Topic: Branding

How To Build Brand Awareness For Security Product?

Posted by Anonymous on 500 Points
Company Profile:
- Private, VC funded company
- Network Security Market
- Has been around for >4 years, has just started shipping a new product release that is superior to all other vendors' offering

- Company has best product in terms of effectiveness, price and performance -- as rated by external testing company and several independent analysts
- Company has virtually no brand awareness
- Has many blue-chip customers but none will do testimonial because they don't want to give hackers any info about their defenses
- One analyst has actively advised clients to consider the product
- Most other analysts won't endorse a private firm
- Very limited marketing budget -- less than $2m

So how would you help this company build brand awareness quickly with a limited marketing budget?
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  • Posted by bobhogg on Member

    No answers yet, just some naive questions that may help elicit better answers:

    1. What is your target market? Are we talking a large number of potential customers or a very small sector (I'd imagine the latter from your description)?

    2. Do we assume it's Company brand awareness that needs building, rather than for individual products?

    3. What previous marketing communication has been carried out?

    4. How were the "many blue-chip clients" acquired?

    Look forward to the further information.

    Good luck,
  • Posted by ReadCopy on Accepted
    With limited marketing budget your options are also obviously limited, but you can do some damage with the budget you suggest.

    The key must be to FOCUS ... do you know your market well enough to be able to focus on part of it ? Do you know your prospects ? Where they look for informed advice .. what trade shows, what national, region and trade press etc ? If you know your prospects this well your laughing as you can focus your promotional actively precisely and get the best 'bang for your buck'.

    PR is a cost effective option, although you can never guarentee getting the exposure that your really after. Can these external testing, independant analysis and analysts comments be used in PR and other promotional material ? I would suggest that they probably can, and I would work from that angle.

    Look into the trade press and other press outlets that your prospects focus on. Get your creative guys to produce something stunning and eye-catching. Do you have an great offer for your prospects ?

    Hospitality - do you know your prospects by name and general interest ... can you use hospitality to help place your business and solution in a great light. If you target your efforts well, hospitality can be a great brand builder.

    Freebies - look around for interesting freebies, in your line of work, I would be looking at hi-tech items that can be used on prospects desktop (don't fall into the trap of stress releavers, or cheap pens etc). You need to make an impact.

    Names etc - is the company name memorable ? Is the slogan you use catchy ? is the name of the solution memorable too ? Is your logo recognised at all ? This all helps the branding effort.

    Website - so you have your corporate website, consider an alternative catchy URL for branding and promotional purposes ... not sure what your solution is, but how about something like .... or (both available).

    Hope this helps a little

    Any questions, please contact me

    Good Luck
  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    Truthfully, you don't sound to be in a bad position. You have a decent budget (more than I usually worked with at larger companies) and have some good starts marketing wise. Much better than the stgartups I usually hear from who have no budget, so are trying to do everything for nothing.

    Some suggestions:

    - Play up the analysts comments as best you can. Analyst support is always powerful. Make sure your marketing mentions this.

    - Don't fret the lack of named reference customers - use them as you can (calling them by a category like "Fortune 500 software company" instead of by name). This is still pretty strong. Of course, work with new customers to get to use their names if possible, as this adds more power to the reference customer list. Or at least try to be allowed to have potential customers talk to the current customers as part of the sales cycle (you don't publish the reference's name, only give to potential customers who reach a certain stage in the sales cycle - this gives you added value to references, but the reference's name is not published, so their privacy is protected).

    - Be very active at working with key trade magazines in your market so that you become a go to guy for when they need expert assistance. Your goal is to get mentions in articles, to get your product involved in any head to head product tests, etc.

    - If one of your goals is to increase your brand recognition (as opposed to that just being a symptom of slow sales, and your goal is to just increase sales), then spend some of that marketing money on things that will increase brand recognition, such as print ads, flashier booths at the key trade shows, etc.
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Accepted
    Van, do your targeted customers usually buy technology solutions directly from vendors?

    I'm wondering if you should consider a campaign that's aimed at the IT consultants who influence your market's buying decisions. Not the Accenture types (they're motivated to sell internal goods & services), but the firms that focus on supporting or implementing networks.

    Perhaps a reseller channel is worth exploring.

    - Shelley
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Accepted
    Hi Van! Good to talk to you again.

    You have an interesting dilemma. You want/need brand awareness, but have to be careful about too much because of the hacker issue.

    Having that been said, no matter what, at some point in time, a hacker WILL get through. Therefore, I suggest implementing and/or applying a large portion of the focus on what the company does to update, scan, and patch the holes hackers will try to penetrate. Simply stating you're the best along with some analyst reports is not enough. I believe you should focus on being the best, AND explaining how you will sustain such a position.

    The first term that comes to mind is "viral marketing". Perhaps a better term would be "stealth viral marketing". Instead of cold calls, expensive print ads, etc., you can have a team of marketing/sales people blasting every major IT forum...talking about this "new security product that rocks". Combine this with some internet advertising on sites like,,, BBBonline, and the like, and you can create quite a buzz. I know some IT Security consultants who are always on the look out for new security protocols to advise. Getting into the websites and newsletters they read can be crucial to your strategy as they are likely to recommend your product to their clients....especially if it really is the "best".

    Of course, the need for a website is almost implied. Furthermore, a weekly newsletter will help as well. The newsletter can serve as a way to consistantly (and tenaciously) keep your clients and interested parties aware of your product, updates, etc.

    A lot of people spoke of PR. Although an outstanding idea, I would not make it high on the priority until a legitimate buzz has been established.

    Last but not least, set up lunch or dinner meetings with the appropriate contacts of your target groups. Use food or a 3 day trip to the Bahamas as a way to grab their atttention and give them rationalization to hear you out other than a catchy slogan or sales pitch. Start emailing sites like,, and keep after them until you get to the right person. Wining and dining works wonders, and with your budget, you can afford to entertain a handful of the most influencial companies on the Internet.

    Well, those are my initial thoughts. Feel free to contact me should you require professional assistance.

    Take Care!

    --Blaine W.
    Jett Enterprises
  • Posted by SRyan ;] on Member
    Hooray! Blaine, you're back! You've been MISSED.
  • Posted by ReadCopy on Member
    I take Blaines point (welcome back pal btw) about "A lot of people spoke of PR. Although an outstanding idea, I would not make it high on the priority until a legitimate buzz has been established.", but I think the buzz that has been created by the external testing company and independent analysts has created enough buzz already, and worth persuing.

    Might be worth looking at sponsorship (awards, security papers etc too).

    Good Luck

  • Posted by ReadCopy on Member
    I am sure you will do this anyway, but this is a simple concept and worth looking at.

    1. Write down your Strategic Intent
    2. Underneath that, build on this Strategic Intend by writing your Proposition statement.
    3. Underneath this Proposition statement write down at least THREE statements that support this proposition.

    This is my "Messaging Pyramid", and what you are starting to do is create the important messages and evidence that supports your proposition and brand.

    Good Luck
  • Posted by bobhogg on Member

    Thanks for the answers to my earlier "naive" questions!

    Since you posted them, I think others have come up with so much sensible advice that I'm not sure I can add much to it, other than to say that Blayne (as usual) has some great ideas, but I'd also agree with others that some "off-the-wall" PR approach seems to be high on your agenda!

    Good luck,

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