What did this client want Waggener Edstrom Communications to do for them?
Reposition AVG as a consumer brand, while maintaining their technology industry credentials. Traditionally known as an anti-virus firm providing free security software to PC users, AVG Technologies is currently in the process of repositioning itself as ‘the online security company’, with a longer-term aim to build a stronger presence with a broader consumer base.
As well as managing the UK-specific PR, Waggener Edstrom acts as the global coordination hub for AVG. The team is in charge of setting the strategic direction and campaign planning on the account, as well as overseeing the smooth running of nine different in-country PR teams (Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, New Zealand, UK, US) – each with their own market challenges and requirements.
Any potential pitfalls you needed to take into account?
Aside from the major repositioning work needed to shift perceptions of the company more towards a consumer and mobile brand, AVG has also recently undergone a leadership change and acquired several new companies (and their leadership) – adding to the requirement for careful stakeholder management. With executives in multiple geographies representing a wide range of business units it is critical to create consistent, coherent messaging that best explains the company’s mission and engages its various stakeholders, who range from students to parents, ‘boomers’ to mobile operators and small business owners.
OK, and what was your grand plan to tackle this?
Firstly we had to understand the company’s story from the perspective of all its internal and external stakeholders (old and new), so we conducted research among various groups and ran messaging sessions with the key senior executives to craft an umbrella story, that could then be tailored to each of its target audiences.
We used an integrated approach to content creation and activation, ensuring that whatever stories we told they would last longer by being amplifiable across all paid, earned and owned platforms. That included significant use of video, infographics and digital content, as well as more traditional PR research materials. We partnered with AVG’s other agencies in digital, social and brand to ensure we were aligned.
Thirdly we concentrated on driving thought leadership through engaging stories, which were relevant to each of the key audiences. Whether it was reaching mobile operators at Mobile World Congress and CTIA, parents via consumer lifestyle media or consumer tech brands at CES Waggener Edstrom developed stories, which created healthy, but positive debate rather than relying on the traditional scare tactics of the IT security industry.
Lastly we sought partnerships and friendships in the belief that we didn’t want to "just be in our own story, we wanted to be other people’s story too".
Sounds good. What outcome did all this have on your client’s business?
Below are some results from two specific campaigns, both of which talk to clear story-telling, stories which cross online and offline, stories which generate new friendships and stories which maintain a thought leadership position.
AVG: ‘Defining Boundaries for the Cyber Playground’ at Child Internet Summit 2013
- National, technology trade, parenting and education coverage, including Daily Mail, Telegraph, Guardian and Daily Mirror
- New friendships created with key influencers including Internet Watch Foundation, London School of Economics and the anti-bullying charity NIABF
- Additionally the NSPCC has agreed to distribute AVG’s video content to its community
- 11 Facebook posts resulted in 27,674 likes, 527 shares, 441 comments, 4,232 click-throughs to content and 2,234,235 impressions
- As a result of the campaign, AVG has been asked to speak at the ChildLine Helpline International Conference 2014 and the research content was discussed at the Manchester Safeguarding Board’s Sexting Summit
- AVG is lead sponsor for the 2014 Child Internet Summit in London
AVG at Mobile World Congress 2014
- 18 pre-event and onsite media interviews conducted
- 40+ mini-briefings conducted at Pepcom on February 23
- 50+ pieces of unique coverage generated to date in print and online media, broadcast and blogs to date with 88% favourable in tone (the rest being neutral)
- Over 2 million impressions and 46,000 social media interactions – Yuval’s blog on AVG Zen became the most shared AVG blog ever
- 4,500+ views to date of the 7 videos captured at MWC
- Overall share of voice measured alongside competitors was 20% during the event, placing AVG second in the coverage stakes
We also know that our work on specific AVG product launches has huge effect with 64,000 new users in one day downloading AVG PrivacyFix after a burst of coverage on May 11 this year.
Impressive. Any gems of wisdom you learned from working on this that you’d like to pass on?
Listening carefully is critical if you want to engage a diverse range of stakeholders. Listening properly is not something most PR agencies do well, but we absolutely think it’s the secret to understanding audience challenges and showing how your brand is trying to support them.
Additionally, your approach has to be integrated with content tailored to different channels. You have to know what the broadcast piece will look like, the print headline, the hashtag, the conference keynote, the Facebook app etc.
Only when these are all aligned from one central story could AVG appeal to both consumers and technology industry stakeholders.