Look Alive People, Look Alive

On the show floor of Internet Retailer Conference 2016

It’s that time of year again when all the brightest minds in e-commerce and retail come together for the annual Internet Retailer Conference in Chicago. We’ve seen the show grow tremendously over the years and, as expected, this year was even bigger and better than the last.

We spent a day walking the show floor of the exhibitor hall to get a pulse on the latest trends in e-commerce and the activity happening behind the scenes. In the process, we noticed a few trends that we thought would be helpful to share for exhibitors on trade show dos and don’ts. Here are a few takeaways that topped our list of observations:


  • Spend money on booth design and décor: You are spending significant resources, including money, talent and time, to exhibit at a conference so make sure to milk it for all it’s worth. At IRCE, there were dozens of booths with lackluster signage, minimal staff and dreary backdrops and color schemes. It’s surprising considering that something as simple as using bright colors can catch one’s attention and compel a stop by, not just a walk by. Be serious about exhibiting. If you are investing tens of thousands of dollars going to a tradeshow, have an inventive and effective booth so the right people can find you.
  • Free food and drinks will never be passé: Who can say no to free food and drinks, especially after being on your feet for hours on end? One company this year offered Bloody Mary’s and they were the hit of the show. In fact, we found ourselves on a goose chase in search of the satiating cocktail. It might be the oldest trick in the book but this type of incentive is always sure to lure prospects to your booth. Another company, Meridian, offered truffles in a mock Tiffany’s blue box as a thank you for stopping by.

Truffles in a mock Tiffany’s blue box

  • Invest in trade show messaging and training: As communication professionals, we were surprised at how many sales people could not simply articulate what their company did or how it’s unique from competitors. Remember, that if you use industry jargon, your prospects may be quick to look for an emergency exit. Prospects want to know in a simple way how they can benefit from your product or service. Make sure you make the most of your tradeshow experience and go the extra mile to properly train your spokespeople so they can seal the deal.


  • No Catnaps Allowed: We get it. Tradeshows are exhausting, but boy did we pass a lot of tired looking folks. Just like having a beautiful booth attracts prospects, so does a big smile on your sales reps’ faces. You might not get concerned when you don’t see a prospect that’s a high- value target, but you never know when someone is scouting your company from afar.
  • Don’t push marketing flyers: Marketing flyers are out, or they should be.  Several times, sales reps referred us to their brochures when we asked a question they couldn’t answer. But prospects are there to learn face-to-face what makes your company stand out. If they wanted to look at your marketing sell sheet, they could do so just as easily from the comfort of their office. Ditch the marketing flyers and sell sheets altogether—focus on making a personal connection.
  • If your messaging doesn’t stand out, you need something more. While on the hunt for stand out companies, we started to notice that everyone’s messaging was one and the same. Do something more to stand out from the pack whether it be a unique booth display or a marketing gimmick. Selfies or Magicians anyone?

What other trade show do’s and don’ts come to mind from your experiences? Share your story!

Nikki Plati and Carolyn Adams pose for photobooth pictures

Nikki Plati and Carolyn Adams pose at the Pitney Bowes photobooth

Special thanks to Carolyn Adams for contributing to this piece

Highwire Hackers at RSA 2016: Insights from the Floor

Highwire recently surveyed RSA 2016 attendees to get the scoop on the biggest issues facing cyber security today. Check out our findings and infographic highlighting key trends below. 

Earlier this month, cybersecurity experts, journalists and Highwire’s dynamic roster of security clients gathered in San Francisco for the year’s largest cybersecurity conference, RSA 2016. The conference floor was buzzing with talk of the latest security products, breaches and partnerships, conversations around machine learning, connected cars, artificial intelligence, and much more – but the hottest topic of debate? The Apple vs. FBI encryption debate and whether security companies should – or shouldn’t – work with the government.

Highwire’s security team was on-site, surveying over 100 attendees. Here’s what we learned:

Early-Stage Startups: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em

Both the public and private security markets remain in flux as stocks continue to dive and private companies begin considering other options as they postpone IPOs. As Reuters recently reported, 2016 has been off to a slow start for tech IPOs and startups are facing a bit of a funding drought, forcing many to cut back on spending or start thinking about exit strategies.

Cybersecurity pros expect this trend to continue – 34 percent of respondents claimed today’s market is making it harder for companies to go public. However, 42 percent of RSA attendees expect the slow market to lead to increased M&A activity. With IPO out of the picture (for now), late-stage startups may be forced to recognize other options, and it may be more difficult for early-stage startups to get seed and Series A financing.

Emerging Threat Vector: Reckless Employees

The skills shortage in the cybersecurity industry was also a trending topic at RSA this year. The lack of qualified professionals has created an entirely different type of security vulnerability: understaffed and overtaxed security teams. As a result, some IT teams may be deprioritizing security training, leaving employees unaware of certain security protocols, thus putting the larger organization at risk.

According to the survey, 25 percent of respondents named careless employees as the biggest threat to their organizations’ security. While often not malicious, careless employees who don’t follow security policies – either because they haven’t been trained properly, or because they choose to circumvent them – can be an unexpected, but costly, threat to an organization’s overall security posture.

Security Pros Just Want Everybody to Get Along

The Apple vs. FBI encryption debate was the hottest topic at RSA this year (37 percent of respondents listed it as the most top-of-mind topic) and many conference sessions featured perspectives from both parties. While Apple and the FBI battle it out in court, a majority (67 percent) of respondents on the show floor reported wanting public and private companies to work collaboratively with the U.S. government.

Buzz Off, Next-Generation Security Product

If there’s one thing Silicon Valley has in abundance, it’s buzzwords. We discussed this quite a bit with the security reporters in attendance – not every product can be “disruptive” or a “game-changer.” Looks like it’s time for security communications teams to hit the thesaurus, as over half (57 percent) of respondents listed “next-generation” as their most-hated buzzword.

See our full results below, and we’ll see you next at Black Hat 2016!

HWPR_RSA_infographic_R4-01 (1)

Special thanks to Chicago Account Associate Brenna Hogan for her help as co-author. Brenna has experience working with a diverse roster of clients in mobile app security and managed security services. Prior to joining Highwire, Brenna graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. 

RSA Preview: In 2016, Security Policy is Front & Center

Next week, much of the security industry will again converge in Highwire PR’s hometown of San Francisco for the 2016 RSA Conference. With our security practice constantly adding new clients and welcoming new faces, RSA is an exciting time for all of us.

11159457_10152768333602116_1266236881653969431_nLast year, security entered national consciousness on a new level. This year, it has entered the stratosphere, with debates such as the need for consumer privacy versus national security reaching a fever pitch due to the role encryption has played in high profile cases like the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. The convergence among the worlds of lawmaking, politics and cybersecurity is reflected in two of the biggest names on this year’s agenda, keynote speakers Attorney General Loretta Lynch and White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel.

With five full days of programming, here’s a sample of key themes, important sessions and other things to anticipate at this year’s conference, courtesy of a few folks in our security practice:

  • Bill Bode, Account Director, San Francisco: The talk I am looking forward to most is the keynote, from United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Why? In the wake of Apple’s move to publicly defy the FBI by refusing to allow backdoor entry into a cell phone involved in a major investigation, US cyber policy will be at the forefront of conversation, a topic Lynch will surely address. The Attorney General’s talk should stimulate a thoughtful (and possibly heated) discussion highlighting the differing opinions between what the government and Silicon Valley thinks could be the future of fighting cyber crime- or a dangerous new precedent.
  • Lindsay Bubbico Ciulla, Account Director, New York: I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of a panel discussion on “Roles of Industry and Government in Cyber-Incident Responses.” Given the election year and the increasing role of security in our everyday lives, I think it’ll be especially interesting to hear from the panel on the role of government and industry during a major security event.
  • 10444656_10152768332977116_647562636317943578_nMegan Grasty, Senior Account Executive, San Francisco: I’m amazed at the continued implications surrounding our connected world. Also at the lack of understanding around the need for security in everything that is connected to the Internetfrom smart toys to planes to cars. I’m looking forward to attending “Our Brave New Connected World: Is it Already Too Late?” to hear experts discuss the security challenges associated with the connected world.

And, of course, we’re excited to see the epic parties and stunts that punctuate the show!

Beyond our Natoma Cabana San Francisco 03party on Tuesday night, we wouldn’t miss vArmour’s Monday night punk rock throw down, ForeScout’s Wednesday night bash featuring one of the world’s Top 5 DJs, Trusona’s VIP launch party at Mourad or Veracode’s annual gathering at Ruby Skye. What are you most excited to see? Share your hot topics and party tips in the comments below. See you there!

5 Tips for Surviving CES (Or Any Tradeshow or Conference)

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) takes place each year in Las Vegas immediately following the Times Square ball drop. (All right–it’s several days later but feels sooner.) It kicks off the new year and heralds the beginning of the busy tradeshow and conference season. CES brings together 170,000 global consumer electronics industry insiders – not only companies but also retailers, distributors, manufacturers, service providers, buyers, suppliers and shippers. Even the U.S. Postal Service was there, offering a giant Tetris video competition to attendees.

CES 2016 showcased  many cool new products ranging from autonomous cars to virtual reality goggles to robot pals and  coding caterpillars. But I’m not going to highlight these when many of my favorite news outlets do it much more succinctly (see here, here and here but come back here after!).

Instead, I’m offering a survival guide to what we public relations professionals like to refer to as our Super Bowl, if the Super Bowl lasted for a week and had terrible Wi-Fi. CES is full of high highs, low lows, long days/nights and gratuitous eating and drinking. How am I qualified to give you these tips, you might ask? Well, I’ve just survived another CES and have multiple other tradeshows under my belt to draw from. So, read on!

CES Survival Guide Tip #1: Pack (stylish) sneakers

CES is spread over two convention centers and countless hotels along Vegas’ famous strip. Exhibit space covers 2.2 MILLION SQUARE MILES and if you’re on the hunt for press contacts or edible food, comfortable shoes are your greatest ally. This year, I walked an average of 5 miles a day, which was great for my fitness but not for my feet.

Most tradeshows’ hours extend far beyond the showfloor times, so you’ll need footwear that lasts longer than your iPhone battery, which brings me to my next tip…


Wear what you need to wear to stay comfortable.

CES Survival Guide Tip #2: Bring USB battery packs

You know that sinking feeling you get when your battery percentage dips into the red zone and you’re simultaneously texting a client, calling a reporter and flagging down a cameraman? Ain’t nobody got time for low juice, so get savvy by packing USB battery packs. Charge them as often as possible back in your hotel room, stick a few in your bag and save your anxiety for ensuring your client hits all his talking points.


Avoid this terrifying possibility. (Image: Gizmodo)

CES Survival Guide Tip #3: Give yourself at least 30-to-60 minutes as a travel buffer

Don’t let Google Maps fool you into thinking that the Sands Convention Center is a short 10-minute walk from The Mirage hotel. Vegas was designed to confuse its denizens. You get from Point A to Point B by winding through The Venetian’s blinging slot machines, ritzy Grand Canal Shoppes, jumping over said “canal,” passing three Cookie Monsters and two Elmos and asking three hostesses, “How do I get out of here?!”

Also don’t believe that the Las Vegas Convention Center is a 15-minute drive from anywhere. Traffic is terrible and it will take you at least twice as long. Try to take the shuttle, the monorail or your own two feet everywhere and give yourself a solid travel buffer.


Always expect back-to-back traffic

CES Survival Guide Tip #4: Hydrate!

Obvious, right? Well, when you’re juggling multiple clients, tracking down reporters, managing interviews, scanning for coverage, handling booth conversations and then networking at Lavo (highly recommended, by the way), you sometimes forget to drink water. This is a mistake. Vegas is an unforgiving desert and she will punish you for not taking the time to hydrate.

This is my MOST SECRET TIP, and I’m giving it up because CES makes you do crazy things: ask your hotel for a humidifier when you check in. It’s free and it will save your nose, throat, skin, you name it.

This guy has the right idea!

This guy has the right idea!

CES Survival Guide Tip #5: Don’t wear black cocktail dresses

This is for the ladies. Regardless how cute that black dress is, don’t wear it. You will be mistaken for a hostess and asked to fetch a drink order when you’re trying to schmooze.


This dress is cute, but try it in a different color from black.

In all seriousness, I really enjoy CES. It’s a tremendously fascinating and fruitful event and an important place for consumer companies to launch new concepts and products, meet face-to-face with top-tier press and kick off the new year.  I’m proud of the work that Highwire PR has done at CES and other conferences (like HIMSS–which is in Vegas this year!–and RSA) in the past few years and look forward to preparing for 2017, which will start around…June.

Happy tradeshowing!

Do you have any CES or tradeshow survival tips to share? Put them in the comments or share with us on social!

Making a Social Media Splash at a Conference (When You’re Not the One Attending)

CalebAs we kickoff 2016, many of our clients here at Highwire are already thinking about the major industry events of the year. Our consumer teams have just finished up an exciting Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the digital health practice is preparing for Healthcare and Information Management Society conference (HIMSS) and the security practice is already starting preparations for about the biggest security conference of the year—RSA.

With social media now such an integral part of the corporate identity, it has become an increasingly important tool for making an impact at a trade conference. However, often times those running these social channels aren’t actually ATTENDING the show.

So, how can you make a social splash at a conference when you aren’t physically present?

Before the conference

Do your research

Before anyone steps foot on the conference floor, there is a good amount of groundwork to be done ahead of time to ensure on-site time is well spent. For instance, as the social media manager, your first responsibility is to identify any hashtags that are tied to the show. If you are attending RSA, you’ll want to know which hashtag will be the most popular—will it be #RSA2016 #RSAConf or #2016RSA? Are different target audiences using a particular  one? Make sure you keep an eye out for any shifts  in hashtag usage throughout the show. To do this, there are great social media tools like Hashtagify that can help you monitor for what is trending.

In order to make the show a success, you’ll also need ambassadors on the ground feeding you information and images. Find out which of your team members will be on the conference floor and who will be attending which sessions and connect with them ahead of time. Ask that they send you content throughout the conference—photos, videos, interesting conversation topics—that will help you stay in the conversation although you aren’t physically there. Be sure you have their direct contact information, and give them yours! Remember that these team members are likely busy running around the expo floor, so don’t be afraid to remind them to send you content throughout the event.

If your team is looking to connect with media who are attending the conference, you’ll want to investigate who will be there before the conference starts. Additionally, be sure to follow them on Twitter and other relevant social channels. This will make it easier for you to monitor Twitter and other feeds to see if a reporter is focusing on an area of mutual interest, attending one of your talks, or is looking for commentary from vendors.

Tease out your participation

Make sure you let your followers know that you plan to be at the show, and let them know where they can find you. Share your booth number and the dates and times of any talks your executives may be giving. Are you planning to give away any swag? Hosting a contest? Share this with your followers in a timely manner so that they know what to expect. If you have a regularly scheduled email newsletter that goes out to customers and prospects, make sure to include a mention of your participation in the editions preceding the event.

Social media can also help you make an impact beyond traditional PR and gain you new followers. Find out from your team what your key target verticals are and do some research to see if any potential customers may be at the show. If your sales team is looking to make a connection you can help by engaging with potential customers over social media. Be sure to check the list of conference sponsors before the show begins and connect with your team to see if there is anyone on their target list that you can start to monitor.

BlackHatClientsDuring the conference

Monitor for any changing trends. Keep a close eye on the conference hashtags and make sure you adjust your social posts according to what is trending. For example, perhaps #BlackHat2015 started out with the most traction, but by the end of the conference conversations may have switched to #BHUSA. Your social content should also make that switch.

Keep your eyes peeled for any breaking news or especially popular conference hashtags. If Twitter is suddenly talking about the researcher who hacked into a satellite, a keynote talk by Alec Baldwin or the Stagefright exploit that rocked Android phones, you don’t want to miss out on chiming in. .

It’s important to engage in social media conversations, not just push out promotional messages. Work with your team on the ground to share interesting topics or their opinions about interesting talks, and connect with reporters who are looking for commentary on any new stories. If your company is giving away free gear, promote to attendees using social media to encourage them to come talk to your team.

Since you are not at the show, staying in close communication with those who are on the ground is extremely important. Be sure to ask the team early and often for photos, quotes and videos that can be shared across your social channels. Visuals can add variety and extra personality to your feed. Remember, don’t be afraid to share photos of your team having fun! Photos of employees sharing a drink, talking with other influencers, or speaking on a stage at industry events frequently outperform your typical corporate content.

Social sharing shouldn’t stop at the official corporate channels either. Encourage members of the team to share, retweet and repost your content! With each share, the life of your content—and its reach—is extended.

After the conference

The booth may go down and the conference hashtags may be dormant, but your work as social media manager is not done. Be sure to share any potential leads you may have uncovered with your team. Most importantly, think about ways that you can extend the life of the great experiences, photos and quotes that you received during the event. Consider whether you may be able to craft a blog post surrounding key findings from the event or develop a series of visual quote cards with interesting takeaways to publish over time.

While it may seem daunting to be tasked with managing social media for an event you’re not attending, it is possible to do so successfully. All it takes is some pre-planning, and lots of team collaboration and communication.

How to Set Yourself Up for Success and Rock Your Reddit AMA

Reddit is a great tool for engaging with a community. With over 195 million users, Reddit provides a platform for users to engage and interact with their community in real time. My favorite Reddit feature? The AMA (subreddit r/IAmA)—especially as part of a PR campaign.

Highwire client OWASP recently hosted an AMA to answer questions about application security and to raise awareness for their conference AppSec USA.

Reddit AMAs can position your company as a passionate industry leader and provide an honest, valuable connection with an engaged audience—whether you are gearing up for a product or company launch, or even an industry event. And you don’t have to be President Obama or Amy Poehler for it to be successful. Redditors host a variety of AMAs ranging from competitive Pokemon players to Six Flags ride operators.

So, how do you determine if a Reddit AMA is a worthy component for your next PR campaign? Here are some things to consider:

Think before you act. Why do you want to host an AMA? This channel isn’t about raising awarCKYlZqYUsAAPo-deness of a brand or product, and redditors don’t care about the new features to your CRM platform. But if you want to elevate a company’s thought leadership and executive voice—and your executive is willing to share his or her thoughts on a hot topic or industry trend without bringing up their brand—your head is in the right place. Research is an important part of this step as well, so you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with Reddit as a platform. Spend time looking at past AMAs to learn what items typically get more “upvotes” than others, or where Redditors tend to lose interest or resort to the site’s characteristic snarkiness. It’s important to understand the language your audience uses and what topics they care most about.

Develop a plan.  Planning for an AMA takes longer than you might think. When developing the plan, outline each step on a detailed timeline that the spokesperson can follow, as there are several things they need to do that you can’t. Your plan should include:

  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit to Reddit’s AMA Calendar (submissions must come directly from spokesperson’s Reddit handle)
  • – How to submit spokesperson proof—proof is a way to verify that your spokesperson is actually who they say they are. An easy way to do this is to have your spokesperson take a picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with their Reddit username, then have them post it to Twitter. See Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston’s proof here.
  • – Promotion timeline with pre-drafted content for social channels
  • – Detailed instructions on how to submit and begin the live AMA

Promote it. Tweet your heart out. Start Twitter promotion and engagement a month in advance wCKYbqykUAAAxqICith a unique hashtag that you know will map back to only your own content (#owaspAMA is what we used for our OWASP AMA). Once the AMA post is live, start driving attention by sharing the direct link to the AMA on social channels. Another way to interact with an even larger audience is to live tweet the top questions and engage with those mentioning your AMA with the hashtag. You can also send “Save the Date” email invitations to encourage attendance. Including an “Add to my calendar” button/link in the email can be helpful to drive attendance.

Extend its life. You hosted an AMA —now what? Depending on its content, you could consider turning the information that was uncovered through the signature Q&A format into a bylined article. However, it can be hard to place repurposed content that’s already been published to social channels, so a better option would be a LinkedIn Pulse post authored by your spokesperson highlighting the top questions and providing more in-depth answers. Recognize the overarching problems Reddit users asked questions about and tie them to larger industry trends. Focus on what items your respected industry colleagues should pay attention to, and what’s troubling users—again without mentioning your brand or product. Use this as an opportunity to provide deeper perspective on trending issues, and keep the AMA alive!

Prepared now? Ready. Set. Reddit!

Gearing up for Rock Health Summit: Digital Health Q&A with TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr

Next week leaders in technology, medicine and policy will come together at Rock Health Summit’s digital health conference to discuss healthcare’s most challenging problems. In anticipation of the event, Highwire sat down with TechCrunch’s Sarah Buhr, whose inbox is flooded daily with digital health pitches from PR pros. Sarah is moderating the panel “Virtual Reality: Just What The Doctor Ordered?” and we asked her what she’s excited about leading into the show and what’s hot and what’s not in digital health.

What are you most looking forward to seeing at Rock Health Summit this year?

One of my passions is biotech. I’m looking forward to hearing about thSarah Burhoughts on genomics and how microorganisms are being used to grow different things. I also want to hear how creative people can get with pharmaceutical drugs and materials. I think another interesting topic is telemedicine, or how we can move medical care inside the home. Right now there are so many solutions where you can speak to your doctor and not go into the hospital, and I want to see how those solutions can evolve.

Are there any digital health industry trends that you expect to be big in five years?

Like I mentioned, biotech is exploding – specifically in the areas of genetic manipulation and gathering data. In the future I think we’ll be able to pull insights out to identify the things that contribute to cancer and testing for diabetes in your genetic makeup. Right now nothing really does that and there are so many problems and cures to find.

What trends are you tired of hearing about?

I’m not interested in B2B enterprise SaaS solutions or HIPPA compliance. Right now everyone is trying to create their own platform rather than fix the bigger problem.

What’s the biggest challenge in digital health?

One of the biggest problems is that people don’t have enough information on medical costs or medicines that might be better for them. Basically there isn’t enough information shared with patients from doctors.

Do you see any rising hotspots for digital health innovation in the U.S?

There is no other place like Silicon Valley. Think about it, there are scientists, programmers, inventors, investors etc., all at “ground zero” for innovation. However outside of Silicon Valley other hotspots that are on the rise include San Diego and Boston which both have a booming biotech scene.

If you’re attending Rock Health Summit make sure to say hello to our Highwire folks on the ground and let us know in the comments what you’re excited to see at this year’s conference.

Written by Morgan Mathis, an account director in Los Angeles and Lauren Kido, a senior account associate in San Francisco

AppSec USA: The Place to Be for Web Application Security

It’s no secret that cybersecurity is a top concern for the enterprises, government and consumers. And what do hackers target to steal sensitive information? The application layer. According to Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Investigations report, 61 percent of attacks happen at the application level. From mobile application flaws—such as Stagefright Android—to Web application vulnerabilities—such as the WhatsApp hack—now more than ever, it’s time to educate yourself on application security.

So where can you meet the best application security experts? AppSec USA.OWASP-AppSecUSA2015-logo

Hosted by Highwire client Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP), AppSec USA is a four-day conference where developers, security experts and technologist meet to discuss cutting edge approaches to securing Web applications. This year’s conference is in San Francisco September 22-25, 2015.

Highwire PR will be at AppSec USA and is thrilled for this year’s keynotes from Facebook CSO Alex Stamos, Microsoft MVP Troy Hunt and Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Cybersecurity Official Dr. Phyllis Schneck. Not to mention Fireside Chats with Uber, Twitter, Netflix and Salesforce.

To get the most out of this year’s AppSec USA, here are the top three must-do’s from OWASP global board member Michael Coates:

1. Hands on Training

There is a massive shortfall in the industry for quality security engineers. If you’re technically inclined, learn application security fundamentals from the best-of-the-best to secure your organization through hands on training opportunities.

As cyber threats become pervasive, everyone from developers to incident responders need to stay up-to-date on the latest threats and best practices and tools needed to keep sensitive systems safe.

The trainings range from application vulnerability evaluation to a malware crash course that includes hands-on malware dissection, software debugging, malware analysis and more.

2. Listen, Learn, Discuss

Learn, listen and discuss about pertinent, cutting edge security topics, such as how to address cloud security for your Web applications, how to handle security at scale, and real-time event detection and response. Experts from security companies like WhiteHat, iSec Partners and Denim Group; technology providers such as Docker and Akami; and enterprise security teams like Netflix, Salesforce and LinkedIn will all cover a variety of security topics and enable discussions that address security experts’ burning questions. Additionally, learn about the state of security, its most pressing issues and what it will take to secure them from keynote speakers Facebook CISO Alex Stamos, Microsoft MVP Troy Hunt, Chief Cybersecurity Official of DHS Dr. Phyllis Schneck and more.

3. Build Your Network, Find the Right Talent

A crucial aspect to any conference, network and connect with the brightest security minds in the world at the most concentrated event for Web application security. Discuss the leading topics with people from all parts of the security process including software developers, information security professionals, incident responders, computer security researchers, and corporate investigators.

Hiring? Job searching? AppSec USA also provides the opportunity to network with a wide range of security professionals and find your next gig or next great hire at the career fair. Some of the hottest companies will be participating including Netflix, Twitter, Airbnb, Palantir, LinkedIn, NetSuite, MobileIron and Tableau.

OWASP’s AppSecUSA is the largest application security conference in the world. You won’t want to miss out!

Register now for AppSecUSA and win 4 sold out Giants baseball tickets. If you’re already registered you can Retweet this to enter to win!

If you’d like to get in touch with Highwire PR at AppSec USA, please email owasp@highwirepr.com.

*Top Three Things to Know originally published by OWASP Global Board Member Michael Coates.


Power Rankings: Highly Subjective Best (And Worst!) Ideas to Generate Trade Show Buzz

Huawei-Booth-CES-2014In PR, we talk a lot about the “death of things” (DoT, I should probably trademark that). Email is dead! Press releases are dead! Fill in the blank legacy technology – DEAD. I’m getting a bit morbid here, but despite all of these changes in the way we do PR, there’s one thing that will never die: the trade show.

Yes, the trade show will always be around, no matter what shifts in the market we experience year after year. For many of our clients, there’s no better way to get in front of all of their customers and prospects. Hackers flock to Black Hat and RSA, consumers take over Vegas every January for CES and HIMSS transports healthcare professionals to the most glamorous cities in the U.S.A. – Orlando, Houston, even Cleveland, or as I call it, “The Big Apple.”

All jokes aside, we love trade shows. And while they’ll never go away, what does change with time are some of the tactics you can employ to make an impact on the show floor. Strategically tying back booth events, parties and messaging to your business will not only help increase your sales pipeline, but it can actually help with PR too. With that, we’ve put together a “Trade Show Power Rankings” highlighting some of the best (and worst) ways to draw attention to your booth and make sure you’ll leave Cleveland, or whatever magical city your next trade show beckons you to, with a long list of new leads. Here we go:

10. Clowns497597816_38c728c144_n

This is a terrible idea. Clowns are creepy and under no circumstance should you ever bring them to your trade show booth. Next.

9. Magicians

C’mon guys. Magicians are not cool, but time after time, there are always two or three vendors at every trade show that think somehow they can attract new business leads- we’re talking actual adults- with magic.

8. Massage tables

There’s nothing less comfortable or more vulnerable then laying face down on a massage table in the middle of a trade show floor, with no knowledge whatsoever of what colleagues or industry friends might be having a laugh at you nearby. That being said, massages are great, but realistically, anybody who comes to your booth for a massage likely won’t turn into a lead. Sure, it’s great for traffic, but probably not the most business-savvy idea.

7. Book signings

OK, this is the part where we move on to ideas that are actually good. I myself specialize in security PR, and every year at RSA, there are at least 2-3 smart vendors that bring a notable hacker or researcher to their booth to give away free books and meet with attendees. If you’re really smart, you’ll find an author who has written about a problem that will map back specifically to your company- “we fix that!”

6. Pizzapicjumbo.com_20140314-DSC_0138

Everybody loves pizza. Just imagine how bonkers your trade show will go once they get a whiff of a fresh cheese pie. People will flock to your booth as they think “Am I in Cleveland, or did I get transported to an Italian villa?”

Editors note: might not work at the Pizza Expo, which is a real thing/what dreams are made of

5. SWAG and giveaways

For all you trade show noobs, SWAG = Stuff We All Get. We could probably do a whole separate power rankings on our favorite trade show SWAG, but branded t-shirts and stuff you can actually use at the conference- notebooks, pens, laptop cases, backup mobile power supplies etc. – will help keep your brand visible and top of mind for conference attendees. Beer and coffee is always a winner too.

4. Something interactive

A welcoming environment is key to a strong trade show booth. Interactive games- skeeball for example- gives attendees the opportunity to stop for a fun break, and open up the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation once they are drawn in.

3. Partnerships with media

At huge consumer shows like CES, PR folks will often find themselves wading through 1,000 different reporters on a media list- more than half of which might not even be relevant to each clients’ target audience. But every once in a while, you’ll be able to not only work with that outlet, but actually partner with them on a mutually beneficial demo/campaign. Take for example Highwire’s client Edyn, who partnered with Refinery29 at CES this year to showcase the “Garden of the Future.” Refinery 29 ‘s Apartment of the Future, showcased interesting IoT devices that could soon play a role in our everyday lives. Filled with gadgets that did everything from monitor how you sleep to feed your fish for you, Refinery 29 focused on the design and function of the smart home. For the Edyn team, this was the perfect place to highlight their product, a garden sensor that uses collected data to provide smart recommendations for how to best care for your plants.

2. Integrated campaigns

A closely-knit partnership between agency and client that expands what most consider to be “traditional PR” can have an impact on “traditional marketing” (trade show booth planning falls squarely into the latter.) By making sure you are integrating key messages for media with your broader messaging strategy, you’ll create a lasting impression at the show. For example, Highwire PR partnered with our client Shape Security at RSA- the company, who makes the world’s first and only “botwall,” created a massive two-floor booth, complete with a “wall” that was filled with quotes from journalists about their product, secured through engagement with Highwire. 


1. Puppies

We actually haven’t seen this one done yet, but it’ll work. Somebody please take us up on this.