Here’s how one technology company leveraged its Community Outreach Program to raise attention of Internet Parenting/Social networking dangers as a national issue to drive a community call-to-action to make the Internet a safer place for families.
Sunnyvale, California-based Blue Coat Systems (now owned by Symantec Corp.), a technology leader in application delivery networking, sells a corporate Web filter as part of its Secure Web Gateway solution. Blue Coat saw an opportunity to take this technology and develop K9 Web Protection, a free consumer Web filtering product available through the Blue Coat Community Outreach Program as part of its corporate social responsibility programs.
Blue Coat had an overall community goal to provide a “family-safe” Internet. The company sought to establish 1)itself as an Internet safety authority and, 2) increase downloads of its free business-to-consumer (B2C) parental software product, K9 Web Protection, by raising the attention of Internet Parenting/Social networking dangers as a national issue to drive a community call-to-action to make the Internet a safer place for families. Blue Coat’s former VP of Content Control, John Carosella, lead the initiative and was the primary spokesperson.
Plan of Action
To effectively reach co- and single parents, community leaders, education organizations, and law enforcement channels, BuzzPR specifically targeted media relations outreach to regional parenting publications, national women’s magazines, family/parenting blogs, and education organization newsletters by delivering contributed content and strategic pitching around timely online safety issues. BuzzPR aggressively launched a broadcast television and radio grassroots tour in conjunction with speaking appearances, identified award opportunities to elevate the credibility of the K9 Web Protection technology, and launched a blog campaign to engage and encourage the public to discuss and share online safety concerns and experiences.
Positioned as one of the leading authorities on Internet Parenting and online safety, John Carosella was featured in over 15 regional parenting magazines, with three of them picking him up as a regular columnist. Coverage in online resources such as HomeandFamily101.com, online technology and information news sites including CNET.com and About.com, and national exposure in Parade Magazine and Family Circle helped quickly position Carosella as an authority on Internet Parenting and online safety.
Carosella also appeared on numerous television segments and radio shows across the country, participated in online safety panels and delivered presentations at various state PTA conferences and Internet safety conventions, and landed a regular appearance to teach Internet safety classes with Habitat for Humanity Austin. Law enforcement state agencies referenced K9 Web Protection in school presentations, while K9’s Internet Parenting blog achieved daily activity from the community. K9 Web Protection was recognized with The National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval, the iParenting Media Award, and iia Family Friendly Filter. Carosella was also featured in the call-to-action documentary “Traffic Control: The People’s War on Internet Porn” which became another catalyst to raise awareness on Internet dangers.
K9 Web Protection downloads dramatically increased from 50,000 to over 200,000 by the end of the one-year campaign.