One of my favorite clients likes to say, “A successful business is a story told well,” and the only thing better than a well-told business story is a story featuring one of its customers.

Needless to say, this kind of endorsement is valuable in both PR and lead generation.

One of the most challenging aspects of PR storytelling is getting a client’s customer to discuss why it has chosen the products or services of said client and why that client is an amazing and valuable partner. While we are able to create compelling and newsworthy stories around our clients’ expertise and perspectives on the news of the day, we often find obstacles, and even some resistance, to engaging their customers in PR activities.

Navigate the Customer Challenge

Clients are rightfully protective of their customers. They don’t want to risk damaging their business relationships by putting them in an awkward position. Or they may be concerned of competitors gaining an advantage. In some cases, clients just don’t know how to ask “a favor” of a valued customer.

At RH Strategic, we provide strategic counsel to our clients to help them navigate this challenging territory. We help them leverage the power of their customers’ messages in a way that is respectful of the customer relationship and their customers’ time. But the number one way we are able to secure customer participation in PR is by demonstrating a tangible value to their business.

Haystax Super Bowl Success

We recently accomplished this with our client, Haystax Technology, a provider of security analytics for federal agencies, public safety agencies and businesses. We knew that Haystax was working with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate and manage the security for one of the biggest sporting events in the world: The Super Bowl.

We were tasked with figuring out how to take advantage of this highly visible event while positioning Haystax as the security analytics solutions provider at the center of securing Super Bowl 50. The problem was figuring out how get Haystax’s law enforcement and intelligence customers to participate in our PR efforts without compromising the security of an entire week of Super Bowl events.

We engaged Haystax early on, working to understand how the technology would be implemented and how customers would be using it. With Haystax’s permission, we opened up direct lines of communication with a customer managing the security operations center in the Bay Area. Through this process, we were able to develop a story the customer was comfortable with and that was compelling to the media.

Results that Matter

Ultimately, what sealed the customer’s participation was the quality of opportunities we uncovered including interviews with NPR, Bloomberg, NBC News, CNET and many others. While Haystax maintained a positive relationship with its customer by providing superior products and services, their customer was willing to break away from the pressure of securing the Super Bowl in order to champion their own efforts and security expertise.

As my client says, “A successful business is a story told well.” I say, “It’s even better when it’s told by a customer.”

Have some tips of your own? Let us know!

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RH Strategic is a Seattle and D.C.-based communications firm providing strategic public relations for innovators in the technology, public sector and healthcare markets.