Hermes Awards Reflect Our Holistic Approach to Communications
Industry recognition from the 2018 Hermes Creative Awards shows our range of expertise: website design, social media, trade show support, special events, and yes, media relations.
Read on to learn more about the individual campaigns.
In the Moment of Truth, Storytelling Campaign Drives Dramatic Increase in Top-tier Media Coverage
2018 Platinum Award for Strategic Programs/PR Campaign
Cybersecurity is one of the toughest sectors to gain coverage in. First, the U.S. security media rarely cover security industry products (or if they do, it’s often because the product’s been hacked):
Second, the industry is saturated with competition. How do you cut through the noise and gain favorable top-tier placement?
Armed with our Periodic Table of Storytelling, Hoffman and Avast entered the fray and came out victorious.
A few of the elements we used to create the perfect chemical reaction for success:
Ow + Ba: Outward plus Barrier. Hoffman focused outward on what Avast’s 2017 security product could do for gamers. We showed how Avast solves the barrier of gaming lags caused by other computing programs such as security software. We honed in on Dean Takahashi, a respected gaming journalist, and secured top-tier coverage in VentureBeat. This approach resulted in a total of 98 pieces of coverage for five product announcements.
Ac + Qa: Atomized Content + Quantification. Riding the increasing news wave of security breaches in 2017, we stayed one step ahead and served up atomized content to journalists, providing the next nugget of information they would need. When the WannaCry attack broke, we provided quantification — the exact number of WannaCry infections that Avast could provide. This led to Avast being placed in 288 articles, including Fortune, USA Today, CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
We: Weird. It was like digging through a dumpster and finding gold.
We culled the weird vulnerabilities left on used phones purchased on eBay. Then we looked at malware surviving factory resets on refurbished phones sold at Best Buy and GameStop. We timed the pitching of our unusual findings to coincide with the iPhone 8 release, and the results were outstanding.
These elements combined produced a combustion reaction of 8.2 billion media impressions, or a 90.7 percent increase with 92 percent of those impressions not coming from a press release.
Hitting the Jackpot with a Fortune
2018 Gold Award for Online Placement
What is your first reaction when you hear the words, “video conferencing solution”?
Likely something to this effect:
Our client Lifesize had been selling the product for years, and turned to Hoffman to generate interesting stories capable of securing top-tier coverage.
Our first strategy was to center on Lifesize customers. We found an interesting story in the MLB, who, contrary to the trend of using video-conferencing to cut down travel time between cities, was using Lifesize to cut down travel time, hassle and costs inside cities.
Leading up to the World Baseball Classic and All-Star games, VIP attendees were required to attend daily meetings, but didn’t want to go through the hassle of commuting from the hotel to the stadium — especially given the games were set in Miami, LA and San Diego that year, cities well-known for their heat and traffic. Lifesize allowed all the attendees to participate from the comfort of their air-conditioned hotel rooms.
With the story in hand and approvals all-around, we approached Barb Darrow at Fortune with the exclusive based on her interest in how technology was being used in the sports world.
We knocked it out of the park.
Semiconductor Maker to CES Journalists: “It’s Not What We Make. It’s What We Make Possible.”
2018 Platinum Award for Strategic Programs/Trade Show PR
Trying to stand out and gain meaningful media coverage as a semiconductor company at CES is not an easy task. But this was the goal that NXP presented to Hoffman, having tried for the past three years with less-than-stellar results.
We quickly got to work developing a sure-fire strategy.
Step 1: If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try the same thing again. The Hoffman team noticed that NXP had focused its CES messaging on the technical aspects of its products. We made the case to NXP executives to push a more consumer-friendly narrative, presenting an extensive breakdown of last year’s CES coverage. We closed the presentation with a proposed theme:
“It’s not what NXP makes; it’s what NXP makes possible.”
The executives loved the idea, and we were off to the races.
Step 2: Research, research, research. We noticed two themes with relevancy to NXP trending among our media targets: Internet of Things (IoT) and Advanced Driving Assist Systems (ADAS). We got to work developing a narrative.
Step 3: The early bird gets the worm. Rather than compete with the noise at CES, we urged NXP to conduct briefings in the slow period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The result? We secured 20 briefings that provided more intimate conversations with the media, leading to deeper coverage of NXP’s innovations.
Step 4: Hitch a ride. NXP premiered an autonomous car demo with partners Microsoft and Volkswagen at the show. We offered reporters the chance to hitch a ride, presenting NXP as the “driver” behind the technology — resulting in top-tier coverage like this:
Step 5: Consumer-ize. Capitalizing on NXP’s work on the leading personal home assistants, we positioned NXP executives as thought leaders who could comment on the market and broader topic of the future of voice in computing. This approach garnered coverage in numerous mainstream publications.
We secured a total of 142 original stories resulting in 812, 478, 504 impressions — or a 4X improvement from the previous year.
It’s not what Hoffman makes; it’s what we make possible.
2018 Gold Award for Strategic Programs/Special Event
What comes to your mind when you think of France? Likely art, fashion and food — not tech.
Business France wanted to change that. They enlisted the support of The Hoffman Agency in promoting the strong presence of the French tech industry.
To fully showcase this presence, we felt it was important to invite journalists to actually see and experience it — so we invited them on a “show-and-tell” tour.
The Hoffman team strategized on an approach that would both entice media to join the tour and persuade them that the French tech scene was indeed challenging the status quo. Nineteen journalists joined the tour, representing business and trade press from the U.S., Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong. Some highlights on our itinéraire:
- We customized each journalist’s package to his/her account culture and coverage angles. For example, Korean car-sharing service SoCar framed the context for the French startup BlaBlaCar in the welcome package for Korean journalists. We also provided detailed itineraries down to identifying the best Chinese food in Paris (La Marais district).
- We organized meetings with high-profile entrepreneurs and investors like Xavier Niel (Ecole 42 coding school and Station F), Frederic Mazzella (BlaBlaCar) and top executives of France’s most recent tech IPO (Criteo).
- We secured press passes for journalists to attend the VivaTech Conference, where the freshly elected Emmanuel Macron would be speaking.
- We scheduled tours to the Facebook AI Research Labs hosted by Moet-Hennessy and a tour of Versailles Castle with transportation courtesy of TransDev.
This week-long event resulted in continuing coverage, changed perceptions and strong media relationships lasting well past the tour.
Vive La French Tech: Amplifying France’s Tech Story through Social Media
2018 Gold Award for Social Media Campaign (Multiple Platforms)
In addition to amplifying the strength of the French tech industry through media relations, we were also enlisted to tell the story of “La French Tech” through social media.
- Règle #1: No government speak. We counseled our client that social media content needs to be casual, demonstrating thought leadership and producing fresh, conversational content. We used clever language and dropped in relevant emoji to make things feel more personable.
- Règle #2: No old news. Social media moves fast — we recognized the importance of moving with it. We developed a daily news tracker to capture trending content and shared it with our international teams to ensure that La French Tech’s story was served up like a warm baguette — fresh and globally enjoyed.
- Règle #3: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Make that a million on social media. We stressed the importance of making our visuals punchy, not too text-heavy, and true to the vibrant and fun spirit of La French Tech.
- Règle #4: It’s Called “Social” Media — Be Social! We used our social channels to engage with the startups that make up the French Tech ecosystem. An example was our #BonjourEntreprenuer series highlighting one entrepreneur per month, fostering a community where global tech leaders could learn from one another.
- Règle #5: Take it Global. We worked together as a global agency to develop original images and leverage the most popular social media platforms in each region.
- Boosted media relations. John Detrixhe, Future of Finance reporter for Quartz, DM’ed the Twitter account seeking a contact who could speak to France’s FinTech scene — resulting in the coverage below.
- Increased Engagement and Awareness. We tripled our number of Twitter followers in eight months and grew our LinkedIn channel 63 percent.
- Sparked conversations. Our content and engagement on social provoked talk between startups, incubators, VCs and more. The future of La French Tech looks magnifique. .
“Think Silicon Valley. Think Fremont.”
2018 Gold Award for Website Overall/Government
ThinkSiliconValley.com needed a refresh. When it was first launched in 2013, it aimed to establish the association between Fremont and Silicon Valley and emphasize the City’s business proposition — mission accomplished.
Five years later, it needed an update in website design, content and SEO to reflect Fremont’s fast-evolving and can-do/will-do spirit. Our strategy:
- Improve site-navigation. We housed “Think Silicon Valley 2.0” on WordPress, enabling quick updates and intuitive web-building. We also revamped the navigation bar, implementing a large drop-down menu, two site-wide search bars, an easy-to-use site map at the bottom and a toolbox section dedicated to business resources.
- Up–level content. Most government websites are in sorry states, reading more like a digital brochure. We wanted to make the site engaging and conversational. We utilized personalized language and created a modifiable nine-module design to highlight trending and time-sensitive content.
- Visualize. We revamped the site’s look, incorporating more original images and a thought-out color scheme to make the Fremont website stand out on any device.
- Boost SEO. We researched relevant keywords and implemented our findings in both the copy and behind-the-scenes elements to capture traffic effectively. We also ensured the City of Fremont had a consistent NAP across the web.
The updated site went live February 1, 2018. In the first three months, page views increased 100 percent, number of visits increased 52.3 percent, and average time spent on the site increased by 1 minute.
“The Periodic Table for Business Storytelling”
2018 Platinum Award for Microsite
“Storytelling.” One of the most overused and abused words in the English language.
Excerpt from Ian Bogost’s brilliant article at The Atlantic.
Everyone touts its power, but when it comes to business communications, the classic sense of the word — a narrative with a start, a rising conflict and an end — often doesn’t apply.
How can business communications effectively tell “stories” without abusing the form so much that they lose their persuasive power, or conversely using it so little they become boring?
Welcome to the Periodic Table of Business Storytelling.
We researched the storytelling techniques used in fiction and how they can effectively be used in business communications.
We’d like for this table to be used as an industry resource. We understand that there’s room for improvement, but this award recognition and the media hits we’ve landed as a result of its elements suggest we’re on the right track.
Check it out. We welcome your feedback and suggestions at [email protected].