While social media represented measurable success for many consumer-focused companies, there is still a lot of learning to be done in terms of how enterprise technology-focused companies leverage social media. And while many are having luck using collaboration tools or even white label social networks for improving internal communications or even enhancing their CRM systems, not a lot have found a unique way to brand themselves via social media. At least, brand themselves in the right way to be at the forefront of their enterprise IT buying audience.
Kaspersky Lab seems to have figured out at least part of the formula for such success. On Monday the security company will officially announce Threatpost, an independent news site that mixes original content with aggregated content from existing online entities. The site has its own brand and position mostly independent of Kaspersky and will be run as an standalone editorial site. Threatpost will even have its own "Bloghaus" booth with amenities for bloggers at RSA Conference. The site will include:
- Vendor-neutral content developed by the site editors
- Manually aggregated content from other security blogs and news sites
- Guest "punditry" or contributed columns from influencers throughout the security space
- Aggregation of hand-selected video content relative to security
Kaspersky is in a unique position to do such a site compared to other vendors in the space given the editorial breadth of its employed team. Ryan Naraine and Dennis Fisher, two well-known security writers, will spearhead the editorial direction and serve as co-editors of Threatpost. Naraine is a leading contributor to ZDNet's Zero Day security blog and Fisher was most recently executive editor at TechTarget's SearchSecurity.com.
There are currently hundreds of blogs in the Security Bloggers Network and countless other security news sources, however there is not a system in place for highlighting top news across all sites. Naraine and Fisher will hand-select articles each day for the main Threatpost feed. These stories could be reporting and analysis on trends, information on latest threats, or even event-driven coverage. However, to ensure that the site remains vendor neutral they will not include any product news or launch coverage -- even for Kaspersky or its partners.
While this is helpful for the security industry, Kaspersky's launch represents something bigger.
The company has set a best practice for enterprise technology companies trying to brand themselves through social media. With the launch of Threatpost, even with neutral editorial content, this is a site that will always be associated with the Kaspersky brand. And while naysayers might have concerns about the vendor neutrality, the benefit for Kaspersky does not lie within the content. It lies within the fact that enterprise IT buyers will subscribe to the Threatpost feeds to drink up the aggregated content, and with every subscription comes an increase of brand recognition.
The Kaspersky team is aware of the challenges but are optimistic for the site's success. Randy Drawas, the company's CMO, said "the only way a site like this one can be successful is to keep it open and trusted." Meaning, that while the company has direct competitors of its own and many technology partners who compete with other security vendors, the editors will not lock out content from those competitive vendors.
Drawas is also aware of the branding opportunity that comes with this for Kaspersky and for its partners. While a paid advertising model is not on the table for Threatpost, the company will leverage some of the site space for the benefit of its partners (Kaspersky has many OEM partnerships and sells almost 100 percent indirect). The model is not yet fully determined.
Upon its announcement Threatpost will technically be in beta, according to Drawas, as this is a new type of endeavor and some of the marketing concepts will take some trial and error. The company is also considering a branded community element to Threatpost to make it truly interactive; a social network for security, so to speak.
Enterprise IT vendors should take note and keep a watch on Threatpost. Kaspersky has created for itself a great opportunity to increase its brand recognition through a neutral presentation of social media. There's no reason why this type of effort can't be a success in other industries, too.