Black Duck automates the process of securing and managing open source software, eliminating the pain related to security vulnerabilities, compliance and operational risk.
Black Duck is a privately held US company, expanding rapidly both at home and overseas, especially in Europe. In early 2016, Black Duck chose to support its drive for international growth with a determined effort to build awareness in key markets through press coverage. Having an existing PR agency relationship in the US with PAN Communications, Brian Carter, director of strategic communications at Black Duck opted to take advantage of PAN’s global partner network, extending the PR program to the UK via Derek Harris, Harris Communications. PAN had already worked alongside Derek on other accounts, including software vendors Mendix and CSG International.
Derek handles all UK media outreach, guided by a global campaign strategy designed by Black Duck together with PAN. A core element of the UK program includes educating editors of the rising use of open source software and its huge value to firms, whilst pressing the need for them to alert their readers of the need for better governance to overcome the cybersecurity, licence compliance and operational risks that are inherent with using open source code in application development.
Key target audiences for Black Duck are information security management teams, IT leaders and business risk managers. Derek ‘hit the ground running.’ He generated news and thought leadership coverage in key titles within days of commencing the assignment.
Mendix is a leading provider of a cloud-based rapid application development platform. It empowers firms to innovate new digital products, services and processes, without requiring anyone to write code. Application development is made fast, collaborative and affordable.
Mendix is a high-growth, US-headquartered software company with a strong European presence given its roots in Holland. In 2014, the firm began aggressively building up a dedicated UK sales team. Mendix wanted to support its sales efforts by building awareness and credibility in the market through press coverage, which could also be used in lead generation and social media activity. After considering several UK-based PR agencies, Mendix hired Harris Communications. Ed Hadley, global director of content marketing at Mendix had seen Derek Harris deliver great results for another rapid-growth software firm, Neolane. (Now owned by Adobe).
Harris Communications first worked with Mendix to understand and further define key messages for the firm’s primary audiences, being IT leaders across industries and business teams in financial services, insurance and retail organisations in particular. PR activity then focused on media relations campaigns to influence these audiences through press coverage. The work comprised:-
At Harris Communications, Derek Harris quickly grasped the technology, business proposition and core themes and messages to be communicated. Within days Derek was up to speed with writing program content and pitching to target media. Over the months, Derek developed a strong rapport with Mendix senior executives and the company’s key customers through winning and guiding press meetings for them. He also gained respect within the sales and marketing leaderships teams for capturing the company’s key propositions and communicating these clearly and effectively in media pitches, bylines and other media-oriented and marketing content.
CSG International is one of the world’s largest and most established business support solutions (BSS) providers primarily serving the communications industry. In February 2012, the company hired Harris Communications as its PR agency for EMEA. Based on strong coverage results, we’ve since been retained each year, until the end of 2015.
CSG’s home market is North America. With a strategy for international growth, in 2011 it acquired Intec Telecom, then one of the most successful providers of telecoms billing solutions in EMEA. Intec’s name was well known across the region, whilst CSG’s name was not. Early objectives of the PR brief were for Harris Communications to communicate CSG’s acquisition of Intec, help gain recognition and trust across EMEA for CSG’s solid name and begin to educate the market of the combined strengths of the two firms. Ongoing objectives were to help build visibility and an increasingly solid name for CSG, gain recognition for the strength of its solutions and win recognition for its key people as trusted industry opinion leaders. The ultimate goal was to support revenue growth in EMEA.
Strategy and delivery
Harris Communications first worked with CSG’s executive team in EMEA to agree a focus for the PR effort and define key messages. A PR strategy was then agreed. This focused on media relations campaigns to seek press coverage and support social media activity. It comprised action plans, media relations and coverage volume targets around:-
Harris Communications quickly got up to speed, delivering 85 clips in target media in the first year and 80-90 in each subsequent year (plus pick-ups from press releases over Businesswire).
KDS is a rapidly growing international provider of corporate Travel and Expense (T&E) management solutions. Its cloud-based solutions enable firms to improve financial compliance, reduce cost and improve workforce productivity.
French-owned KDS has been around for a while. Eager to innovate and drive for international growth it hired a new and vibrant CEO, Dean Forbes. He recognised that within the UK, a key market for KDS, the company was winning only limited press coverage via an existing PR agency: and really only in just a few UK business travel titles. Seeking a new agency, one with a broader business and technology media results record, Forbes approached Derek Harris, Harris Communications. Forbes had worked with Derek before. He’d been impressed by Derek’s results as the media relations consultant for Primavera, a project management software firm (now owned by Oracle).
Strategy and delivery
Harris Communications first worked with KDS to understand its key audiences and their relevant challenges. Next defining target media, core messaging and spokespeople, a programme of activity was delivered aimed at finance, procurement, human resources , corporate travel and business IT leaders. Work included:-
Derek Harris quickly grasped the business and technology themes to be communicated and within days was up to speed with writing program content and pitching to target media.