The cybersecurity industry is on the cusp of a mass consolidation wave. Legacy security companies are looking to emerging leaders and innovators to bolster their offerings, help maintain relevance and gain further market dominance. This is also the stage—seed and Series A—where funding is flowing now.

We’re seeing AI as a major component of the playbook for these companies. And the question has come up:  how long will we be playing defense before we make the shift to offense? Before we strike back?

There are parallels in this mindset when it comes to successful marketing and communications strategies. The art is knowing how to strike best.

RSAC highlights that AI alone isn’t a unique selling point

Every company in the technology and cybersecurity space says they have some kind of play with artificial intelligence, whether they do or not. This trend, dubbed “AI washing,” is destined to go down the same path as “green” and “eco” a few years ago. Once a deciding factor in purchase decisions, the terms are now essentially meaningless.

Nearly a dozen major companies, along with more than 50 startups, announced AI-powered cybersecurity products during this year’s RSA Conference. As seemingly everyone jumps on the AI bandwagon, companies that do not have a play with AI in their solutions are going to die on the vine. AI, just like sustainability, isn’t a unique selling point anymore; it’s a necessity.

During RSA Conference, Jeetu Patel, EVP and GM of security and collaboration at Cisco, nailed the context of where companies are heading.

“We are at an inflection point right now,” he said. “Every company is rethinking how they are going to use AI. And every vendor is talking about it. And you can’t really blame them, because if you really think about the sophistication of security attacks, it no longer can be handled at human scale.”

If AI is something everyone is talking about and everyone is implementing, the challenge then becomes how to break through the noise and competing themes. Yet, no company can score a win relying only on product messaging and reactive media .

PR offense strategies

The common story is that Company B does AI better or differently than Company A, but breaking through the noise is not just about specific technologies. Sanjay Poonen, president and CEO of Cohesity, made a comment during the RSA Conference that summed up the strategy perfectly.

There is so much AI washing that Cohesity is now focusing its communications and marketing efforts on identifying specific use cases where people can see the benefits, he said.

Successful offensive strategies shift to promote thought leaders and the whole company package. Organizations that are able to provide commentary on trends, offer new perspectives, harness data, and even be a little controversial will win media mindshare.

The art of deep context for cybersecurity PR

To drive credibility across your leadership team and your company, you must be prepared to go a level deeper with reporters than your competition will.

Make sure your spokesperson has the expertise, is well-read, and can give up-to-date and relevant statistics when they’re providing a narrative.

High-quality content is the foundation and content creation, especially if you’re leaning into paid, is also crucial to the investment. Build a marketing and communications team with an on-demand content expert who understands the institutional knowledge of your organization, your industry and your services.

The new rules of engagement to score more coverage

Companies that get results are reimagining the rules of engagement, and they are working with PR partners that know how and when to strike to break through the noise at RSAC and in the marketplace year-round.

Just as the cybersecurity landscape has evolved, so has PR. It’s not just earned media. It’s paid media and content creation. At the end of the day, people still want coverage.

Your technology gives you credibility and relevancy in the market, but it doesn’t drive coverage. You have to go beyond product solutions. Companies that get noticed harness their news, expertise, relationships, and original survey or research data.”


RH Strategic works with some of the biggest names in cybersecurity who are challenging the conventions of security and setting a new vision for a safer, more secure world—and we make sure the world knows it. Learn more.