A few years ago, Net Integration Technologies (NIT) developed Nitix, an automatic Linux operating system.With the recent development of the software-only version, the company sought to present the new product as an alternative to Microsoft systems.
More than a year ago, the company turned to Fusion PR to help launch and promote Nitix. In order to gain the most media attention, the agency and client agreed that CeBIT - a leading technology conference and expo that took place in New York in late May - would be the best place to launch the product.
"Our main target was the business owner," says Ozzy Papic, NIT's president and CEO. The company also sought the attention of value-added resellers. Fusion's main goal was to target top influencers, including prominent tech journalists, hoping that they would cover the product.
"We were looking for top-tier media," says Joseph Dans, director of accounts and creative director for Fusion. "Sometimes, when they make a recommendation, they can take a company to the top or the bottom of the world." Fusion also sought to present NIT as an innovative industry expert while differentiating it from exhibitors at the show - and competition in the market.
Fusion decided to use the show's "ShowStoppers" press event as a place to set up briefings with influential journalists. Because Nitix is a highly technical product, the company's message was simplified to capture the attention of business owners and other targets. Jouard Wozniack Advertising developed a retro-style primer, titled "Sorry Bill," which pokes fun at the alleged pitfalls of Microsoft systems.
Fusion, which regularly collaborates with the ad agency, developed its efforts around that concept. The PR firm worked closely with the ad agency from the start and used the primer and the "Sorry Bill" logo as "icebreakers" when introducing the product to journalists, recalls Dans. "We thought it would be a great aid."
At the show, Fusion used the "Sorry Bill" book and a retro-style booth, also developed by the advertising agency, to draw attention to the product. They also set up a number of briefings with technology journalists, most of which resulted in technology media coverage. As another way to add hype to the debut, Fusion heavily promoted the "Sorry Bill" website, which went live the day of the CeBIT show.
Additionally, in July more than 100,000 copies of the "Sorry Bill" primer were included as inserts in VAR Business and CRN magazines.
Fusion's PR efforts resulted in coverage in several influential tech publications, including SD Times, eWeek, and PC Magazine. This attention helped boost the number of visitors to the Nitix website. On average, visits have increased more than 200% since January of this year, and downloads of the Nitix software from the site increased more than 40% during the campaign. The new "Sorry Bill" website had more than 3,000 visits during the period of the campaign.
The website was not the only area that saw the effects of the campaign: "We have seen a very noticeable spike in sales," says Papic.
"This is about building a brand and certainly about brand awareness," Dans says. Fusion is still using the "Sorry Bill" website and primer to promote the product and the company. The website serves as another tool for Fusion when trying to garner attention from journalists.
"In everything we do, we try to call attention to that website," Dans says.
The CeBIT show provided a good starting point for the campaign. "[The show] may have been three or four months ago, but some of the roots are still out there," Dans says. "There are lots of things out there that have really good potential."
Dans adds that Fusion will continue to follow up with a select group of top opinion leaders in the technology industry. In addition, he says, the agency and client will pursue more product reviews of Nitix to be published in national magazines.
PR team: Fusion PR (New York) and Net Integration Technologies (Markem, Ontario)
Campaign: Sorry Bill
Time frame: May to July 2004