From a Search Tools Provider to a Big-Data Innovator


Paul Doscher, LucidWorks’ CEO, welcoming attendees before the keynote at Lucene/Solr Revolution, where LucidWorks hosted the largest gathering of open source search enthusiasts in the world.

Paul Doscher, LucidWorks’ CEO, welcoming attendees before the keynote at Lucene/Solr Revolution, where LucidWorks hosted the largest gathering of open source search enthusiasts in the world.

Software and services firm LucidWorks was well known in its niche market—providing information technology (IT) tools and consulting to help enterprises develop and use search technology. But its new executive leadership saw a larger opportunity to promote its search technology as a solution to the challenge many companies face today: an overload of data–or Big Data, as the market has come to describe the phenomenon.

Big Data is driven by the sheer amount of unstructured information found in organizations’ email repositories, customer transactions, audio files, text messages, Web applications and more. LucidWorks’ software and services is designed to help organizations find insights and competitive advantage within that data, and LucidWorks wanted to enhance that position.

THE PIVOT

PR agency Eastwick was asked to help guide the new messaging.

The challenge: getting a wider swath of businesses to expand their ideas about search technology and its benefits to the Big Data challenge, thus “pivoting” LucidWorks from a niche player to an enterprise IT provider.

To get there, it was essential to educate the industry on the relevance—and use—of search in Big Data.

There was a need to shift perceptions of LucidWorks’ value from that of a niche tools provider to one that solves business problems and enables competitive advantage. How would this happen?

The solution: With messaging that clearly explains search and the business impact it enables with Big Data, as well as on other IT challenges enterprises face. The aim was to direct lucrative business deals back to LucidWorks (and outdistance competitors vying for share of the Big Data market) by putting the spotlight on LucidWorks’ experts and technology.

In addition, the messaging would secure third-party validation from customers, partners and analyst groups.

TEAM FOCUS

With a $15,000 per month budget, the team worked closely with marketing and engineering executives to refresh company messages and market positioning to properly explain the nuanced benefits of search as a way to glean insights from all the unstructured data that’s sitting, untapped, in today’s companies.

With that foundation firmly in place, the team was primed to take part in fresh industry conversations.

They focused on working with a small subset of influential voices in tech press and analyst community and also concentrated on publicizing a handful of reputable company experts at high-impact industry events.

They also tied a small but consistent set of clear messages to topical industry trends to ensure message repetition.

As expected, securing customers who could go on record with press was a challenge. The team put customers in touch with analysts under a non-disclosure agreement; in turn, the analysts became strong third-party resources.

The team also put a spotlight on the brand-name companies who spoke at a major industry conference hosted by LucidWorks, the largest gathering of open-source search enthusiasts in the world.

(LucidWorks’ search technology is based on open source code; open source is code that is freely available for use by the general public.)

This way, reporters and industry watchers were given a glimpse into the caliber of companies working with LucidWorks and the innovative projects that LucidWorks makes possible.

The results speak for themselves: LucidWorks’ visibility and preference bolstered to support 85% revenue growth.

Efforts more than doubled share of voice, quadrupled Twitter conversations and led to more than 150 on-message articles in only nine months.

Share of voice graphs, showing LucidWorks’ growth—from 19% to 33%—in news, blogs, forums and social media throughout two quarters.

Share of voice graphs, showing LucidWorks’ growth—from 19% to 33%—in news, blogs, forums and social media throughout two quarters.

A SHIFT IN PERCEPTION

The shift in perception is evident in company descriptors. The year prior, LucidWorks’ product portfolio was often described by industry watchers as a toolset applicable to very specific open source search projects; topics that were only understood by a select group of trained individuals.

For instance, the company was described in FierceContentManagement as: “...the company that put the weight of a commercial organization behind the open source search tools Apache and Lucene.”

After the repositioning effort, the company was aligned with issues broadly concerned with data-driven applications and business value, which were understood by a larger group of executives.

logosFor example, SiliconANGLE ran the headline “LucidWorks Changes Name, But Remains Focused on Data-Centric Applications.” Forbes wrote, “LucidWorks may represent a new wave of change, using search—the first ‘killer app’ of the Web—to unlock the value of enterprises’ much expanded big data stores and overflowing organizational memories.”

And ITBusinessEdge wrote that LucidWorks “breathes programmable life into Big Data.”

The changes drove visibility for the company’s Big Data product beta launch, attracting sign-ups and increasing new customer wins, which in turn activated the sales pipeline and won several new clients for the new Big Data product.

After extensive interviews with press and other third parties, LucidWorks’ CEO told an influential industry analyst that LucidWorks’ communications success may have helped raise visibility for the entire search sector. PRN

(This article, an excerpt from PR News Top Case Studies in PR, Vol. 6, was written by Sarah Voros, a senior associate at Eastwick. For a copy of the guidebook, please go to www.prnewsonline.com/pr-press/.)

Knowing Your Culture First Step for Rebranding

Sarah Voros

Sarah Voros

As a company, knowing who you are is the first step in getting others to understand your value proposition. Positioning, messaging and category mapping deliver the tools needed to show who you are and why you matter to the people who will help your business succeed. By combining industry perspective and audience-focused insights, you will articulate a reputable point of view and relevance so new sets of people understand you—and then share your story with others. Remember—telling just a slightly different story with relevance, urgency and expertise can shift momentum and business results.

Eastwick was asked to help create new messaging and help reposition LucidWorks in the marketplace by shining a light on the technology company’s innovation in Big Data. Here are some lessons learned from the campaign:

Integrate with marketing and leadership teams early to understand company goals and build the communications foundation that will help you reach them.

Satisfy your intellectual curiosity. You have the opportunity to learn from company executives who are domain experts. Enthusiastically share that knowledge with others.

Think small for big impact. Build a small army of spokespeople armed with a small set of key messages, and build relationships with a small set of influential third parties. Their reputations lend big credibility and reach. —S.V.

“There was a need to shift perceptions of LucidWorks’ value from that of a niche, tools provider to one that solves business problems and enables competitive advantage.”

CONTACT:

Sarah Voros, sarah@eastwick.com.


This article originally appeared in the April 7, 2014 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.




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