Tim Haas, Product Development Manager
St. Louis, MO
Giani’s main focus is the manufacture of technical coating products such as ones you’d find that protect the decks of US Navy aircraft carriers. We are not PR experts as the market seems too complex for us to outguess and Consumer Products represent a fraction of our company’s history. Giani does have a very hardworking internal Marketing Team in which our primary asset is an attitude of ‘We don’t know – so let’s test’. We love hearing stories about how our new categories have made a ‘believer’ out of a doubting Mother-In law . . .
We sat down with Tim Haas, Product Development Manager at Giani to discuss why his company chose Cision, how he uses it to further his communications strategy, quick tips and more!
1. What were you doing before using Cision to support your communications & PR strategy?
We believe it has been vital to our survival to expose our DIY countertop refinishing kits to as many prospects as possible. Yet, only about 1 in every 1200 homes will ultimately purchase our product. As a result, we’ve used PR in the form of Social media blogging – pinning and posting – as it has been cost effective, is typically trusted and has given us fairly decent reach.
2. Why did you decide to purchase Cision?
We started to notice that our current PR efforts weren’t providing the exposure we were striving for when it came to the launch of new Consumer categories. As a result, we decided to take a step back and question our entire PR process. We ultimately realized that we didn’t have a clearly defined path or objective, nor were we present on all the platforms our prospects were using to get information and ideas. Our team concluded that we needed to create a more systemic PR process.
After doing substantial research, we found that Cision offered us access to a large media contact database across a variety of platforms, which is continuously updated, easy to search & target niche contacts, and also supplied us with a medium to broadcast our messages.
3. How are you using our product to support your PR and communications projects?
We use Cision three ways:
1. Cision’s database to identify editors whom have interests and reach within our parameters
2. Cision’s Email Distribution system to broadcast our communications
3. Cision’s ‘Help a Reporter Out’ (HARO) system to connect with editors whom are currently looking for assistance with stories within our context
4. What benefits have you seen from using Cision?
Since we’ve started using Cision, we’ve received eighteen impactful PR placements across nine media platforms. Our sales are up 29%! - While not all of that is attributable to Cision – the platform has played an integral role in our overall strategy.
5. Tell us about a recent and successful PR/comms campaign. What results did you achieve? What results stood out most for you?
We arrived at a junction in our Consumer Product Division a little while ago in which we’ve chosen to only develop and launch new products which we believe are ‘gossip worthy.’ As the distinction seems crucial to the effectiveness of our PR and subsequently - profits – And in order to meet the threshold - our new products must create a new category and also pick a fight with a Goliath – Such as our new “World’s first DIY marble!” Category.
After we developed the category and its branding, we identify the editors across all mediascapes in the Cision database whom are listed as having an interest in ‘home improvement’ or ‘décor’ and exhibit strong reach. We build the lists and systemically send our contacts a communication announcing our new upstart. We then send them a note touting it’s expected future Release Date, followed by another note after the category has been released, then one more heralding how it’s selling. Finally, we create intermittent follow-ups based on relevant calendar or news events in order to keep the embers slowly burning.
The producer of The Rachael Ray Show was part of our targeted outreach and contacted us after the third step as the process typically seems to take multiple exposures. Due to recognition, timing and maybe luck, the show’s producers along with Rachael Ray, and designer Taniya Nayak, created an effective segment about our new DIY marble which aired on April 29th 2019. As a result, we saw an increase of the new category’s exposure by approximately one and half million sets of eyeballs – (from a highly trusted source). We also saw our sales spike by 53 percent.
6. How did Cision help you achieve this success you mentioned in Question 5?
Cision had the database and the distribution capabilities to make our PR process feasible.
7. What is your favorite Cision feature?
The Cision Database and Email Distribution.
8. Does Cision make your workday easier? Tell us how!
Cision allows us to concentrate on our core competencies - product development and messaging.
9. Given your success, what advice would you share with another PR/comms professional?
PR is vital to the success of creating a new category, as it uniquely provides a trifecta of trust, reach and cost efficiency.
Consumers often don’t know what to type into the Amazon search bar until they’ve seen or heard about the item from somewhere else. That “somewhere else” may not necessarily be social media channels or your favorite blogs. It might be in “traditional media” such as The New York Times, The TODAY Show or Better Homes and Gardens.
If you’re in product development and do a lot of your creative work upfront in selecting to develop only products which create a new category, then your downstream work in PR will be a lot easier.
We’ve found it advantageous to regularly keep up with Cision’s “Recommended Additions” as editors appear to frequently come and go, especially bloggers.
Cision’s support tools from their Account Executives – such as Tia Galloway – to their Helps Techs are knowledgeable and very supportive.
Finally - we believe you can’t beat Cision as a tool to help you identify and reach the editors across all media types because they’ve already done most of the heavy lifting for you.