The antivirus industry is dominated by the “Big Three” (Symantec, McAfee and Trend Micro) with the remaining market share divided up by literally dozens of smaller vendors hailing from every corner of the globe. One of them is Panda Security of Madrid, Spain, the leading independent anti-malware company in Europe. Panda is Spain’s largest, most successful software company, yet the brand is relatively unknown in the U.S. When Panda informed Bateman Group of the upcoming beta launch of the industry’s first free cloud-based antivirus solution of ― Panda Cloud Antivirus ― it was clear this could represent an opportunity for Panda to leapfrog the competition and create sustainable brand awareness in the U.S. for the first time.
To introduce the product successfully, it was clear the launch needed to go far beyond just media relations. This required integrated social media strategy and innovative content creation to reach Panda's goals and definitively position the company as “the Cloud Security Company” globally.
To drive awareness of the free download in mainstream channels as well as attain support from influential early technology adopters, the Bateman Group implemented a truly integrated PR and social media marketing strategy:
1) Secure embargoed pre-briefings with a broad range of security, cloud computing, freeware and technology media. This included mainstream national newspaper reporters, trade journalists, bloggers, and analysts.
2) Ensure availability of the free product on highly trafficked third-party download sites, which would be crucial to achieving Panda’s benchmarks.
3) Develop an integrated online communications plan to achieve maximum penetration through social online channels following the formal announcement. This included:
- Identify and engage with top security and technology forum moderators and their members
- Launch a Cloud Antivirus Twitter handle, monitor Twitter discussions in real-time and coordinate response
- Create a blog dedicated to the beta product and advise the product manager on content
- Create a Facebook Fan Page for Cloud Antivirus so fans could support the product and notify their own networks in turn
4) Produce two videos for Panda to create awareness online as well as connect with Cloud Antivirus' key demographic of 20- 30 year-old tech-savvy men, including a comical “man-on-the-street” video as well as an “In Black and White” style video that explained Cloud Antivirus in layman’s terms. These videos were promoted through Twitter, technology and security forums, as well Cloud Antivirus’ Web site and blog. The Bateman Group also managed the distribution of these videos on the most relevant online video aggregator sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo.
Within the first 24 hours of launching, the team had secured 30 interviews for Cloud Antivirus resulting in 213 feature articles, 7,803 blog mentions, 27,800 Google links and 930 Twitter mentions. Cloud Antivirus was also downloaded 200,000 times on the day of launch alone, greatly surpassing Panda’s expectations and serving as huge validation to a job well done. Launch-day coverage included: CNET, InformationWeek, Lifehacker, PC Magazine, ZDNet, GigaOm and a feature story in USA Today, with coverage continuing to pour in during the days and weeks that followed.
Panda’s “In Black and White” video was received warmly by both new and long-time Panda customers alike and posted impressive numbers on YouTube. Perhaps the most poignant metric of success was when PC World selected Cloud Antivirus to be in its Security & Privacy CD-ROM as one of the elite new software distributed to PC World's half million plus readership of tech-enthusiasts.
The icing on the cake was the fact Panda Cloud Antivirus beat Microsoft to market, forcing the guys in Redmond to launch their own free cloud-based antivirus product ahead of schedule. Panda Security is referenced throughout the launch coverage of Microsoft Security Essentials for being first to market with a free cloud-based antivirus offering and frequently listed along with Symantec and McAfee as market making companies in the sector.