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Coverage Cup round up w/c 23 October 2015

Coverage cupIn the wake of TalkTalk’s recent data hack, Verizon’s most recent Data Breach Investigations Report was quoted in The Telegraph. Verizon also received coverage in TechWeekEurope and Total Telecom following the launch of ThingSpace, the company’s new IoT platform. Elsewhere, Compuware CEO, Chris O’Malley was featured as a thought leader in CBR commenting on the looming mainframe skill shortage, while HCL Technologies’ Sukamal Banerjee had a byline article published on Information Age looking at how IoT s is changing the business landscape. Centiro also received bylined coverage in Retail Technology Review where the company’s CEO, Niklas Hedin looked at the lessons learnt from last year’s Black Friday. Lastly, but by no means least Elastichosts received some great feature coverage in Networking+.

Who gets your vote this week?

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 19 October 2015

Coverage cupThe days may be growing shorter, but the client press coverage keeps rolling in. The Compuware team reacted quickly to the latest Safe Harbour developments and secured coverage within IT Pro while Venafi achieved coverage in an SC Magazine feature on encryption. The Elsevier team managed to secure coverage for the latest PharmaPendium module launch in Research Information while Dynatrace had a product story covered by Net Imperative. The Dynatrace team also achieved some great coverage in Cloud Pro after inviting a key journalist to attend the company’s PERFORM 2015 event. Finally, the Liberata team achieved fantastic coverage on The MJ after successfully developing and pitching an opinion piece the need for an evidence-based data approach in the public sector.

You can view the full list of coverage cup nominations below:

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 12 October 2015

Coverage cupAnother week at Spark, another bumper crop of coverage. First of all iPass’ CEO Gary Griffiths appeared on BBC’s ‘Business Live’ programme which was a great piece of broadcast coverage. The Huntsman and Bit 9 + Carbon Black teams had their fingers on the pulse, responding to the Dridex UK bank hack to achieve coverage in CBR.  The Bit 9 + Carbon Black team also secured interviews for the company’s Chief Evangelist Ben Johnson with both Computing and Computer Weekly. Elsewhere, a Fruition Partners’ case study with NHS Education for Scotland was covered by Computing and CBR. In addition, an interview on the partnership was also secured within ComputerWeekly, so an excellent result all round.

A full list of Coverage Cup nominations can be found below.

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Emulating the Ad Men can help

person-695652_640Anyone in consumer PR would have been delighted to see the recent headline from PR Week ‘Ad industry is ‘running scared’ from PR.’  This was said by the guy that created the John Lewis Christmas ads so I’d be confident that whatever he is scared of is pretty impressive!

He had a few criticisms too but he’s fully aware that it’s never wise to get too comfortable.  Many of the larger PR agencies are offering in-house digital services and most of the smaller ones have partner relationships and the question of who best to choose – advertising or PR – when you want something to go viral must be a tricky one for brands.  Do you choose an ad agency – with their history of visual creativity – or do you choose a PR agency, who are experienced in creating a story compelling enough to motivate readers to engage and share a story? 

Ultimately the decision should be based on the agency and its skillset.  In the b2b tech sector, at a base level most clients are looking for straight-up trade press coverage so they choose a PR agency rather than an AD agency.  This does mean that creativity has to be part of the package as they can’t get it elsewhere.  Most of time we need to get creative by default – this tends to consist of piggybacking on current news.  However, planned campaigns are important, creativity by accident only gets you so far and is generally dictated by the market rather than your message.   The fail-safe in tech PR is usually headline-driven research based as this provides the most bang for the buck.  If it’s done right it works across national, business and trade press. While our sector tends to focus less on visuals and more on words, visuals can pay big dividends if you can come up with something, interactive, evergreen and viral.

It’s great when a client gives us a brief to come up with a content marketing project that will potentially go viral – well, as viral as things get in b2b tech.  I’d be a little concerned that our campaign was missing its mark if it was getting multiple shares on Facebook.  It gives us the impetus to follow a creative process rather than just relying on a lightbulb moment.

While most ideas are still developed in a brainstorm (either with colleagues or with the client), unless you go into a brainstorm having done the right prep and in the right frame of mind, it will probably be fruitless.  In terms of switching your brain on in order to be creative – it’s good to draw from the experts in advertising.  I say advertising because as much as I’d like to believe that PR is giving them a run for their money I think we’d all be hard pressed to generate something that could live up to the hype surrounding the John Lewis Christmas ads – or maybe that’s why I work in b2b tech?

The PR Week article quotes Toby Harrison’s views on insight and going beyond Google to gain that insight in order to drive the creative process – critical for any marketing campaign.  Here are three things to consider when assembling an elite brainstorming team that will be able to provide that insight:

  1. Always-on and open to inspiration – when hiring we look for people who have a curiosity about the world – absorbing insight from the world around you definitely provides a head-start when going into a brainstorm.  Google helps but being a mine of seemingly useless information will ensure the brainstorm flows
  2. Ensure someone takes the time to understand the audience – what makes them tick? What are their inspirations? What’s the path to purchase?  An ability to set up lines of enquiry is critical as this isn’t information you can get from Google
  3. Choose someone else who is good at understanding the product, brand or service that you are trying to get creative about.  This stage is all about asking the right questions of your client.

Thinking outside the box doesn’t work without a solid foundation of information to draw on and a brainstorm is lot more productive when everyone in the room has something of value to add.  PR agencies are more than capable of doing the prep to provide the necessary insight but it does throw up some challenges around charging models as PR typically charges by deliverables rather than by the value of the idea. Clients recognise the importance of creativity but we need to be able to help them justify an investment in ‘ideas’ by demonstrating the potential outcomes that a more creative campaign can deliver. 

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Coverage Cup round up w/c 5 October 2015

Coverage cupAs always, here at Spark, we don’t do things by half measures. To start the week, Huntsman Security and Bit9 were both featured in a BBC Online security feature.  JDA stole the show in Retail Week’s warehousing supplement, appearing in two separate articles. The Trustmarque team secured coverage in publications including CloudTech and IT Pro Portal following new research that found that IT has become both more complicated according to UK CIOs. Elsewhere, Tony Pepper, CEO at Egress gave his expert opinion in The Register following the news that UK doctors and nurses routinely share sensitive patient information via smartphones that are vulnerable to hacks. And finally, expert comment from Centiro’s Niklas Hedin was featured eDelivery in response to introduction of the new Consumer Rights Act.

Who gets your vote this week?

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