NewmanPR is a Florida-based agency founded in 1946 by the late Stuart Newman. The agency provides media relations, public relations, crisis communications, social media, and marketing services to its clients in the maritime, leisure travel, and cruise line industries. Its roster of clients includes Costa Cruises, Florida Keys and Key West Tourism Council, Holland America Line, The Travel Institute, Cruise Critic, and the Carnival Foundation.
Having provided earned media measurement services to their clients for years, NewmanPR knows the value of a dependable media monitoring and reporting platform. So, when their current PR software vendor was acquired and the customer service rapidly declined, NewmanPR began the urgent hunt for a new one.
Heading up the search was Buck Banks, Senior Vice President. “We were rather desperate to find something reliable,” says Banks. “Ease of use and customer service were the two big priorities.” Additionally, whatever new platform they adopted had to be powerful enough to meet their clients’ substantial needs. “Our clients are insistent on specific data points that they want to see,” says Banks.
With these criteria in mind, Banks saw demonstrations from several potential vendors before deciding on Agility Monitoring, which offers far and wide listening, with broad content coverage and easy PR reporting.
There is a good reason why many of NewmanPR’s clients have been with them for over a decade and why the Florida Keys Tourism Council has been with them since the 1980s. “We are very old fashioned about the things that matter,” says Banks. “It goes back to founder Stuart Newman’s approach to doing business—we give our clients 110 cents to the dollar.” NewmanPR wanted this same responsive, partnership-driven approach in their next media monitoring and measurement provider.
“The quality and responsiveness of Agility’s customer service is probably the biggest recommendation I can make,” says Banks. “Because you don’t get that elsewhere. Having lived through the pain of not being able to get help when you need it, it’s refreshing, and it really inspires loyalty.”
At the time of their search, NewmanPR was already using Agility Outreach to maintain relationships with their industry contacts and deliver targeted pitches. Agility Outreach allows PR pros to discover contacts in a database of 1 million unique journalists and outlets, and amplify their message through an integrated email distribution tool. “We like the fact that we can distribute directly through the platform,” says Banks. “The interface is very simple. You can put everything all in one place and you have the metrics on deliverability, which enables you to know who is opening and reading your press releases.”
Even though they were pleased with their Outreach service and liked what they saw in the Agility Monitoring demo, Banks and Andy Newman, the president of NewmanPR, were hesitant to go all in. “Given our rather tortured background with other platforms, we really insisted on having at least a week’s trial, which was unusual at the time,” says Banks. Agility Monitoring did everything they needed it to do and was powerful enough to meet their clients’ needs. Aer the trial, Banks concluded that they’d found their new partner.
Agility is an integral part of NewmanPR’s daily life. In addition to email distribution and relationship building, NewmanPR uses Agility to provide regular email briefings and competitive analysis of coverage, and to respond swiftly in times of crisis. “We have been involved with a number of crisis situations and being able to rely on the monitoring and reporting tools is essential,” says Banks. In 2021, a client crisis required them to immediately monitor news coming out of Alaska. “Which is not always the easiest thing to do,” says Banks. With Agility Monitoring, they were able to track and measure the narrative arc, and make sure the reputational component of the messaging was making it to the media and being represented accurately.
And when the whole world was thrown into crisis? “It was March thirteenth, 2020,” says Banks. “That’s when the cruise industry stopped, period. The news for the next 12 months was, ‘We’re cancelling this cruise, we’re cancelling that cruise, we’re trying to pay people back.’” NewmanPR began monitoring the pandemic’s influence on the cruise industry and added COVID-19 news to the daily briefing they already delivered to clients. “The tool enabled us to provide an additional service to our clients,” says Banks.
Also, during the year-long cruise line shutdown, NewmanPR helped their client, Holland America land a prominent placement. “In 2020, the president of Holland America wrote an op-ed piece he wanted placed in one of the big outlets,” says Banks. “I was able to go into the database and pull the editorial board for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Washington Post. His op-ed ended up in the Wall Street Journal.”
In the end, what matters most to Banks is that “Agility enables us to keep our clients happy” and support is always available. “If I need anything, I can get someone on the horn in a hurry,” says Banks. “Agility excels at customer service.”