Segment about TraceSecurity on the December 1, 2005, NBC Nightly News broadcast
What were TraceSecurity's media goals?
David Splivalo: TraceSecurity is a Baton Rouge, LA-based supplier of security-compliance software and services that helps midsize banks and credit unions protect sensitive data and adhere to government regulations. The company wanted to raise its profile, but never requested NBC Nightly News, as they didn't think they could get it.
How did NBC Nightly News become interested in TraceSecurity?
Splivalo: We issued a press release in April 2005 headlined "Confessions of a Social Engineer." It noted that one job of TraceSecurity's chief technology officer Jim Stickley is to infiltrate financial institutions by posing as a fire marshal or electrician and see how well they safeguard vital bank and customer information. That drew responses from numerous media outlets, including NBC Nightly News.
Why did it take eight months to get the actual placement?
Splivalo: Everyone wanted to get cameras into a TraceSecurity customer site, but those customers didn't want a film crew to show how simple it would be to access personal information. I finally figured out we didn't actually need to get cameras inside;
we could just show the behind-the-scenes preparation as Jim gets ready to visit several sites.
Do you do a lot of media training with TraceSecurity employees?
Splivalo: We explained what was going to happen, but didn't want to over-prepare, especially with Jim because of his great personality. We only advised him to stress that it was a total company effort.
What was the impact of the NBC Nightly News segment?
Splivalo: The company was nervous beforehand because it thought the segment could focus on poor bank security. But TraceSecurity ended up pleased because the story was all about its social engineering services. Not only has it greatly boosted lead generations, but I've also been contacted by several national outlets.
Name: David Splivalo, president and CEO, Capitol Hill Communications (Washington, DC)
Placement: Segment about TraceSecurity on the December 1, 2005, NBC Nightly News broadcast
Pitch timeline: Eight months