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Identity Theft 911 (IDT911), a provider of identity management, identity theft recovery and data risk management solutions, approached Affect with the goal of positioning the company and its spokespeople as industry thought leaders in order to enhance recognition of its products and drive sales.

Affect worked with IDT911 to launch an aggressive media relations campaign that combined its signature Story Hijacking and Trend Intervention tactics with seasonally timed media outreach and news releases featuring expert commentary on identity theft related issues. The campaign resulted in nearly 200 placements in mainstream and trade media, successfully increasing awareness of IDT911 as the leading authority on issues related to data security and identity theft.

OVERVIEW

At the start of 2013, data breaches and cases of identity theft were occurring at unprecedented levels. And yet, despite IDT911’s position as a leading provider of solutions designed to mitigate organizational risk and protect impacted consumers in the wake of a data breach, the company had little success garnering media attention. In part, the problem was related to IDT911’s business model. Because their services were sold either directly to businesses, or as an add-on to insurance policies, consumers and mainstream business media had limited exposure to the brand.

Against this backdrop, IDT911 sought to increase its share of voice in the mainstream and trade media to drive demand for its services. Affect designed a program to raise IDT911’s public profile among its target audiences, from individual households to Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions and credit unions.

The campaign’s objectives included:

  • Enhancing recognition and awareness of IDT911’s solutions, value proposition and reputation among its target audiences
  • Positioning IDT911 as a leader among its competitors by disseminating messaging around its core product and service differentiators
  • Increasing IDT911’s coverage in mainstream consumer and business press as well as trade media in key market verticals
  • Establishing IDT911’s executives as trusted experts on issues related to identity management and data security

DEVELOPING A STRATEGY

Affect recognized IDT911’s deep industry knowledge and expertise, which could be used to provide key insights in the wake of breaking news around data and security breaches. The challenge, however, was to figure out how to leverage these resources at critical moments in the news cycle and translate them into media coverage that would resonate with IDT911’s target audiences. With this goal in mind, the team conducted substantial industry and media research to determine the publications and industry reporters who cover identity theft and cyber security news on an ongoing basis. Developing relationships with these outlets would be essential to creating new opportunities for IDT911 to provide expert commentary and analysis in the immediate aftermath of a data breach.

In addition to capitalizing on breaking news, the team sought to develop a strategy that would create sustainable positioning for IDT911 in order to generate coverage on a consistent basis. To develop an steady stream of compelling story angles, Affect aggregated statistics and reports on identity theft, pinpointed specific scams and common hacks that render individuals and businesses vulnerable, and even used IDT911’s own customer service call center to identify emerging trends or previously unreported breaches. By making use of innovative editorial thinking, Affect was also able to develop seasonal story angles around popular retail buying cycles, major holidays, and consumer awareness initiatives such as Data Privacy Day (January 28) and National Cyber Security Month (October). Used in conjunction with one another, these tactics would help ensure a steady stream of coverage throughout the year.

EXECUTION: INCREASING BRAND AWARENESS THROUGH THOUGHT LEADERSHIP AND INCISIVE ANALYSIS

Throughout 2013, Affect utilized story hijacking tactics to insert IDT911 into the media dialogue around major cyber security news stories including the Adobe, Apple and Target data breaches. This required working closely with core IDT911 spokespeople to ensure rapid responses to breaking news. In addition to providing expert commentary and analysis in the immediate aftermath of a data breach, Affect continued to secure media opportunities by offering follow up stories that connected these high profile incidents to larger industry trends, along with best practices for data security and consumer protection.

In conjunction with story hijacking, Affect developed specific pitch angles to coincide with moments during the year in which identity theft and data breaches occur with greater frequency, from holiday shopping to tax season. Using feature press releases, Affect also worked with IDT911 to develop awareness campaigns and valuable content around mobile banking data and electronic health records to help consumers avoid becoming victims of identity theft scams. Using these tactics, Affect successfully positioned IDT911 as thought leaders in their industry and secured mainstream and trade media coverage on a consistent basis, even in moments where there was a lack of breaking news.

RESULTS

Affect succeeded in achieving all of the program’s stated goals. IDT911’s expert commentary and analysis on breaking security breaches, data protection and identity theft, were featured in news stories throughout the year. As a result of Affect’s efforts, IDT911 was quoted on every major consumer scam of 2013, including more than 26 stories on holiday shopping and high profile retail data breaches, while inbound requests for IDT911 media experts increased more than 300% following the program’s inception.

Coverage included media placements in every major national newspaper including multiple stories in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, USA Today, Atlanta Journal Constitution and Philadelphia Inquirer. IDT911 spokespersons were also quoted in a broad spectrum of business media outlets including ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC, Marketwatch, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Magazine, US News and World Report and Reuters.

In addition to mainstream media outlets, IDT911 dominated coverage in trade and consumer publications with stories appearing in Consumer Affairs, AARP, Bank Systems & Technology, Becker’s Hospital Review, CSO, Credit Union Times, Insurance Business Review and Wall Street & Technology.

With an average of 16 pieces of media coverage per month, and more than 190 media placements for 2013, IDT911 was able to increase its brand recognition among consumers and the media as well as current and potential customers. In fact, 2013 was a record year for IDT911 in both new business inquiries and revenue generation, propelling the organization to the rank of number one provider of identity management services to credit unions and insurance companies. Affect and IDT911 also won a 2014 PRSA-NY Big Apple Award for the success of the program.