Using PR to Achieve Your Business Goals: How to Accelerate Your Exit by Building Your Brand
August 9, 2012
Don’t underestimate the power of good public relations when it comes to producing solid business results. That’s what Calysto Communications always tells its clients, and we have been particularly successful in helping companies use both social and traditional PR to raise their visibility to achieve a successful exit. In fact, Calysto’s “Fast Exit” program has already helped more than 20 companies get successfully acquired.
Some of the most recognizable Calysto client acquisitions have been:
Lucent’s (now Alcatel-Lucent) acquisition of Telica
RIM’s acquisition of fastmobile
Avaya’s acquisition of Ubiquity
Cisco’s acquisition of Navini Networks
Amdocs’ acquisition of Qpass
Level 3’s acquisition of Broadwing
Oracle’s acquisition of Metasolv
The case study below – the latest in our PR Vibes™ case study series – describes how the strategic use of PR and social media helped one Calysto client, TAT The Astonishing Tribe, gain global recognition in just 30 months and position itself for an acquisition – with a buyout offer from RIM as a result.
TAT The Astonishing Tribe, a Swedish software technology and design company, was well-recognized in its home country and had successfully secured customer contracts with several major mobile handset manufacturers. However, despite its customer success, the company was virtually unknown outside Sweden. TAT hired Calysto to develop and implement a public relations and social media plan that would:
– Help TAT expand its brand beyond Swedish borders;
– Allow TAT to attract the attention of mobile manufacturers worldwide; and
– Drive the global recognition that TAT needed to propel the company to the next level and to position the company for potential acquisition.
While TAT originally wanted a plan that focused on simply pitching members of the media and getting the word out through social media, Calysto advised TAT to also focus on educating mobile industry research analysts about the company and its products. Calysto knew that capturing the attention and respect of the analyst community would be an important tool in helping build the value of the company.
Just 30 months after Calysto began implementing its plan for TAT, Calysto had helped TAT achieve global recognition as a unique player in mobile user interface software, thus helping TAT to attract the attention of market leader Research in Motion (RIM), which acquired TAT after just 30 months of working with Calysto.
Calysto’s mission during the campaign was straightforward: To create awareness of TAT and its products among mobile device manufacturers – TAT’s number one target audience – worldwide by developing a comprehensive public relations, analyst relations and social media program designed to strategically position TAT as a visionary and global leader in mobile user interface software.
Research the situation. Before embarking on a PR campaign, Calysto conducted a communications audit for TAT to determine the baseline perception that media and analysts had about the company – or whether they had even heard of TAT at all. The findings: 80 percent of the top-tier media and analysts contacted could not name even one specific fact about TAT or its products.
Build analyst champions. After Calysto conducted the audit for TAT, Calysto began an extensive campaign to reach out to industry research analysts to make them aware of the company and its unique role in the wireless space. The goal: To have experts recommend the company for purchase, to increase the company’s value and to have analysts begin mentioning TAT in their reports to build credibility for the company.
Pitch the trend to media and bloggers. Given the low level of awareness of TAT found in its audit, Calysto decided to “frame” the TAT story around a topic that was creating a lot of buzz in the press at the time, thanks to the iPhone launch: the mobile user interface. Thanks to the iPhone, the media understood how quickly an innovative mobile user interface could revolutionize the industry, so Calysto crafted a unique “user interface story” surrounding TAT that reporters could understand and would find newsworthy – and pitched TAT executives as great sources for this story. The goal: to create buzz and coverage in both consumer and trade channels (traditional and online media, tradeshows and blogs) to increase brand recognition for TAT and to drive traffic to the TAT web site.
Build the buzz. The next step was to take advantage of social media to visually show reporters how TAT’s technology worked. To accomplish this, Calysto distributed media alerts that included links to attention-grabbing YouTube video demonstrations of TAT-developed technology. This technology featured cool TAT-enabled applications such as 3D maps or screen “foldouts,” which made it look as if a user was actually opening a 3D document on the mobile screen. The goal: To get these creative videos to go viral and thus add not only to the company’s brand recognition but also to the “buzz” factor surrounding its products.
Turn crisis into opportunity. When one publication ran inaccurate stories about one TAT software product, calling it “a stalker’s dream,” Calysto turned the crisis into an opportunity for the company within 48 hours by changing the message and using the negative coverage to secure positive coverage on respected news outlets such as CNN, BBC and Fox News.
After it began working with Calysto, TAT went from receiving virtually no coverage outside Sweden to almost immediately securing about 10 hits a month or more in publications and influential blogging sites around the globe – despite releasing press releases very infrequently (generally less than six per year).
The number of hits eventually grew to nearly 30 per month on average, with regular coverage in leading mobile blogs and publications, including Engadget and Gizmodo.
TAT also received coverage in mainstream publications and broadcast outlets – including CNN Online, The Huffington Post, the Financial Times and NPR.
As a result of Calysto’s suggested outreach to the industry analyst community, TAT was “championed” by many research analysts worldwide. These are just a few examples:
– U.K.-based firm CCS Insight advocated TAT in a report about Android to one of its OEM clients.
– U.S.-based research firm iSuppli mentioned TAT in a report on wireless communications applications and trends.
– U.S.-based ABI Research advocated TAT as a technical solution in a report on mobile user interfaces.
TAT also used its relationships with research analysts to help fine-tune its business strategy. For instance, TAT expanded its messaging and visibility into vertical markets such as automotive and consumer electronics when it became clear from its discussion with analysts that connected mobile devices were starting to play an increasingly important role in these markets.
As part of Calysto’s quick response to a negative story published in a U.K. tabloid, TAT received positive coverage in respected news outlets such as BBC and Fox News (which reach a combined potential audience of more than 250 million people) within 48 hours after the negative story ran. Calysto’s work for TAT during this crisis was later honored by the 2011 American Business Awards. The campaign won a Stevie in the category “Communications or PR Campaign of the Year – Crisis Communications.”
Calysto relationships and distribution efforts helped TAT videos go viral. Calysto helped foster a relationship with an influential blogger at Engadget by successfully setting up a meeting between TAT executives and this journalist at Mobile World Congress. The relationship between Engadget and TAT played a key role in at least one of the demo videos going viral, given that the posting on Engadget sparked the widespread distribution of that video. One of TAT’s videos even reached #1 on ViralBlog’s Viral Friday list, meaning it was the most popular viral video of the week.
As a result of the recognition TAT received in the marketplace, company executives were invited to speak at several key mobile events, including Mobile World Congress, MobileMonday in Berlin and the Creativity and Technology (CAT) conference in London.
Just a few months after Calysto began pitching TAT to automotive media and analysts, Calysto had scheduled briefings for TAT with several key publications, including Telematics Update, Automotive DesignLine, Auto Design Production and research firms, including Strategy Analytics, AutoPolis and the U.K.-based firm SBD. Pitching efforts in this area stopped after the RIM acquisition was announced.
After just 30 months of working with Calysto to successfully expand its recognition in the global market, TAT was acquired by mobile industry leader Research in Motion (RIM).