Client:

Patriot Rail & Ports

SUMMARY

Patriot Rail & Ports (PRAP) is an operator of shortline and regional freight railroads, rail services, and port logistics throughout the United States. They were founded in 2006 and have been growing their portfolio of assets and services ever since. With their strong focus on growth, marketing those new services fell onto internal employees with little to no knowledge of how to position the company within the industry. They simply didn’t have the bandwidth to deploy a sound marketing strategy. PRAP completely outsourced its marketing department to Fable Heart Media while they focused on operating and growing the company.

How We Helped

Sales Enablement

Corporate Communications

Social Media Management

Advertising

Blog Writing

Videography & Photography

THE CHALLENGE

Photo of a stacker at Blount Island Terminal in Jacksonville, FL

Patriot Rail & Ports has a lot to offer, but those offerings weren’t being showcased. Relevancy and thought leadership are major in the transportation industry. Oftentimes, new business is born through relationships with other railroads and logistics companies. PRAP was posting on social media with no strategy in mind. Not only were the captions empty, but the associated content quality was also poor. The only time they posted articles on their website was to announce big company changes, however, these articles weren’t working to boost their website SEO. They really needed an all-encompassing marketing strategy.

OUR APPROACH

 Our approach with this project, and every project we take on, is to begin by defining the critical path of a project and communicating that path to the client to control scope creep and save the client time, money and stress. We planned from the result backward and never began work until we vetted every micro-task of the project. We made sure to keep PRAP involved in every step. We built a great deal of trust through weekly, and sometimes daily conversations with the client. They viewed Fable Heart Media as an extension of themselves.

A couple of things were very important to the decision makers at PRAP:

1

Prove to executive management that the marketing efforts directly contributed to revenue growth.

2

Provide professional marketing guidance with a great deal of autonomy.

3

Create relevancy in the industry Patriot operates within.

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Communicating the Value

Patriot Rail & Ports didn’t have the bandwidth to focus on gathering content, so their library was outdated and limited. Not only did they have beautiful railroads and ports that weren’t being showcased, but they were also missing out on opportunities to thoughtfully connect with their employees and customers. 

They needed a professionally curated collection of content to utilize on social media and in press releases. We created a content strategy centered around communicating the value the company provided customers on a daily basis.

Video used in Patriot Rail & Ports Board of Directors meeting.

Video Production

Patriot Rail & Ports was quickly expanding their portfolio and they needed a way to announce their growth to the market. A press release is the backbone of a publicity strategy. When announcing an acquisition or merger, truly connecting with new employees and customers requires more than the standard press release. We produced a short video to accompany the written release. The video helped to personify the company; put a face to the name. It introduced the CEO of the company, who personally welcomed the new location to the PRAP family. 

Each video we produced was centered around the overarching goals of the company. A lot goes into video production, but our team of experts works to ensure a seamless process every time.

We handled all pre-production, filming, and editing for Patriot Rail & Ports:

Acquisition Video
Promotional Video

Photography

A major piece of the robust content strategy we developed for Patriot Rail & Ports was showing the ‘people’ factor. When followers feel a connection with a company, they are more likely to follow along and engage with the content. We visited their railroads and ports across the country in search of developing that connection through photography. 

We created detailed shot lists to promote the specific differentiating features of each asset within their portfolio. We weren’t just taking photos of a train or vessel, we had a specific use for each photo. There was no time wasted; everything had a purpose. The photos were utilized in social media posts, blogs, press releases, and on the company website. 

Fable Heart Media is Here For You.

Whether you own a small company or lead a marketing team, Fable Heart Media can help you achieve your business goals. Our process focuses on driving measurable growth and obtaining results. Of course, we love creating beautiful websites and writing awesome blogs, but for us, nothing tops the feeling of seeing our customers grow online due to our partnership.

Let’s Talk About Growing Your Business!

Acquisition-Focused Public Relation Strategy

Patriot Rail & Ports (PRAP) viewed Fable Heart Media as a marketing partner, not just an outsourced service provider. We provided expert marketing guidance while PRAP focused on operating the company. We developed an acquisition public relations strategy for deployment upon the purchase of new assets which included a customized customer packet and video from the CEO.  Prior to our partnership, Patriot Rail & Ports was creating digital and paper advertisements in Powerpoint without any creative direction. 

Patriot Rail & Ports was meeting with city leaders across the country in an effort to acquire new assets, however, the presentations weren’t working to support their company goals. Everything is connected. If one piece of the puzzle is misaligned, credibility is impacted. Our in-house designer created consistent and aesthetically pleasing marketing materials to help sell their services. PRAP’s marketing materials needed to reflect the professionalism that radiated throughout the company. 

Custom Collateral

With such a strong push for acquiring assets, PRAP needed to ensure that the transfer of ownership was seamless for customers. Our in-house design team crafted a custom acquisition package to welcome the new customers that came along with the assets. It presents a wealth of information about PRAP in a warm, inviting, and design-oriented way. We took the high-quality photos our team gathered and coupled them with customized icons and graphics to create a clean and professional packet. The copy was written to echo the voice and value proposition of Patriot Rail & Ports: professionalism and reliability. PRAP’s customers are a part of a family, and we made sure they knew that.

Acquisition Video

As a part of the public relations strategy, we produced an acquisition announcement video from the CEO. The purpose of the videos was two-fold: welcome new employees and customers and announce to the industry that the company was growing.

It allowed all parties to put a face to the company name. While PRAP was growing, it was important to remove the fear factor from new employees and customers. We wanted to communicate that each new railroad was becoming a part of a family.

Fable Heart Media is Here For You.

Whether you own a small company or lead a marketing team, Fable Heart Media can help you achieve your business goals. Our process focuses on driving measurable growth and obtaining results. Of course, we love creating beautiful websites and writing awesome blogs, but for us, nothing tops the feeling of seeing our customers grow online due to our partnership.

Let’s Talk About Growing Your Business!

The Challenge

Patriot Rail & Ports (PRAP) social media strategy was non-existent. They didn’t post to any platform with day, time, or messaging in mind. They were constantly reusing the same outdated photos that they had collected years prior, which didn’t showcase the services accurately. 

Patriot Rail & Ports needed a complete overhaul. We developed a dynamic social media strategy aimed at personifying the company and positioning Patriot Rail & Ports as industry experts. Our team curated a library of high-resolution images to give their social media platforms a professional look. Each post worked to communicate the voice of Patriot Rail & Ports: reliability, value-driven, solution providers. 

Our Approach

We crafted a robust strategy for each social network. Every update, reply, comment, story, and adjustment was completely handled by Fable Heart Media.    

It's important to identify the intention of a company's presence on social media to truly track the success of the strategy. Goal setting is at the forefront of an effective social strategy. Those goals should align with the company goals.

Patriot had a new owner and they were in a growing phase, so their social media presence needed to be centered around credibility and awareness. These pillars were at the base of their social strategy:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Service Awareness
  • Thought Leadership

The most important prelude to deploying a social strategy is client research. We conducted a competitive analysis which provided direction on how to position PRAP on each social platform. We identified the strengths and weaknesses of their competitors and benchmarked those against PRAP's. We focused on dominating platforms which competitors had little presence to gain market share.

Which posts get the most engagement in the industry? When is this intended audience scrolling through social media each day? These were questions we answered through our industry research and social analytics after deploying our strategy. 

The second major piece of research is hashtags analysis. We created an extensive list of relevant industry hashtags, ensuring we had a healthy mix of low and high density hashtags to optimize PRAP's social exposure.

In order to create effective social media posts, we had to identify the target audience. If you don't know who you're hoping to reach, you're wasting time and effort. We created multiple audience profiles to aid in thoughtfully structuring the posts.

Patriot Rail & Ports potential customers were likely not finding them on social media. They were finding them through a search engine or word of mouth. We crafted content aimed at creating awareness in the industry, among PRAP's competitors, and communicating the positive company culture, targeting potential employees. The content worked to position the company as thought leaders within the marketplace and put a face to the name.

Managing Social Media can be cumbersome. Our management process allows for content creation, post approvals, and post scheduling to be done at least one month in advance.

The PRAP team had access to a custom social media calendar within a shared document for complete visibility. This document included the posts for each day, on each platform and the associated content and vetted hashtags. Requested changes were made in real-time. Adjustments, like adding a time sensitive post profiling a new service, were made within minutes.

We managed their entire social network, including inboxes. Our team acted as an extension of PRAP. Our extensive knowledge of all services allowed for complete autonomy.

Each week, we provided PRAP with a full workup of social media analytics. This data detailed the engagement over time; total impressions, reactions, and page followers.

Our engagement strategy was centered around personifying Patriot Rail & Ports. We profiled employees and told their unique stories. People connect with people. We found that photos of people rather than equipment performed the best. Content reach and impressions were higher. People are more likely to share posts if they connect with them.

Another major piece of the engagement strategy is interacting with other accounts. If you take the social out of social media, it's just media. We identified industry hashtags and engaged daily with relevant accounts within each hashtag with the intent of receiving engagement in return.

Results

After implementing the social strategy, things improved drastically and quickly. Post impressions on Instagram more than quadrupled and engagements on Instagram tripled in one month. There was a 97% increase in LinkedIn average daily impressions. Check out more results below.

+23%

Facebook followers in one year

+68%

Instagram followers in one year

+35%

LinkedIn followers in one year

Fable Heart Media is Here For You.

Whether you own a small company or lead a marketing team, Fable Heart Media can help you achieve your business goals. Our process focuses on driving measurable growth and obtaining results. Of course, we love creating beautiful websites and writing awesome blogs, but for us, nothing tops the feeling of seeing our customers grow online due to our partnership.

Let’s Talk About Growing Your Business!

Sales Empowerment

Patriot Rail & Port’s (PRAP) marketing team was non-existent. Their sales team was handling the sales process from start to finish including the creation of all marketing materials. They were running out of bandwidth and needed a solution. That solution was a completely outsourced marketing team: us. We provided the resources and guidance the PRAP sales team needed to close deals.

Content Optimization

We conducted a full content audit to assess the health of PRAP’s marketing collateral. Our team identified opportunities for the injection of sales materials that would support the company’s growth strategy.

Forest products make up the bulk of their business at one of their ports. This product was lucrative and they were experts at handling it, both on and off-dock. With the majority of forest product movement occurring on the East Coast of the U.S., there was an opportunity to push this service to the marketplace in a smarter way. We armed sales with a customized brochure centered around the port’s key differentiators.

Sales Coaching

A major component of optimizing marketing materials is understanding the sales direction for each asset. We provided that direction to the sales VP’s at Patriot Rail & Ports. We met directly with the sales team and conducted detailed interviews to gain the knowledge needed to provide goal-oriented guidance.

PRAP recently acquired a location that offered a service outside of their existing portfolio of services. It was foreign territory for the company, so the learning curve was steep. We wanted to push this new service to the market utilizing social media, but we needed to understand the value proposition of the asset first. We worked with the VP of sales that was assigned to this new location and created a go-to-market framework strategy. Armed with this knowledge, our team created custom ads to deploy to the market, and the PRAP sales team was better equipped to sell the service.

Fable Heart Media is Here For You.

Whether you own a small company or lead a marketing team, Fable Heart Media can help you achieve your business goals. Our process focuses on driving measurable growth and obtaining results. Of course, we love creating beautiful websites and writing awesome blogs, but for us, nothing tops the feeling of seeing our customers grow online due to our partnership.

Let’s Talk About Growing Your Business!

Strategic Design

Patriot Rail and Ports (PRAP) had a history of advertising within local and industry-wide publications. They wanted to stay relevant within those publications, but they didn’t have the ability to create information-driven ads that were aesthetically pleasing. The majority of these ads were designed by their executive assistant. They needed design direction. That’s where we come in. 

PRAP outsourced all company-wide design work to our team. Our in-house designers work with a great deal of autonomy after initial direction from the client. For each ad we designed, we drafted multiple variations for client review. Because we don’t outsource this service, we can make agile shifts at the client’s request. The ads were designed with more than just aesthetics in mind. We placed heavy weight on composition. An ad can be visually appealing, but if the message and call to action aren’t clear, time and money are wasted.

Customer Appreciation Ad

PRAP wanted to take the time to thank one of their largest rail customers for continuing to work and keep the supply chain moving during Covid. The print ad was to be distributed to the town the paper mills operate within and to the paper plants themselves.

Instead of using PRAP’s branding, we used the customers to really show appreciation. Our team incorporated elements of their logo to further tailor the design to the customer. The ad’s message is clear and thoughtfully placed. As always, we created multiple variations for the client to choose from.

A forestry transportation sales brochure

Thought Leadership

We designed a full-page ad in an online publication, Railway Age; an established American trade journal for the rail transport industry that has been around for over 100 years. The ad worked to position the CEO as a thought leader in the industry.

There was a lot to include in this ad. PRAP wanted to congratulate the CEO for being recognized in the industry, but also include copy about their services.

Information Packed, Artfully Designed

The goal of this ad was to drive people to contact Patriot Rail & Ports for port services. The ad was placed in a local transportation directory. We needed to list all of PRAP’s port locations and highlight the services and capabilities that they offer throughout the Southeast. 

We were sent a long list of services to include and we weren’t working with much real estate. Our team designed a custom graphic to display this vast amount of information in an aesthetically pleasing format. The arms reaching to each service represent transportation channels leading to the hub: Patriot Rail & Ports. 

Photo of a transportation advertisement.

Fable Heart Media is Here For You.

Whether you own a small company or lead a marketing team, Fable Heart Media can help you achieve your business goals. Our process focuses on driving measurable growth and obtaining results. Of course, we love creating beautiful websites and writing awesome blogs, but for us, nothing tops the feeling of seeing our customers grow online due to our partnership.

Let’s Talk About Growing Your Business!

Creating a Connection

As Patriot Rail & Ports’ (PRAP) outsourced marketing team, we focused on creating content that aligned with the company’s overarching goals: grow the business, create awareness, and position the company as experts in the industry. The blogs worked to show the personal side of PRAP and put a face to the work being performed for their customers.

The railroads run through small, established towns and the employees have a personal connection to the operation. They truly care about the customers and want the business to succeed. We showed that through the thoughtful content we crafted.

Our Approach

Our team wrote over 50 blogs that worked to drive organic traffic to their website. The content was centered around personifying the company with a strong focus on industry keywords and phrases aimed at putting the PRAP website on the map.

The blogs serve many purposes, but one of the most important is website search engine optimization (SEO). We created an exhaustive keyword strategy, prioritizing the use of key industry words and phrases.

We identified top queries potential clients would enter into a search engine and thoughtfully integrated them into each blog. If a website doesn't work to guide site visitors, it's a waste of content. This approach was taken in every piece of content we created for PRAP.

Each of Patriot Rail & Ports assets have their own unique story and value proposition. We featured the aspects of each location which differentiated them from their competitors.

One of the railroads had a massive railcar storage yard that was connected to three other major railroads, which is a unique offering. We wrote a blog, profiling a customer who had an immediate need to store hundreds of railcars in this yard. It detailed how the PRAP employees worked with the customer to make a difficult task a seamless process.

These stories were present, we just brought them out of hiding.

The blogs were written with thought leadership in mind. Each piece of content was written to position Patriot Rail & Ports as leading authorities in the industry.

We interviewed the service experts at each location and crafted blogs which told the unique, deeply rooted perspective of those individuals. The blogs establish credibility and communicate the overall, authoritative knowledge the company holds within the industry.

Fable Heart Media is Here For You.

Whether you own a small company or lead a marketing team, Fable Heart Media can help you achieve your business goals. Our process focuses on driving measurable growth and obtaining results. Of course, we love creating beautiful websites and writing awesome blogs, but for us, nothing tops the feeling of seeing our customers grow online due to our partnership.

Let’s Talk About Growing Your Business!

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We will work together to craft a plan that will allow your business make a leap forward.

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