Lumina Case Study: SALTSTACK
SaltStack, acquired by VMware, develops award-winning software used by IT and security operations teams to help modern businesses more efficiently secure and maintain all aspects of their digital infrastructure. Based on the widely deployed Salt Open Source automation platform created and commercialized by co-founders Thomas Hatch and Marc Chenn, SaltStack provides solutions for intelligent, event-driven automation to provide control of complex business systems at any scale.
SaltStack enables enterprise IT organizations to orchestrate and automate difficult IT tasks with speed and flexibility to ultimately deliver continuous security, compliance, and vulnerability remediation to manage and secure digital business operations.
Although the Salt Open Source project is one of the most widely deployed automation and configuration management platforms in use today, SaltStack, the commercial entity formed around the Salt project, faced a number of headwinds from established competitors in the configuration management and IT automation market. Additionally, while the company had experienced initial commercial success for its enterprise IT automation solution, SaltStack Enterprise, it was preparing to launch a new solution for security automation, SaltStack SecOps, that represented a departure from its IT and network operations roots.
SaltStack’s challenge was multifold – the company had limited media recognition in both cybersecurity and IT press and it needed to increase share of voice in contrast to its competitors to amplify brand awareness for the company. SaltStack’s goals were to increase media recognition and share of voice to drive sales for its enterprise IT automation and security automation platforms in addition to attracting attention from potential investors and acquirers.
The Lumina Communications program consisted of a proactive media relations effort centered around IT infrastructure and cybersecurity trends as well as security product reviews and other product-centric media in conjunction with major industry events, including RSA and Black Hat. Lumina Communications supplemented this proactive media program with aggressive rapid response efforts to keep the company and its key executives in the news cycle on a consistent basis by capitalizing on breaking cybersecurity and IT infrastructure-related news.
Additionally, Lumina helped SaltStack create a steady drumbeat of news and announcements to highlight company events, like SaltConf, product news, including major platform and Open Source project launches, and original research efforts to further highlight the company’s thought leadership tied to industry trends such as ITOps, DevOps, NetOps and SecOps adoption. Lumina Communications also supported ongoing analyst relations and social engagement efforts associated with the SaltStack news program to engage key influencers.
To drive further executive visibility, Lumina Communications developed a pipeline of contributed content and bylines for publications, including Forbes, The New Stack, and other top tier industry publications, that featured a range of thought leadership topics that addressed business issues related to ITOps and cybersecurity, the impact of global events on IT infrastructure, and the importance of automation in the convergence of IT disciplines. In conjunction with original research commissioned by SaltStack and designed in collaboration with Lumina Communications, this thought leadership platform helped SaltStack establish complete domain expertise around the concept of XOps, a term coined to describe the convergence and operationalization of IT roles, which became critical to the company’s brand identity.
Lumina Communications also supported a substantial pipeline of award and event opportunities to further drive company awareness and validate the innovation behind SaltStack’s newly launched SecOps automation solution. These award wins served as the foundation for accelerated sales efforts and helped showcase SaltStack’s solutions in front of major buying audiences.
To amplify SaltStack’s newly created media attention, extend brand visibility, and further engage with the Salt community and industry influencers, Lumina Communications delivered a full-featured social media program focused on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The social program also established a creative brand voice for the company that strategically leveraged pop-culture references in its social posts to create affinity among its social communities. The program was extremely successful, growing SaltStack’s audiences across platforms.
Lumina Communications secured more than 350 media placements in a year for SaltStack, culminating with the company’s acquisition by VMware in 2020. When the program launched, one of SaltStack’s stretch goals was acquisition within 12-18 months. With Lumina’s guidance and support, the company achieved this goal within 12 months of starting its program. Along the way, the Lumina team drove many major successes in addition to all of SaltStack’s top-tier business, technology and trade media results. This includes strategic award wins, such as the SC Award for Best Risk/Policy Management Solution at RSAC 2020 and Cutting Edge InfoSec Startup of the Year by Cyber Defense Magazine, as well as recognition as Hottest new cybersecurity products at RSA Conference 2020 by CSO Magazine and 5 hot network-automation startups to watch by NetworkWorld.
Through the Lumina Communications program, SlatStack achieved frequent and consistent media coverage on a range of topics, but centrally focused on ITOps, infrastructure and network automation; DevOps and software development; and security automation and cybersecurity trends. These efforts resulted in placements that spanned key business, technology, and trade press, including Forbes, Fast Company, The Guardian, The Street, TechRepublic, The Register, ZDNet, The New Stack, TechTarget, InformationWeek, Dark Reading, SC Magazine, Data Center Knowledge, CSO Magazine, NetworkWorld, Container Journal, DevOps.com, SiliconANGLE, and SDxCentral, among many others.
The Lumina program also delivered substantial social media growth, increasing followers across channels – LinkedIn by more than 1000, Facebook by more than 500, and Twitter by more than 300 – in roughly 10 months.