CAMPAIGNS: European debut for Foundry - Hi-tech PR

Foundry Networks is a US company which specialises in IT networks. It has developed products, based on technology know as Gigabit Ethernet, that boost the speed of existing computer networks by a factor of at least 10.

Foundry Networks is a US company which specialises in IT networks.

It has developed products, based on technology know as Gigabit Ethernet,

that boost the speed of existing computer networks by a factor of at

least 10.



Objectives



Foundry planned to target key journalists in the IT sector on a

pan-European basis and to explain, to both the installing industry,

known as resellers, and to the end-user, why Foundry’s product is both

beneficial and cost-effective to install.



Tactics



Although Gigabit Ethernet is a new technology, there are many companies

already involved in this area, so the key to generating coverage was to

adopt an unusual stance for the sector. Hence a more aggressive,

up-front style was taken in all publicity work.



It was decided that Foundry’s strength was its management personnel, so

a tour of key European countries was arranged for two senior executives

- Drusie Demopoulos and Matthew Nunney - to meet journalists. The tour

covered the UK, Germany, France and Scandinavia with Johnson King

handling this through a network of associated agencies.



In each country, local agencies arranged events to generate maximum

publicity.



In the UK, for example, journalists had one-to-one meetings with the

Foundry executives, while in Munich a press conference was arranged and

leading IT journalists were invited. The meetings were intentionally

upbeat. ’They were not afraid to express opinions about their

competitors,’ said Mike King of Johnson King, ’and in a sector dominated

by bland corporate speak, the way you say something is as important as

what you say.’



Foundry’s status as the first company to market Gigabit Ethernet

technology was strongly promoted, and problems with alternative

solutions discussed.



Interviews were as candid as possible, with ’marketing speak’ kept to a

minimum. The launch tour is being backed up by an ongoing campaign, in

which journalists are encouraged to lab-test the technology, using it in

features on high speed networks. Johnson King devoted 10 per cent of its

budget to research and five per cent to evaluation of the campaign.



Results



Of the half-dozen titles aimed at either reseller or end-user

communities, most covered the launch in news items. Network News and

Network Solutions gave Foundry front page coverage - rare for a start-up

company.



Features mentioning the product followed in Corporate Networks, Network

Week, Network News, Network Reseller and Business Computer World.

Subsequent successes signing up resellers and customers were also given

news coverage in key titles. Similar coverage was achieved in France,

Germany and Scandinavia.



Verdict



The campaign scores highly on research and planning where time - and 10

per cent of the budget - were taken to assess the market and define key

targets, essential to any launch. Matthew Nunney, European managing

director of Foundry commented: ’We were surprised at the coverage we got

as a new company. It’s vital to hit the specialist press, and we were

very successful.’



The tour idea worked well with Drusie Demopoulos, in particular, winning

coverage for her forthright views in several European publications.

Overall, an impressive amount of coverage generated on a tight

budget.



Client: Foundry Networks

PR Team: Johnson King PR

Campaign: European launch of Gigabit Ethernet

Timescale: Oct 97 - ongoing

Budget: pounds 10,000



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