Isilon bounces back with campaign

Isilon provides scale-out data storage for enterprise customers. After a strong IPO in 2006, the company suffered reputation issues and SEC legal action.

Client: Isilon, a division of EMC Corp.  (Seattle, WA)

Agency: McClenahan Bruer Communications (Portland, OR)

Campaign: Integrated Influencer Relations

Duration: January 1, 2010 - November 15, 2010

Budget: Under $200,000

Isilon provides scale-out data storage for enterprise customers. After a strong IPO in 2006, the company suffered reputation issues and SEC legal action. The fourth quarter of 2009 was the company's first profitable quarter. Chris Blessington, senior director of marketing and communications, says the technology was never in question. Last year, Isilon launched an influencer relations campaign with AOR McClenahan Bruer Communications to raise awareness of the importance of scale-out storage and establish the company's leadership.

Strategy

Outreach focused on online subject matter experts, media, and analysts. The team also built and integrated a strong social media presence.

“In the IT space, online influencers are the most powerful [because] our buyers listen most to trusted peers,” Blessington says.

Tactics

James McIntyre, director of client services for the agency, says IT press, vertical industry outlets, channel press within IT, and bloggers across IT categories were targeted.

Messaging often focused on examples of customer success stories. The team also leveraged broader industry news and company news, such as the profitability report and product announcements. One new customer was announced each week throughout last year. McIntyre notes customers communicated Isilon benefits through various channels, including media interviews.

“We did everything available to maximize [the profitability] coverage and signal what it means in terms of Isilon's long-term success,” McIntyre explains. “We worked well ahead of product launch dates to pre-brief journalists and analysts about the technology and the business vision the products fulfilled. We continued to educate about the company's long term strategy.”

A corporate blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, and YouTube were used to reach online influencers. Content, including customer Q&As conducted on Twitter, was shared across platforms.

Results

The agency reports stock price increased from $6.95 a share in early 2010 to $33.85 a share on November 15, when it was announced that EMC would acquire Isilon for $2.25 billion. Blessington says the acquisition was “a natural byproduct of business success and awareness growth.”

Beacon Technologies surveys conducted immediately prior the campaign and in November showed unaided awareness increased from 15% to 23%. Aided awareness rose from 47% to 77%.

Blog traffic exceeded 1,200 visits per month. About 700 followers were reached on Twitter, and YouTube videos attracted more than 27,000 views total. More than 4,500 views were garnered on Slideshare.

Media coverage included 101 stories in outlets such as WSJ.com,  Investor's Business Daily, and CNET.

Future

Blessington says the team will extend the campaign within the context of EMC by telling solution stories and highlighting Isilon's fit with EMC's portfolio.

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