Hotwire-PR case study
NetNames manages the domain name portfolios for a third of the FTSE 100, ensuring that major corporations protect their trademarks and brand names online.
NetNames Platinum Service centralises the management of entire domain name portfolios ensuring they are all renewed without fail.
It also gives companies visibility of any threats to their online brands, as they will be able to monitor cybersquatter and competitor domain name registrations online.
Although well known within its space, NetNames needed to raise its profile as the domain name management specialist of choice within the mainstream national, business and B2B press.
In addition, the company also wanted to position its chief operating officer, Jonathan Robinson as the top expert on online brand protection.
Hotwire needed to achieve these objectives by engaging the public and introducing journalists to the issue of cybersquatting and online brand protection, as despite the Internet and broadband being part of our everyday lives, many famous brands have still not put in place a process to prevent their online brands falling into the wrong hands.
This leaves them open to attack from cybersquatters (people who register domain names to either sell them on for a profit or make money from people being misdirected to their cunningly named website).
Online brand protection is quite a technical issue and bringing it to a mainstream audience requires a clear human interest angle.
Hotwire developed a campaign which used celebrities’ names and brand cybersquatting to highlight and bring the issue to life.
In the past some of Hollywood’s biggest stars including Mariah Carey, Pierce Brosnan, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen have fallen foul of cybersquatters. Cases of celebrity cybersquatting would provide the perfect media platform to articulate NetNames’ key online brand protection message – that protection is better than the cure.
Hotwire created an issues-based campaign using topical incidences of cybersquatting. These were aggressively pitched to the media with clear online brand protection messaging from NetNames.
Throughout the campaign Hotwire positioned Jonathan Robinson at NetNames as the guru of online brand protection issues, and positioned NetNames as the specialist that could protect brands from falling foul of cybersquatters.
Hotwire monitored the general news agenda for relevant issues jumping opportunities. In October 2006 Hotwire carefully monitored the launch of David Cameron’s blog Webcameron.org.uk.
Research from Hotwire showed he had left the doorway open for UKIP to cybersquat him and Hotwire made sure Jonathan Robinson was the authoritative voice explaining the issues.
This made page two of The Times the next day and was covered by Reuters, Financial Times, BBC News Online and The Guardian. It was even featured in the BBC’s seven-days news quiz.
This process was repeated in November when press speculation on Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship led Hotwire to research possible online speculation NetNames could comment on.
Then in December Hotwire spotted that X-factor winner Leona Lewis had been cybersquatted and her web address placed on eBay. Positioning the story as a blunder from business-savvy Simon Cowell, Hotwire took the story to the showbiz desks and secured coverage in Reuters, Daily Mirror, The Guardian and the Daily Star.
In January David Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy sparked a huge amount of cybersquatting from around the globe.
Hotwire worked with NetNames to turn a media alert around within hours of the news breaking and achieved widespread coverage through Reuters, AFP and Press Association. An interview was also secured on BBC Radio 5 Live Drive Time.
Overall the campaign has achieved more than 450 articles in newspapers right across the world, from The Times and the Daily Mirror to the Wall Street Journal. The David Beckham campaign alone received coverage around the world as far and wide as Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
The majority of the articles featured sizeable quotes from Jonathan Robinson on the topic of online brand protection, and also clearly positioned NetNames as the domain name management specialist of choice, protecting the domain name portfolios for a third of the FTSE 100 companies.
NetNames has continued to use such coverage of the dangers of failing to protect your online brand to secure further blue-chip clients. Last month NetNames announced its appointment by Unilever to look after their iconic brands including Surf, Dove and Flora online.
But the icing on the cake came when the team received praise for its Webcameron.com campaign from BBC Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman.
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