Archives for posts with tag: Eskenzi

I’m sure the title of the blog has given you a clue about the content of this blog, but we are delighted to finally be able to share with you our news, that we’ve been keeping under our hats (or perhaps crowns may be more fitting in this case) for a few weeks …

Eskenzi PR & Marketing has won a 2018 Queens Award for Enterprise!

The Queens Award is an incredible accolade, celebrating the outstanding achievement by UK businesses across a number of categories, from innovation to sustainable development. Eskenzi has been recognised for its contribution to the UK’s economy, and we are one of just 152 companies that have received the honour this year for overseas trade and International growth.

Having worked within the cybersecurity space since the very beginning, we are proud to be part of a sector that has grown from something very niche, where only those ‘in the know’ really understood its importance, to an industry which continues to dominate mainstream news headlines, and is discussed at everything from dinner parties, student union gatherings, board meetings and government debates across the globe.

We work tirelessly to do our bit in highlighting the challenges of cybersecurity, and bringing them to the attention of the masses; from DDoS attacks, phishing and Ransomware, all the way through to Nation State Hacking, GDPR and the Skills Gap, you can be sure that Eskenzi are there, finger on the pulse and ensuring our clients are in the right place at the right time to be positioned as the thought leaders they are. We couldn’t have done it without our fabulous clients, both past and present- so we extend a big thank you to all of you.

Our services span across the globe from the US, to France, Germany and Benelux- and of course, our headquarters in High Barnet, London. We are a tight knit, PR family, and we really do pride ourselves on delivering only the best. Each achievement we reach for our clients spur us on to aim for bigger and better the next time, and so as you can imagine, The Queens Award really does have us all pretty electrified here at Eskenzi HQ (and beyond!).  We have lots of exciting things in the pipeline, from a trip to the Palace and the presentation of the award at our offices – which we will of course, keep you all posted on.

For now, however, thank you all for joining us in whatever capacity you have on the incredible journey that Eskenzi PR has been on (so far). We’re almost certain our next chapter is going to bigger, better and even more wonderful than we can even begin to imagine.

 

–  Queens Awards Winners 2018, over and out!

 

 

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Last Friday our clients’ comments were published in hundreds of different publications across the UK, US, France and Germany, here is how we did it:

On Thursday morning reports started to surface that Yahoo was expected to announce a huge data breach so we notified our clients straight away and asked them to prepare comments on the information that was available so that we could jump on the story as soon as it broke. Our clients prepared comments and then it was just a waiting game.

Around 8pm on Thursday night the story broke, Yahoo had officially announced the breach. So we immediately told our clients and asked if they needed to update their comments given the new information. As many of them are based in the US, they were still at work so getting a quick response wasn’t difficult.

By 9pm we had issued the comments to national and security press. Minutes later, Al Jazeera asked for a television interview and we managed to get a client on air that same evening.

Before even getting into the office the next morning we were already getting interview requests from the likes of ITN and International Business Times UK, let’s just say it was a very busy day of rushing around trying to get clients to TV studios in ridiculously tight deadlines (it’s situations like this that a private jet would be useful). We also asked our teams in France and Germany to translate the comments and issue them out (these are regions where responding to news like this is not the norm).

200387165-001The results were pretty incredible, the Press Association article syndicated across 447 publications, so the clients that were lucky enough to be mentioned in the article achieved a year’s worth of coverage in one day! Hits included, the Daily Mail, Independent and Huffington Post. In France, Le Figaro (a big national newspaper) even covered the story and other hits included InformatiqueNews.fr and Speicherguide in Germany.

What was interesting was that the few clients who were not quick enough to give us comment on Thursday did not get much coverage at all, even though we had sent their comments out on Friday morning before 10am. This is likely to be because journalists were so saturated with comments that they only used the first batch they received and wanted to push their stories out as soon as possible. So it really paid off that we were prepared to work unsociable hours on Thursday night (although let’s hope this doesn’t start happening too often).

 

In November we gained a new client called CertiVox; a Shoreditch-based cyber security company with a big vision to change the whole structure of the internet. In what we thought would be a normal meeting to get to know our new client, we were left gobsmacked at the big ideas and goals that this start-up had. The CertiVox CEO told us that trust on the internet is broken but he has a solution to fix it, as simple as that. It didn’t take us long to realise that this would be a very exciting client to work with, they had clear goals in mind and they wanted our help to achieve them.

CertiVox wanted a makeover and rebranding to become MIRACL. Our job was to take this new name that no one had heard of before and turn it into a well-known and trusted company. As if this wasn’t a mammoth enough job, it had to be done in time for their next round of funding this February.

In the first few days of working with MIRACL, before we had even met them properly, M&S had some technical glitches. So we practically threw the MIRACL CEO into a cab to the ITV News film crew in London to discuss the breach on national television. Not a bad way to kick off work with a new client.

Once we had time to catch our breath after the excitement of ITV news, we sat down and came up with a PR strategy to match MIRACL’s ambitions. We decided on a timeline to issue press releases surrounding MIRACL’s partnerships and work with big companies such as NTT and Experian. What we found particularly interesting was that Experian had selected MIRACL’s M-Pin technology to provide secure authentication for the millions of UK citizens who use the Gov.Verify service to log into any government activity websites such as DVLA and HMRC.

This coincided nicely with the tax return deadline of January 31st which would require anyone filing their tax return online to login using the Gov.Verify service. So we came up with the idea to carry out a survey on scams around tax returns. We then turned this into two press releases which achieved 180 pieces of coverage in publications such as the Metro, Yahoo News and MSN.

While all this was happening, we were also looking out for news stories around certificate authorities on which MIRACL could comment so that their voice can be heard on the issue, and it certainly has been in publications like SC Magazine and TechCrunch. Of course we also provided comment opportunities on big news stories in the industry such as the recent report which found that “123456” was still the most popular password. This achieved 30 pieces of coverage including the Guardian, Mirror and Metro (again!).

There was also the recent HSBC Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack; terrible publicity for HSBC but great exposure for MIRACL’s CEO whose comments were included in publications such as International Business Times and Computer Business Review. On the following Saturday we had a call from a small television channel you may have heard of called BBC, asking for someone to talk about the Lincolnshire county council ransomware incident. We managed to convince the reporter to send a cameraman to Brian’s house for some ‘on the ground’ reporting and before we knew it, MIRACL’s CEO was on the evening news.

With appearance in online and print publications, television and radio and over 300 pieces of coverage for MIRACL since we started work for them in November, I think it is fair to say we have got their name out there loud and clear for the next round of funding and we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

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So, week two of 2016 here at Eskenzi was most definitely no shrinking violet compared to last week’s phenomenal results!

This week, Microsoft released its final patches for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 along with an “End of Life” notice, to encourage users to switch to Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge, currently only available on Windows 10.

These changes were originally announced back in August 2014, and it is estimated that these older, legacy browsers could account for more than 20% of web traffic. Computerworld reported that as many as 340 million Internet Explorer users are still using IE 8, 9 or 10! NetMarketShare estimates that Internet Explorer accounts for 57% of the browser market, compared with 25% for Chrome, 12% for Firefox and 5% for Apple’s Safari – That’s a lot of people using browsers that are now potentially unsafe, and can no longer be patched.

This means that Internet Explorer won’t receive any more security updates, or other patches. Those still using the browsers could be vulnerable to security threats and even hacks; depending on what other (if any) security software is installed.

A story of this type throws open the rapid response doors for Eskenzi clients, many of which had sound advice on what users, who still use Internet Explorer 8, 9 or 10, can do to ensure they stay protected, despite this news.

Four Eskenzi clients commented on this story – ESET, Tripwire, AppRiver and Bromium – and one from our sister agency, SmileOnFridays – Tenable, which resulted in over 250 pieces of coverage across National newspapers, business publications and trade press.  The coverage obtained was truly global, with publications in the UK, United States, France, Germany, Kenya, Japan, Ghana and Argentina (and many more!) reporting on the news with commentary from our clients included.

Hits include the BBC, The Metro, Business Reporter (included with The Daily Telegraph), BT, SC Magazine, Dark Reading and Yahoo! News.

Several journalists reached out to Eskenzi for specific commentary, as we are so well known to those who report in the security and technology space, knowing they would get great quotes to use in their stories, as well as sound advice for businesses and consumers alike.

We’re lucky to work with so many amazing clients who can, at the drop of a hat, pull amazing quotes and advice out of the bag. I wonder what week three will deliver.

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will pr for food

Saul O’Keeffe – PR Executive @Saul_Eskenzi

PR is a notoriously competitive and popular career path for graduates. There’s any number of ways people manage to get on the PR ladder, but as a graduate with little or no experience, it can seem a daunting task.

The reason I chose PR was because I knew how to write and research new subjects quickly, as well as being an easygoing person who doesn’t mind being out of their comfort zone on a regular basis. In short it was a career path where I’d get to test my skills to their limits, while having a real chance of career progression. But the difficult thing is getting that foot in the door, then through said door and on the first rung of that butter-coated ladder.

I had never worked in PR before – I’d never even worked in an office before. So how did I get a job in PR? Some of it was down to skill, some of it to luck and a large part of it was just patience and hard graft.

My experience comprised of charity projects with the Houses of Commons, a degree in political science and a few years working as a violin maker’s apprentice. Speaking to my rivals at job interviews, it was clear that competition was tough and knowing how to build a cello probably wasn’t going to impress someone who wanted me writing press releases and scoring media interviews for their clients.

So I did what everyone in my position did and applied to as many roles as I could – but saw no success. I then tried applying prospectively to companies where no positions were advertised, again without success. Consistently being told I had to do an internship first or hold a PR degree was somewhat disheartening. Then I got some excellent advice – build a strong relationship with a recruiter and be as open and honest with them as you can. Tell them your true likes and dislikes and where you sense your weaknesses lie. That way, they respect your honesty and know how to find the right position for you.

The recruiter then suggested I look at tech PR. It fitted my goals as the industry moves fast, requires consistent effort and creativity and enables me to learn about an area where I had little working knowledge before. It felt like the perfect challenge for someone looking to cut their teeth in PR. I’d had a couple of interviews by this stage and was starting to learn what PR directors are looking for in their teams. It was not long after this conversation I was off to my first tech PR interview – and luckily for me it was at a company where I felt instantly at home!

So my path from university to Eskenzi was hardly a doddle, with some disappointments along the way and interviews that were a complete waste of my time. There were 3 main lessons I learned on my journey into PR:

  1. Make sure you’re applying for PR in the sector that’s best for you – play to your strengths and ask for career advice about where you need to be.
  2. Blanket applications do not work – trust me. Be focused and targeted rather than throwing the whole pot of spaghetti at the wall.
  3. Do not be daunted by rejection or failure – it is all part of the learning experience and it is something to be relished rather than regretted.

So good luck in your applications! One final thing: do not feel pressured into working for free just to get “experience” – experience doesn’t pay the rent! If you work for free, you’re conceding your time isn’t worth any money, which is just not true. Right?

 

It’s happened – an editor is interested in receiving an article from you. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal.

Write something interesting, engaging and unbiased, and he’ll publish your work – get it wrong and your words will be filed in the ‘trash can’.

With that in mind, here’s what our experience of ghost-writing copy has taught us:

 

1) Stick to the Script

A synopsis has probably already been written to secure the placement, so it stands to reason that the finished article follows this outline. Many of you reading this will think that’s ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ but I’ve read enough articles over the years that don’t even have a passing resemblance to the pitch that means it’s worth repeating!

Similarly, if the Editor has offered a word-count, don’t ignore it. While no-one expects you to be bang-on 800 words, there is usually only a 10% leeway either side. Again, experience tells me there will be someone reading this who will have offered a 1,000 word prose for a 500 word placement!

It’s also worth reiterating that deadlines aren’t plucked out of the sky. Ideally stick to the Editor’s timeframe but, if something comes up and you’re going to need more time, ask for it as early as possible. There’s nothing more irritating then being told at the last minute something won’t be ready on time. Actually there is – not telling someone and waiting for them to find out for themselves!

 

2) Plan Your Piece

Before you put pen to paper (or start typing) scope out what you want to include in your article – remember, every good article has a beginning (introduce the theme or argument of the article) a middle (the issue or argument) and an end (a conclusion, summarising the key take-away and ideally a call to action).

It also helps the natural flow of the piece if there’s a progression through each element being covered. As illustration – there is a problem; this is what happens if you ignore it; and this is what you can do to stop it being a problem.

Remember, editors – and so by association readers, love statistics – but they’re useless if you don’t reference whose research it is. After all, anyone can claim that eight out of 10 cats like something – but if you don’t know who said it, how do you know it’s true.  Similarly, if it’s an independent study or a respected individual, it will carry more weight than a popular cat food vendor’s claims.  That doesn’t mean as a vendor your research is worthless – you just need to make the case for why it shouldn’t be ignored. And sample size is king – if we return to cats who like fish, if you offer 10 cats the choice or 1,000 which sample is likely to yield the better results?

While on this point, most publications like text to include hyperlinks to external reports, quotes or other material – or include these details as a footnote. If in doubt, check with the publication to determine its preference.

 

3) Don’t Speak Geek

The IT sector, and security particularly, is full of acronyms and phrases that get Sheldon Cooper hot under the collar (you know – the tall one from the Big Bang Theory.)

While you might understand why limiting “buffer overflows, HTTP header vulnerabilities, binary or non-ASCII character injections, and exploits such as SQL injection, XSS, and worm attacks” is important, there’s a lot of people who wouldn’t.

Similarly, don’t be condescending.

If you’re unsure, research other articles published by the title to determine the right technical tone to take. If in doubt, ask – that’s what account managers are for.

 

4) Offer Practical Advice

Lots of the Editors we speak with like practical articles that include top tips, best practice and step-by-step guides – i.e. the five things that, if done, will help solve an issue, secure a network, or even write a good article!

Be clear in what you’re asking the reader to do and don’t assume prior knowledge, even of simple tasks. If there’s an order, or priority, label it as such. Include warnings of what not to do, things that can go wrong or even consequences of not following protocol correctly. And link to additional reading or supporting material where further help and assistance can be obtained.

 

5) Don’t be Biased

This is the golden rule of ‘editorial.’ While it’s tempting to talk about your product and how it perfectly addresses the challenge end-users face, this is the most common reason that an article is spiked (that’s publishing speak for ‘binned, canned, or filed under trash.’)

It’s okay to talk about how a technology or solution addresses an issue, as part of a wider balanced article – just don’t make it the only focus for your piece, definitely don’t lift the text from your datasheets, and never ever name it.

 

Hopefully that helps next time you’re asked to produce an article.

Happy writing.

Chemistry

In the next few weeks I’ll be blogging about how to go about finding the right PR agency for you. I’ve been running Eskenzi PR for 18 years and I’d say good PR is all about Chemistry. It’s a bit like going on a first date – when you meet the person sitting opposite you and look into their eyes you either know it’s going to work or you don’t! Is there a connection and does it feel right? Is there a nice spark when you talk to these guys? Do you fire off each other? If it feels right in your gut and the chemistry is working then I’d say the agency could be the right one for you.

However, don’t make your decision based on the chemistry being right between you and the directors of the company ask to meet the entire team. After all how often are you going to deal with the directors – meet the account manager and account executives, go into their offices and spend some time with them – see if there is a buzz about their place. Are the team happy? Do they have time to spend with you – check they’re not stressed out working on too many accounts!

The golden rule is in our office is that no one works on more than 4 accounts – check this out when you talk to the account manager – do they look tired and worn out? If so walk away – you want to be a big fish in a small pond – that’s the reason why we always recommend working with smaller, specialised agencies because they have fewer clients and everyone really matters.

When at the pitching stage ask the all important question about how long the agency retains their clients. If it’s around a year to 18 months don’t touch them. I’d be very interested in why they’ve lost their clients. At Eskenzi we retain our clients for an average of 7 years, most of our clients leave us because they’ve been acquired – that’s our job done – it’s what most companies in our sector are seeking to achieve. If a client only stays for a year or two it’s not a good sign.

To check that the agency have happy and satisfied clients ask if you can contact their clients and make sure it’s you who chooses who the clients are you speak to, not the ones the agency recommend you speak to as they are likely to direct you to only their happy clients not the disgruntled or dissatisfied ones.

To make sure that you instinct is right and the chemistry is there you can ask for a three month trial contract, which means you’re not locked into a long term agreement and it gives both parties time to try out the working relationship. Three months is the perfect time to find out whether the agency are good – you should be getting coverage and interviews with the press within the first couple of weeks and oodles of coverage within the three month trial period. If the coverage isn’t coming in within this time period then you know it won’t happen after this time period.

So in essence choosing an agency is no different to any relationship – you’ve got to like the people you’re working with, that way the ideas and energy will flow. Also make sure you do your research on the agency to ensure they are the right fit for you. Quiz the staff to make sure they are knowledgeable about your subject and space and are energised by your products and services. Finally make sure they are not over-stretched and stressed out. Remember it’s two sided as all good relationships are and communicating regularly is at the heart of every great partnership! So go with your instinct and if you feel the chemistry is right it probably is!

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The golden rule is to produce lots of great content and be very focused about where you place that content.  However there’s a bit more to it than just producing great content – so in a series of blogs I’m going to share with you some golden rules on succeeding in PR.

Firstly – Why use a PR agency?

People employ the skills of a PR agency for many reasons.  In our industry it’s usually about building a brand, raising awareness for vendors from the US or Israel as they enter new markets or regions and want to create a buzz in the media.  Other companies are keen to raise their name to the top of the Google rankings and beat their competitors with publicity, or they could be preparing for an IPO or desire to be noticed by venture capitalists or potential trade buyers. Whatever the reason it always comes down to companies wanting to ensure that more people see them in the right media, so more people come knocking on their door.  I’d say that’s a good enough reason to employ a PR agency.

They say that editorial is worth 5 times more than advertising because people believe what they read whereas with advertising they know it’s contrived to make them buy the product or service.  However with PR the agenda is hidden as the editorial has been written by a journalist so it’s got to be true – hasn’t it?

The other reason why it’s worth employing a PR agency is that they can reap dividends for you and are much cheaper than using an advertising agency.  Often even the smallest of ads can amount to two or three thousand pounds.  If you take a retainer with a PR agency it may only cost £3,000-£7,000 a month but you could get 50 to 100 pieces of editorial which is incredibly valuable in increasing your brand awareness and building your market share.  I’d say if you have the budget a mix of both advertising and PR is the perfect combination.

A good PR agency that is specialised and experienced in your space can also add a great deal of industry insight and help with all sorts of management issues – many of our clients use us as a sounding board for many a creative idea.  We’re often called into management meeting so that we can offer an objective point of view as we can see the company from the outsider’s perspective.

Also companies reach out to PR agencies because they just don’t have the man hours to do the PR themselves or they don’t have the contacts with the key press.  If you’re working with a specialist PR agency they are on the phone or emailing the key journalists every day and have a rapport with them, which is something that takes a very long time to build up and is worth its weight in gold if you’re trying to get decent coverage in tier one publications.

PR is time consuming and you need to be on the case all the time – in our business, stories are breaking throughout the day so you have to be following twitter feeds and newswires constantly to make sure you’re not missing any opportunities – often PR is just one of the many functions of an in-house marketing department so the in-house PR person just doesn’t have the bandwidth to follow all the potential stories that a PR agency does.

If you do want to build your profile and you are a company that is on the up or even a company that’s on the down and needs to make sure they reverse that process a PR agency can help to build your profile and be noticed.  There’s nothing nicer than getting those Google alerts with your name mentioned in them or even better when your PR agency rings you to tell you you’re going to be on the BBC – it’s those days you reflect on and look forward to telling your kids or even grand-children about!

In my next blog I’ll be talking about how to go about choosing the right PR agency for you.

We decided this week to have company-wide training on SEO – wow it’s blown my mind, it’s like so where do you start to play the game with Google when they constantly change the goal posts?

What I did learn is that thankfully content is still king – that’s the good part – so if you can produce lots of great content Google will love you.  Phew, so we’re still in business for a wee while yet!  What I also learnt is that Google will love you even more if you take the content you have and present it in many different forms to produce splinters of other original content.  So say you commission a great survey – I’m a true believer in survey’s because they give you so much original and interesting research and you present the findings in lots of different forms such as a press release, blog, video, webinar, podcast, photos, infographic, cartoon, whitepaper – hey presto – your SEO will go up and this is exactly what Google is looking for.

Links are also key to increasing your SEO too, so once again using PR to create as much original content on your company with links directing back to your site is the message of the moment.   The more coverage you get the more mentions and links to your website and you travel up the search engines.

However, what I also learnt which shocked me is that traditionally you would have sent out a press release and hope that it appeared on numerous sites, in the USA in particular most companies use a newswire to post their press release on as many sites as possible that take press releases.  The view was that this improved SEO, however, if your content looks the same as elsewhere on other sites to Google’s algorithms then at best the affect is neutral or your site can be penalised for duplicating content on multiple sites.  So US PR agencies who send everything out via the newswires should take note – having duplicate content on multiple sites is no longer good for SEO – contrary it will have a negative impact.

On the flip side though, traffic is what most companies are actually looking for so if you do get the same press release on multiple sites and it does drive traffic, just not help your SEO position.   To confirm that you are getting traffic that does not just bounce straight off your site check your analytics, you can sign up to Google for free.

Confused???  You have to learn to play the game – that’s what I learnt this week – you need to know Google’s rules and obey them whether you like it or not.  Opting out is not an option if you want to survive in business.  Go learn the rules and come play with the rest of us and remember content is King and always will be!

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By Neil Stinchcombe, Director, Eskenzi

ImageWhen I first heard about the features of the new iPhone I was thrilled. Not because I’m a huge Apple fan, in fact quite the reverse, but because it included a security feature as standard – the Fingerprint Scanner.

However, it didn’t take long for hackers to claim Apple’s scalp, proving the technology to be ‘hackable’. The Chaos Computing Club claims to have defeated Touch ID by photographing the fingerprint of an iPhone’s user, then printing it on to a transparent sheet, which it used to create a mould for a “fake finger.” But does that mean Apple was wrong to include the technology?

I’d argue not.

I like to think that I’m fairly security conscious, at least in the digital world, and have long understood the inadequacy of the passcode. However, I still use it and with good reason. I have a friend whose device doesn’t have a code and she regularly leaves it unattended. As a result it’s become a challenge to see who can slip the phone off the table and post the most obscure status updates, make random tweets, and take bizarre ‘selfies’. Secretly, she must enjoy it as I can’t see any other reason for leaving her phone lying around – but I digress. While a passcode would at least hinder our efforts, it probably wouldn’t stop the die-hards of the group. But the fingerprint scanner would.

Of course, there will be some that disagree, arguing that if security can be cracked then it’s worthless. But is that really the case? We all have locks on our front door but we know a persistent burglar isn’t going to be deterred. But the opportunist will be. And surely that’s the point.

In normal life you’d be pretty unlucky to lose your phone, or even have it stolen, and for whoever ends up with the device to also have your ‘fake’ finger. So, rather than ridicule Apple and it’s fingerprint scanner I think for once it deserves to be applauded.

In fact, I want more designers to add security features as standard to my devices. After all, any security’s better than no security – isn’t it.

 

– Dulcie –