Data-storage industry flashes forward with Violin Memory

Eastwick helped Violin Memory execute a campaign to reach both IT executive and general business audiences.

Client: Violin Memory (Mountain View, CA)
Agency: Eastwick (Sunnyvale, CA)
Campaign: Violin Memory Flashes Forward
Duration: January 2011 - ongoing
Budget: $265,000

Founded in 2005, Violin Memory has been a pioneer in developing flash-based storage systems for enterprise data centers.

“The storage industry has been stagnant for 10 years,” explains VP of product marketing Matt Barletta. “We wanted to get mind space in business influencers who will make the decision to try this new technology.”

AOR Eastwick helped devise and execute the campaign to reach both IT executive and general business audiences.

Strategy
Strategically placed billboard and airport ads, media and analyst relations, and social media outreach drove awareness.

“Many companies in the space focus on tech speak,” explains agency CEO Barbara Bates. “[Violin Memory's CEO wanted] to clearly communicate the brand value. That's not usually where Silicon Valley tech companies spend money.”

The phrase “Flash Forward” was coined to help communicate the key differentiator of flash technology and that Violin Memory is forward looking and thinking and will help take customers into the future.

The “Flash Forward” theme, which includes nods to comic book heroes and space exploration, was woven into all campaign elements.

Tactics
Ads ran throughout 2011 in locations frequently traveled by customers, investors, partners, and competitors, such as on billboards along US Route 101 between San Francisco and Silicon Valley and in San Jose and NY's JFK airports.

Media outreach began when the ads first appeared in January. Targets included business publications, trades, and storage IT bloggers. Analyst outreach was conducted regularly in person and by phone throughout the year.

A video echoing the ads was created in February. It was promoted by online trade site TechTarget, used at trade shows, posted to Violin Memory's social media properties, and featured in a March Twitter contest. The contest involved asking followers to find information in the video and tweet it for a chance to win an iPad.

Hashtags #flashfact and #flashforward were created, and industry news and media coverage was also tweeted.

Other tactics included posting content to Violin Memory's blog and website messaging.

Results
Barletta reports Violin Memory's valuation increased from about $150 million beginning 2011 to more than $800 million as of early April 2012.

The company is rumored to go public this year, but Barletta wouldn't confirm it.

Placement increased 63% over 2010 to nearly 400 stories in traditional and online outlets, including Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

Since using the #flashforward hashtag, Twitter followers increased 84.6%.

Barletta notes “Flash Forward” has now been trademarked, as competitors and others were using the term.

Future
The team continues to deepen analyst relationships and is promoting customer case studies.

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