Company anniversaries can be a cool milestone event, but for most organizations, these are common occurrences that don’t garner front-page national news. Getting top-tier media coverage for this type of news can be challenging and should be approached as an exercise in creativity. That’s exactly what we did for our client, Agero, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Seeking a top-tier feature profile
Agero is a national leader in roadside assistance that works with auto manufacturers and insurance companies to help 33,000 drivers daily. The company was rightfully proud of this landmark event and aimed to land a feature profile in one specific outlet: Its local daily newspaper, The Boston Globe.
Landing coverage in this venerable outlet seemed to be no small task. The Boston Globe is recognized as one of the nation’s most prestigious newspapers, serving as Boston’s longtime newspaper of record, the largest newspaper in New England and a winner of 27 Pulitzer Prizes. Competition for its news coverage is fierce.
Our Voxus team knew that drawing the Globe’s interest required strategic thinking, which is where our firm’s longstanding relationship with Agero came into play.
Leveraging our specialized client
Voxus was deeply embedded in Agero’s brand narrative thanks to the relationship we built with the company that dates back nearly a decade. One notable challenge doubled as a unique storytelling opportunity: Despite being a billion-dollar company and the fourth-largest private business in Massachusetts, many people have never heard of Agero due to the nature of its business as a white-label roadside assistance provider. Additionally, drawing from our years of experience with the client, the Voxus team identified the most compelling story narratives we could tap and which company executives would best fit the type of feature that Agero desired if we were to succeed. The story around Agero’s 50th anniversary ultimately led to the company’s origin and its founder, Sidney Wolk.
The story of Mr. Wolk is naturally intriguing: He is a Massachusetts native who grew up in an immigrant family and boot-strapped his way to success. He became a serial entrepreneur in the 1960s, first working as an agent at Nationwide Insurance. Wolk eventually started and successfully sold two insurance companies, Summit Insurance and TIPCO, the latter having more than 2,000 agents across the country. He used his industry knowledge and experience to revolutionize roadside assistance and launched the Cross Country Motor Club (later to become Agero), which grew into an industry behemoth.
It’s a remarkable story that Voxus recognized required telling.
Putting our plan into action
The Voxus team crafted a pitch that provided a thumbnail sketch of Wolk’s background, the founding of Agero, and the company’s history and growth. From there, we determined our media outreach strategy, which included contingencies. Voxus targeted Jon Chesto, the Globe’s business reporter, who masterfully covers the leaders who shape Boston’s business community in his weekly “Bold Types” column. Voxus also leveraged intelligence from our internal pitching platform to identify the most ideal days and times to contact Jon. We tracked the open rate of our outgoing emails, which informed us when we should follow up via phone.
With our pitch crafted and plan in place, Voxus moved forward with outreach. After our team sent the initial pitch to Jon, it took repeated emails and phone calls to finally catch his interest.
Persistence pays off
Our outreach efforts to determine the Globe’s interest in covering the news continued for several months. Finally, after persistent follow-up activity from the Voxus team, our target journalist, Jon, expressed interest in scheduling an interview with Agero, to our mutual delight. Agero had determined it would host a 50thanniversary gala, which provided Voxus an event and firm date to tie the storyline and make the news timely for an interview.
After nine months of correspondence, Jon Chesto interviewed Sidney Wolk and his sons, Howard and Jeffrey. Days later, the much-anticipated feature profile published in The Boston Globe. The Wolk family was thrilled with the article, and Howard provided Voxus with the following message to share with Jon:
“I know that for my father in particular, having started out with very little and building the business over many decades, an article like this in The Boston Globe is particularly special. It is a real capstone, and we all genuinely appreciate Jon taking the time to present it so nicely.”
Enlisting the experts
The story of a company that many people have never heard of yet changed how millions receive roadside assistance could not have told itself, let alone appear in The Boston Globe. Our team at Voxus and Agero were thrilled with the successful outcome, knowing that ambitious goals aren’t always achievable.
This story required deep knowledge and familiarity with the company and illustrates the value of having a team of professionals to cultivate longstanding client relationships. It benefited from the determination of a PR team to identify a story that readers would find surprising and interesting, and that was committed to following through with our outreach efforts to the very end, resulting in an outcome that exceeded expectations.
Every company has its stories to tell but needs a team of dedicated professionals to help them identify the most compelling narratives so these stories can see the light of day. At Voxus, we’re thrilled that Agero continues to rely on us to help tell their stories.
Looking for an expert to help tell yours? Let’s chat.