Client Spotlight: Showcasing Sophos’ Innovative Threat Expertise Inside Out with Owned Research from SophosLabs

Rebecca Ferrick, Mar 21 2019

categories: PR

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Innovation Inside Out isn’t just March’s catchy tagline – it’s at the forefront of everything we do within our agency and fuels our work crafting compelling communications strategies for our clients. We see leveraging a client’s internal innovation as a great way to externally promote their strongest stories, and our work with cybersecurity company Sophos is a testament to the success of that strategy.

While Sophos is a 30-year-old legacy cybersecurity company, the company is anything but a traditional anti-virus vendor. Sophos is a next-generation security provider with leading threat experts on the frontlines of today’s sophisticated cyberattacks. Sophos’ internal innovation “hub” and dedicated intelligence division, SophosLabs, is at the epicenter of its threat expertise, providing breaking threat data and analysis not only to its customers and partners, but the wider security community.

The March team had been toying for some time with the idea of doing an in-person media tour with some of Sophos’ leading threat experts to give reporters an inside look at the mysterious, and somewhat frightening, dark web. At the same time, one of Sophos’ most important conferences of the year, Black Hat, was fast approaching and a few weeks before the event, SophosLabs was planning to launch a piece of proprietary research around SamSam, a sophisticated and highly destructive piece of ransomware. We immediately saw an opportunity to combine the dark web tour and SamSam research angles as the central hooks for touting its security expertise and securing press interest before, during and after Black Hat.

As part of our media outreach strategy, the team developed an overarching narrative that packaged the two angles together and incorporated a larger in-person media tour in the immediate run up to the event. This allowed us to secure pre-briefings with journalists not attending Black Hat this year or who were too busy to meet with Sophos during the show. The approach also enabled us to position the tour’s collective coverage as being a result of the team’s Black Hat 2018 campaign showcasing Sophos’ internal innovation in security research and unparalleled understanding of the threat landscape. What’s more, the angles helped us reach all of Sophos’ key target media audiences – business, trade, technology and broadcast – and not just those attending the event.

The results from the SamSam/Black Hat campaign were extremely impactful. The messaging that Sophos wanted to own around being an industry leader on the cusp of innovative threat research really resonated with influencers, and the majority of the resulting 17 pieces of media coverage positioned Sophos as an innovator on the frontlines, helping to protect customers from advanced threats like ransomware. In total, the team secured 20 media briefings and 17 pieces of media coverage with Sophos’ target outlets including Consumer Reports, Bloomberg Radio, Fox News, WSJ, Boston Globe, Security Week, SearchSecurity, SC Media, Gizmodo, Engadget, Yahoo, CRN, Axios, MSSP Alert, The Journal of Cyber Policy and Dark Reading. And, as a result of the team’s campaign efforts, Sophos’ SOV was above the industry average for August 2018, the month of Black Hat USA.


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