The reason is simple. Unlike the rest of the world, hackers weren’t subject to austerity measures or cost cutting. Indeed, cybercrime is believed to cost $445bn to the global economy, making it more lucrative than the drugs trade. So whilst enterprises were cutting IT budgets, hackers have been investing their most prized resource – their time – into evolving their methods and digital weapons armoury.
Stories relating to hacks, attacks and data privacy happen pretty much every day. And security companies fire out comment on these latest developments to the waiting media. The problem is that whilst the newsjack is an excellent PR tactic for achieving high volume coverage across multiple online and offline assets, it also creates a shouting match. One day you might win, with your company name in lights across national, broadcast and social media channels. The next day you might be lucky to get one small snippet in an industry forum. And from a PR perspective, you’re only as good as your last piece of coverage, tweet, or LinkedIn post.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a newsjack (or rapid response, issues response, issues hijacking, whatever the term you use). There’s nothing better than sniffing out a breaking news story and getting your client’s comment out there. And yet, I wonder just how valuable it actually is for security companies.
With so many businesses wanting to be heard, is it actually helping security companies to affect behaviour, increase brand awareness or create meaningful engagement that drives the bottom line? Moreover, with hacks now a common part of everyday life, are CISOs or IT Directors even reading about them or are they as effective as the graphic pictures on cigarette packets at deterring hardened smokers?
The simple fact is that PR has to work harder and smarter than ever before. The newsjack will always hold a place in my heart, but frankly I can’t help feeling that with some boldness and daring there’s real scope to disrupt the conversation with smarter, snappier and more creative campaigns that really pack a punch.