informa
Commentary

'Brand' Your Employees

You might want your product to be in the news every day, and for your PR to create miracles for you. But if you want attention, then your company must speak out on big security issues and news.
You might want your product to be in the news every day, and for your PR to create miracles for you. But if you want attention, then your company must speak out on big security issues and news.This is the fourth in my series of posts on security PR (see "We Have Nothing To Say -- Or Do We?", "How To Talk To Reporters", "How To Disclose A Vulnerability," and "The Secret Sauce For Security Blogging").

While you should speak on issues in the news, remember that for every news item out there, several dozen companies are trying to push their own people to get coverage from the press.

That brings is to an understanding that in the modern world, PR means getting your name out there by a mention. And speaking on issues shows your company to be experts on the subject matter.

It also follows that the more you are in the press, the more coverage you get (obviously) and the more you are considered an expert (regardless of if you really are one as we can often see when we read the news).

As we discussed in earlier articles in this series of stories on PR in the security field, reporters like talking to techies -- people who actually know what they are talking about, and they like getting the feel for actual data backing up claims.

As we discussed when we spoke of how to make the correct use of a blog for PR purposes, you should encourage your employees to talk to the press. This may not be easy in a large company, but if you are agile enough or in a startup, this shouldn't be a problem.

Techies already write the blogs, so just work with them on what's appropriate to say and how, and then they can speak to reporters more easily. The more they get quoted in the press, the more people from your organization become visible, and the more your organization becomes visible.

Your employees become more famous in their fields, draw attention to your products, draw reporters to them as the reporters will know they are the real deal, and while you build their brand, they up yours.

Some organizations may be worried about employees getting famous and becoming more expensive, or being located by bounty hunters or making them more vulnerable corporate espionage. These are legitimate worries.

Not all of your employees will become famous, but they will feel they are getting more out of working for you then just the pay. Aside to being more excited about what they do, talking about it with other employees who will also want to succeed and being coached on bettering themselves, they will publicly be associated with your company.

Some will become famous, and that's okay. As a result, some may move on, but they're likely to tell others what a good experience it has been to work for you. That kind of reputation is priceless.

But when it comes down to it, it is your calculation and decision on if, how, and when to advance each employee.

Bounty hunters would find your employees anyway, but you should certainly keep a close eye on what information you do release to the world for reasons of corporate espionage.

Bottom line: this approach may not be for you, and you may see the cons as much bigger than the pros I present. But remember, you don't need to do this with every employee. If you choose to build the brand of at least some of your employees, your brand will grow as well.

Follow Gadi Evron on Twitter: http://twitter.com/gadievron.

Gadi Evron is an independent security strategist based in Israel. Special to Dark Reading.

Recommended Reading: