2019 Mid-Atlantic Your Honor Award, Communications: Hellerman Communications

When the leadership at Jones Walker LLP expressed interest in launching a cybersecurity practice, the team at Hellerman Communications knew they had to be creative to help their client stand out in an already saturated market.

With that in mind, Hellerman’s professionals suggested linking Jones Walker’s nascent cyber group with their well-respected and renowned maritime practice.

Hellerman’s project leaders pitched the idea of a potential survey of senior maritime leaders to evaluate the state of data privacy in the industry. Meanwhile, the firm dedicated its resources to the survey, developing a comprehensive PR plan to promote the findings, pushing risk and the industry’s overall unpreparedness as the main news hook, and marketing the firm’s data privacy team and maritime practice group to relevant audiences.

“Between Hellerman and Jones Walker's internal public relations and marketing professionals, we have a well-oiled PR machine,” said John Hellerman, President and Founder of Hellerman, “The key to our success, with this project in particular, is that we were in constant communication. From the get-go, we outlined the survey goals, developed a strategy, and implemented that strategy together by hopping on calls and providing frequent updates.”

The final plan ended up including a whitepaper with approved quotes from key industry sources, a corresponding Q&A, eye-catching graphics, speaking opportunities to announce the survey results, embargoed offers, courtesy client notifications and alerts, press release distribution, social media promotion, and media outreach.

The 10-month process culminated with the release of survey findings on October 24, 2018 and the maritime industry immediately took notice. The team secured 20+ media placements, bylined articles, and features in top business trades, 175 press release pick-ups with a total audience of more than 82 million, and hundreds of impressions on social media. The Jones Walker survey ultimately became a top Google news hit in the months of October and November 2018 for the general “maritime cybersecurity” search.

“With the support of the Hellerman team, we were able to obtain very targeted and impressive media attention in this niche industry for our Privacy & Data Security group,” said Mary Margaret Gorman, Director of Public Relations and Communications at Jones Walker. “We still have reporters, clients, and contacts in the maritime industry today (almost a year later) asking for an update on our findings.”

“We couldn't be happier with the results. But more generally, every professional services firm is competing to get their voices heard,” John Hellerman said. “To cut through the clutter, it's essential firms identify what truly makes them unique and play to those strengths."

By Rebecca Edwards, Marketing and Business Development Manager, Williams Mullen

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