We’ve been writing a lot recently about metrics-driven PR. One metric that is often key to certain clients is being acquired. Of course, when Bluetext first engages with a client for public relations (or any service for that matter), the client rarely opens the conversation by stating their goal is to get acquired. That may, in fact, be one of several desired outcomes, which could include raising venture capital, making acquisitions themselves, penetrating new markets, accelerating growth, or all of the above.
At the end of the day, a public relations program that raises the enterprise value of the firm can greatly assist companies in achieving any of the aforementioned objectives, which in part may be why numerous Bluetext clients over the years have seen successful acquisition exits.
The most recent example: BroadSoft, which was recently acquired by tech giant Cisco for nearly $2 billion. For 7-1/2 years leading nearly right up to its acquisition by Cisco, Bluetext served as the North America public relations and industry analyst relations agency of record for BroadSoft, a global unified communications software provider whose customer base is 600+ carriers and telecommunications service providers (including 20 of the top 25 by revenue) across 80+ countries.
When we think about public relations that raises the enterprise value of a client, what we mean is that press coverage and brand building for their own sakes do not lead to desired outcomes. That’s precisely what our goal was for Broadsoft. PR that enhances enterprise value has several components to it, including:
- Drawing attention to all key parts of the business – Technology firms may have products, services, capabilities and customer stories that are most conducive to press. For that reason, it is easy for agencies to milk them until the opportunities are bone dry, and over-rotate at the expense of other parts of the business. Yes, locking in on PR sizzle is a good strategy, but enterprise value is strengthened when a complete business capability story is told.
- Determine high-value assets – Maybe the client has assembled the best application development team in the industry, something that potential acquirers or VC investors would find as valuable as the product itself. Maybe it’s a unique set of patents, or market penetration in a growing vertical, whatever it is, public relations should lock in on those assets and build campaigns to highlight them.
- Create a vision for the future – Past results matter, but…demonstrating a client is uniquely positioned to capitalize on future market opportunities and growth shows the potential going forward is even greater than what has already been achieved. Articulating a vision and communicating why the client is leading the market towards that vision demonstrates rising future enterprise value.
For the early part of this engagement, BroadSoft considered itself an “ingredient brand” – much like Intel Inside – for telecommunications providers. The providers would white label BroadSoft’s unified communications services and sell them to enterprise and residential customers. The downside of that positioning was that the market began to consider BroadSoft a legacy voice telecommunications provider – a growing brand challenge as upstarts such as Skype, Slack positioned themselves as innovators and disruptors.
To address this challenge, Bluetext worked to position BroadSoft as an innovative brand not only with telecommunications providers but with enterprise decision makers, end users, and influencers. Our approach was to establish a vision for “the future of work” and then communicate through media coverage, speaker opportunities, awards and thought leadership how businesses needed to enable the future of work. The pillars of “the future of work” vision were educating business decision makers and end users that 1) the workforce was increasingly millennial; 2) the workforce was increasingly mobile; 3) the workforce was increasingly geographically dispersed and 4) the workforce was increasingly inundated with applications, information, and meetings. Then we sought to increase BroadSoft’s “share of voice” in these conversations.
A sampling of results for the most recent full three years (2014-2016) indicates the result of these efforts.
- – 325 media articles for which BroadSoft was a substantial part of the story (there were also dozens of other media mentions not included in this number).
- – 175 industry analyst briefings
- – 35 bylined articles developed and placed by Bluetext
- – Dozens of bylines created by Bluetext were then leveraged by BroadSoft
- – 17 significant industry awards
- – 18 non-fee speaking opportunities
All of these efforts successfully focused on extending the BroadSoft brand as an innovator with enterprise decision makers, end users, and its telecommunications provider customer base.