/author placements Target interest based on finding Planes via the above results 9

10 Conclusion Planes Companies was so pleased with the outcome of the marketing and re-branding program for the Logistics division that they have decided to go forward with the strategic development of other new and existing divisions. Soon, the entire company will have a unified approach to its branding and messaging, which will only continue to further Planes from the competition. The days of simply putting an ad in the phone book to reach potential customers are gone. The younger and more technologically-oriented buyers and audiences become, the more important modern marketing tactics will be for a message to have any influence. The future of B2B marketing relies on a strong, contemporary online presence, which is achieved through original written and video content, targeted branding and messaging, and powerful design. 10

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