CAMPAIGNS: Brand Development

One company’s problem can often be another’s opportunity - It certainly was for RIPTech. When Internet hackers struck high-profile Web sites such as Amazon.com, Yahoo! and eBay in early February, RIPTech jump-started its public relations program by reacting in real time to events that took everyone involved - except the perpetrators - by surprise.

One company’s problem can often be another’s opportunity - It certainly was for RIPTech. When Internet hackers struck high-profile Web sites such as Amazon.com, Yahoo! and eBay in early February, RIPTech jump-started its public relations program by reacting in real time to events that took everyone involved - except the perpetrators - by surprise.

One company’s problem can often be another’s opportunity - It

certainly was for RIPTech. When Internet hackers struck high-profile Web

sites such as Amazon.com, Yahoo! and eBay in early February, RIPTech

jump-started its public relations program by reacting in real time to

events that took everyone involved - except the perpetrators - by

surprise.





Strategy



Because it’s been busy trying to establish its business, two-year-old

RIPTech has not sought publicity - not even when the Melissa virus broke

last year. But now RIPTech was readying to roll out its new ’eSentry’

service, which allows companies to rent Internet security, saving them

the cost and time of developing, administering and updating their own

security programs. Its image is also becoming more important - it plans

to launch an IPO in the next 18 months or so. RIPTech hired O’Keeffe &

Company in early January.



In preparing the PR plan, O’Keeffe & Co. principal Steve O’Keeffe and

RIPTech both believed that once the Y2K issue died down, security issues

would move to the forefront. Most security violations of corporate

computer networks are hushed up. But if ever something really big

happened, agency and client decided, then RIPTech should move fast to

get its name out in not only the trade media, but mainstream outlets

too. It certainly has the expertise: its president and co-founder, Amit

Yoran, is a former security director for the US Department of

Defense.





Tactics



The story started on Monday, February 7, when it became apparent that

hackers had shut down Yahoo!. The next day, cyber-delinquents launched

attacks on eBay, Amazon.com and Buy.com.



Timing was important. Reacting too quickly would not be helpful.

Reporters, O’Keeffe notes, would not have welcomed calls on Tuesday

while they were concentrating on the late-breaking facts of the story.

Success in gaining coverage for RIPTech would depend on being able to

provide reporters with analysis and insight. O’Keeffe & Co. let RIPTech

know that its top brass should be prepared, because reporters would be

writing more analytical stories on Wednesday.



Wednesday was a hectic day of quick calls by O’Keeffe & Co., often

telling reporters that the attacks were just a tremor foreshadowing the

earthquakes to come. Opening pitches to journalists usually recounted

lines that the reporters had taken in previous news stories with angles

to consider in developing more analytical features.





Results



RIPTech obtained prominent mention in USA Today on February 10th.

Stories in the Los Angeles Times, Wired News and The Washington Times

also mentioned RIPTech principals. Dealings with local TV news reporters

helped RIPTech obtain exposure on ABC News Saturday and Fox National

Cable News.



Jonah Paransky, charged with overseeing corporate development for

RIPTech, says the media exposure should assist in recruiting premium

talent to work for the company and be useful in dealing with venture

capital firms.



’We no longer have to answer, ’Who are you guys?’’ Paransky says. ’Every

bit of national exposure is helpful to a company like ours.’





Future



O’Keeffe & Co. is continuing to work with RIPTech on publicizing

eSentry, which launched March 6.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in