I recently had lunch with an old colleague who now runs PR at Kaspersky Lab, one of the best-known and fastest-rising anti-virus companies on the planet.
My friend told me a story that should seize the hearts of journalists even as it captures the imagination of corporate marketers; it’s a story about the rise of branded journalism.
Of course, you already know all about “branded entertainment.” For some groundbreaking examples, look no further than Spherion Staffing’s “The Temp Life” video series or Ikea’s “Easy To Assemble” webisodes starring A- and B-list Hollywood celebs. (Fast Company recently ran a helpful review of some of the Web’s best examples of branded entertainment.) While branded entertainment can be an expensive, hit-or-miss proposition, Kaspersky Lab has adopted a relatively low-cost, high-value approach that’s better described as “branded journalism.”
Once upon a time, the writers and analysts who covered Kaspersky Lab as it slogged towards victory against the likes of McAfee and Symantec included Dennis Fisher at eWeek, Paul Roberts at The451 Group, and Ryan Naraine of ZDNet. These men were among the top editors and analysts covering the anti-virus space of the day (2004–present).
Now, each and every one of these highly credentialed gentlemen produce superb content for Kaspersky Lab — as employees. They are contributing to the Company’s well-regarded global IT Security news site, Threatpost. With talent like Fisher, Roberts and Naraine working the levers, Threatpost is, well, a legitimate threat to the ZDNet’s, CNet’s, and SC Magazine’s of the world…
Now, to be clear, competing with those esteemed publications is not part of the agenda of Kaspersky Lab’s marketing team. Surely they continue to seek coverage in those journals.
However, they’re also glad to know that all of that thought leadership & always-contemporary SEO-savvy content benefits Kaspersky Lab. It benefits their channel sales partners as well, who frequently repurpose the Threatpost content in order to motivate new conversations with prospective customers.
That’s not to imply that the content is “salesy,” however; there’s a church/state separation on the editorial side at Threatpost: subscribers are not fed into a lead-gen dbase. No doubt that was a key factor in Fisher, Roberts and Naraine’s decision to join the Threatpost editorial team. They now not only have the kind of job security most media professionals lack, but also can walk away from the experience someday with their reputations only enhanced by the experience.
Meanwhile, Kaspersky’s business is thriving.
Welcome to the future.
Disclosure: Kaspersky was a SHIFT client for 4 years. We did some good work in that time — from “upstart Russian wannabe” to industry leader — as demonstrated by this Google Trends chart, which company execs very generously suggested I share with you:
Posted on: August 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm By Todd Defren