Cracker Barrel scoops up Cision's Straessle

Straessle will manage corporate communications for the dining chain.

LEBANON, TN: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has hired Cision’s Breeanna Straessle as manager of corporate communications.

Straessle, one of PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 honorees in 2015, stepped into the role last week, two months after the restaurant chain started working with Edible, a division of Edelman.

She reports to Cracker Barrel’s corporate communications director Janella Escobar and has no direct reports. It was not immediately clear who Straessle succeeded at the company.

In the role, she is charged with overseeing all external communications for Cracker Barrel, including media relations and reputation management, in collaboration with Escobar. Straessle is also responsible for developing and executing strategic communications efforts to ensure effective management of Cracker Barrel’s corporate reputation, brand, and identity.

Straessle explained that, as a communicator, she feels "lucky" to be able to tell the story of a brand that is so well-loved by people, including herself. A personal fan of the brand, Straessle admitted she ate at Cracker Barrel four times in her first week.

The story of Cracker Barrel’s modest beginnings in 1969 in a tiny Tennessee town and the fact that it uses "high quality" ingredients and has a "thorough" training program for field staffers are details that make the business different from other brands in the industry, said Straessle.

"Cracker Barrel does things differently; that is why it has been successful," she said. "My goal is to tell that story because I think a lot of people don’t know it."

Before joining Cracker Barrel, Straessle was at the center of the media storm when the merger of Vocus and Cision generated headlines across international outlets last year.

Serving as Cision’s director of corporate communications, a position she stepped down from earlier this month , she oversaw a team of seven PR, design, social media, and copywriting professionals. Along with executing media strategy, she led influencer and analyst relations, social media and content marketing, and much of the brand and creative work, including native advertising.

Cision is actively recruiting for Straessle’s replacement, a rep from the company told PRWeek.

Before the merger, she led Vocus’ communications and social media teams for nearly two years, increasing media coverage of its annual conference by 623% and social media buzz by 157%.

Earlier in her career, she served as director of marketing for Carousel30, a digital agency in Washington, DC.

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