Written by Ben Cossor • Published 29th March 2016
With nearly 300 million records leaked and over £1 billion stolen in the last 12 months, cyber-attacks have been at the forefront of the news agenda like never before. People are now much more aware of cyber security’s importance, following a number of high profile attacks – from the “Impact Team” hacker group which stole and exposed the personal details of more than 11m Ashley Madison members, to the loss of 20,000 TalkTalk customers’ details when it was hacked by teenagers.
But the growing importance of cyber security opens up a wealth of opportunities for businesses to own this space and be seen as industry experts – be it by reacting to a breaking news story or educating the public on how to keep their data secure. Here we explore four key tips for raising the profile of your cyber security business.
1. Tell your success stories
It’s important to be able to bring your brand to life and personalise it through compelling case studies. A key element of PR is about telling stories and humanising a brand. This is particularly important for tech brands with complex innovation at the heart of their product; for cyber security businesses we always recommend publicising the actual adoption of their product or services for the greater good. Consider how you have actually helped customers protect their data or overcome a security breach, and use this material as one of your key PR tools. Case studies of your brand’s impact not only creates engaging content, but also brings credibility to the claims you make to potential customers. Real-life stories also help to educate the general public about your field and help them relate to your brand.
2. React to breaking news stories
A key strand of PR activity is to hijack the news agenda and secure comment opportunities for your spokesperson on breaking stories. Ultimately you want viewers to associate your brand with the story and to position you as the go-to industry expert. The many broadcast news channels such as Sky News, CNBC and Bloomberg offer great opportunities for guest comment and are really effective platforms to generate exposure for your brand, so when a high profile data breach or hacking story breaks, you need to take the opportunity.
Think about the cyber-attacks that have been and gone over the last 12 months – Vodafone, HSBC, AT&T and the government of Turkey have all been subject to hacking, and all these stories were headline news and covered in depth on TV and radio. Consider the expertise you have to hand and how you can weave this into the debate and offer authoritative insight. We regularly secure interviews for the CEOs and MDs of our tech clients – such as Jason Downes, MD of Powwownow, who recently appeared on BBC Business Live to discuss the future of the commute.
3. Harness your unique data
When there isn’t a breaking story to comment on, you can to an extent create the news agenda by releasing industry-relevant data stemming from your own research, such as a survey of your customer database. This is a good way of owning statistics which, again, help position you as experts at the forefront of your industry and benefit your corporate profile. From this data you can stagger a variety of stories tailored for the industry, technology and consumer press – we always recommend considering which interesting trends you can reveal and the headlines you can create (e.g. ‘A third of businesses are unaware they have been hacked’) with never before seen facts and figures from surveys.
4. Educate through thought leadership
A major part of raising your brand’s profile is to be perceived as an expert by potential customers, who may or may not choose your services based on what they can learn from you. With an issue as complex as cyber security, a large proportion of businesses are still uneducated as to how they can minimise the threat of attacks through basic day-to-day practices, let alone which technologies they need to implement and invest in if an attack occurs. Thought leadership content is a great way of educating and building trust with your target audience.
To raise the profile of your cyber security brand, remember to shout about your success stories and how you have made a tangible difference to your customers’ operations, while staying on top of the news agenda and thinking about how you can own the discussion using your expertise. Own unique data and insight to create headlines with your brand at the heart of the story, and to complement all this, educate your audience and potential customers with informed thought content across print and online.
We recently identified some cyber security companies making positive noise in this space – including Cyber Vista and Inside Secure, which were featured in our roundup of 10 safety and security companies to watch in 2016.