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eSafety company SafeToNet was aiming to launch its anti-cyber-bullying and anti-sexting product in 2018, which would help prevent children from seeing or interacting with harmful content before it could even reach their phone. While the technology itself held a lot of promise, few people knew about it, so the company needed to establish itself as a brand to be trusted with such a sensitive problem first. It appointed Firefly in early 2017 to help it grow its name with earned media coverage ahead of its full product launch.
With very little news published about the company online, Firefly decided to create a ‘news hijacking’ programme to increase the company’s awareness and ensure that media coverage would help people see it as a trusted source on cyber safety topics, and ultimately drive downloads of its app upon launch.
With no product available yet, Firefly knew it had to rely on pitching comments and profile opportunities for spokespeople at the company on issues to do with cyber safety and smartphone management to demonstrate its knowledge and grow the public’s trust in the business. Firefly planned to target national, business and tech press to establish SafeToNet’s presence.
SafeToNet also wanted to make a big splash when its app did launch, so Firefly planned to secure a tier one national exclusive to maximise app downloads once the product launched.
Firefly monitored key cyber safety topics in the press each day, such as new harmful apps, case studies of children who’d been bullied, research on children’s internet habits and more, to ensure it could help SafeToNet react fast and secure briefings in a timely way. This allowed Firefly to quickly give CEO Richard Pursey’s opinions and thought leadership on these key topics to outlets including The Sun, the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the METRO and more, across both print, online and broadcast formats.
It also pitched CEO Richard Pursey and co-founder Sharon Pursey for profiling opportunities and bylines in business, education and technology titles to help increase the clout behind them as spokespeople and ensure widespread publishing of SafeToNet’s name and messaging.
For the app’s launch, Firefly agreed an exclusive with the Daily Telegraph, coordinating a briefing with Richard and the publication on the new technology and its potential, and a photographer to go to SafeToNet’s office and photograph the team for the article, which would appear in print and online.
Commenting on a wide range of issues from sextortion to Anti-Bullying Week ensured Firefly got SafeToNet noticed by outlets across national media. Firefly also helped to get Richard and Sharon profiled in titles such as Silicon UK, Knet365, Growth Business, Real Business and Information Age, boosting their reputations and association with the company too.
For the app’s launch article with the Daily Telegraph, SafeToNet expected around 200 app downloads as a result of the coverage but ended up having more than 1,200 people download the app in the weekend that the news appeared, quickly growing its popularity among UK families. The buzz around the app upon launch also helped the brand quickly win two major telecommunications customers, securing the future for the start-up.
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