With Bernard Van Bellingen, PR manager for Porsche
& Thomas De Meûter, PR manager for Audi
D'Ieteren is one of the largest Belgian car distributers, housing brands such as Audi, Škoda, Seat (all part of the Volkswagen group), and Porsche.
The different PR managers, responsible for each brand, were struggling with the same issues in their PR workflow. They wanted to create visual stories, but had to use a combination of tools to do it. Sending emails to stakeholders was tough manual labor. And on top of that, they lacked insight and oversight on their workflow. Did stakeholders even read the email? Did someone from the team already follow up? When did we send out that release? Many questions, little answers. Until now.
Bernard Van Bellingen started out at Porsche as a test pilot, and has been the PR manager since 2007. Thomas De Meûter has been Audi's PR manager since 2010. Here they explain how they used Prezly to turn things aroud.
Bernard and Thomas wanted to communicate more visually. They wanted to create stories with images, video's and other media assets. And those stories had to arrive nicely at their stakeholders as well. Their workflow, however, wasn't really cooperating: stories were created in Word, contact lists were maintained in Excel, and Outlook was used to share the stories with stakeholders. Bringing all of that together proved a difficult, time-consuming task.
So first a story had to be created as a Word document. The next step in the creation process was converting the finished Word document to a PDF file, that in turn had to be attached to an email.
Attaching a large PDF file with images to an email is not without its drawbacks either. Bernard and Thomas were continuously battling email delivery issues.
“Most of the time, emails didn't arrive like they should have arrived at our stakeholders.”
All contacts were organised in a dirty old Excel sheet. Sending out a story meant manually copying and pasting email addresses into Bernard's and Thomas' email clients.
Complicating this already cumbersome process even more, Porsche and Audi communicate in multiple languages: English, French, and Dutch. That means that Bernard and Thomas had to go through this hellish process multiple times. Create Word document, convert to PDF, attach to email, retrieve contacts from Excel file, paste in Outlook, send. Rinse and repeat.
Three years ago, Bernard and Thomas switched to Prezly: their workflow is now nicely tied together in an easy-to-use tool.
Creating and sharing a story is now easier than ever. In Prezly, they create a story with a few clicks. Adding text, hi-res images, video's, other media assets like PDF's, zip files, you name it. In addition, the system also helps them with setting up multilingual versions of their stories. It's as easy as clicking 'Translate'. The only thing that's left to do is replace the copy. Prezly takes care of layout and media assets.A story in the Porsche newsroom
Finding the right contacts? No more Excel sheets for the PR managers at D'Ieteren. Instead they now use Prezly's built-in contact management system. Segmenting and reaching different stakeholder groups is now easy. Before, Bernard and Thomas were struggling to find the right people from their Excel lsit. Now, it's as simple as filtering for 'blogger' or 'dealership'.Finding the right stakeholders in Prezly with contact filters
Something Bernard was really struggling with: setting up email campaigns in multiple languages. With Prezly, the only thing he needs to do is filter his contacts by language and select the correct story to send them. No copying and pasting, no hassle with Excel.
“Sending out stories before, it was quite a job. Now I send out a story with just a couple of clicks.”
The content of the email now also requires minimal effort. Prezly automatically creates a visual email with thumbnails of all attached images, video's, and other assets. Everything's right there in the email, no more large attachments.
One of the drawbacks of using your own email client to share your stories, is the limited feedback you get on your outreach. With Prezly, Bernard and Thomas now have access to detailed reports on the email campaigns they send out. How many people opened and clicked the email? And even more interesting: who opened and clicked the email? Which media assets did they download, and why?
“We can now really understand our stakeholders. It's no longer one-way communication, it has become a dialogue.”
But there's more. Reports are not limited to an email campaign alone. For every contact in Prezly's built-in PR CRM there is a detailed report on what campaigns they engaged with.A report for an Audi email campaign
Besides solving Bernard's and Thomas' workflow problems, Prezly has also opened new doors for them.
The D'Ieteren group houses different car brands alongside Porsche and Audi. While each brand has its own dedicated PR team, they share the same contacts and stakeholders. Regardless, each PR team had its own contact list. That meant everyone had chunks of information on the same people, but there was no way to bring those chunks together.
With Prezly, that has become a story of the past. All PR teams of D'Ieteren's different brands share the same contact database. That allows them to share intelligence on their stakeholders. If Bernard leaves a note on a specific person, Thomas can find it later.
And there's another benefit to all brands are working in Prezly: they can now easily help each other out.
“If someone has a problem, we can access Prezly from anywhere and help them out.”
In Thomas' case, Prezly has even brought him to incorporate a new step in Audi's PR workflow. The Audi team now does regular meetings in which they go through their contact database, re-evaluate their relationships with stakeholders, and check if all information is up to date.A detailed contact view in Prezly
Because of Prezly, it has now become easy for the D'Ieteren PR managers to create and distribute visual stories. And that has opened up new stakeholder segment for them. While before Prezly, they only communicated with journalists, lately, their stakeholder list has also come to include the dealerships that D'Ieteren works with.
“For dealerships, our stories are a great source of information. They use it all the time.”
Getting started with Prezly was easy. The Prezly team helped in setting up the online newsrooms. In just a few days, the D'Ieteren team could get started: the only thing left to do was publishing stories. Little or no involvement from the IT team was needed.
“Getting started was very easy. You instantly find what you’re looking for.”
To ensure a smooth startup, the D'Ieteren PR managers did a training with someone from the Prezly team to show them ins and outs of the system. Additional support systems were are also available. The Prezly team maintains an extensive knowledge base. And if that can't provide the answers to their questions, the Prezly team is ready to assist via an in-app live chat.
“It's like having an iPad. Prezly just works.”
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