hybris Rapid Growth PR Program

Walker Sands' PR program for hybris achieves rapid growth and acquisition by SAP

Project Overview

European eCommerce technology provider hybris needed to raise its brand awareness in North America. To accomplish this, Walker Sands developed a media relations strategy that combined digital marketing, thought leadership, newsjacking and research reports. This earned hundreds of media placements, increasing hybris’ brand awareness while expanding its North American customer base.

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hybris is the world’s fastest-growing commerce platform provider. Ranked as a market leader by leading industry analysts, hybris provides commerce technology to help global retailers and business-to-business companies increase sales and manage digital content across every channel.

With support from Walker Sands, hybris grew its North American customer base and achieved several notable business wins. This includes securing $30M in venture capital funding and a successful acquisition by software giant SAP (NYSE: SAP) in the summer of 2013.

The Challenge

In 2011, hybris increased its North American presence through the acquisition of iCongo, a leading e-business systems and software provider. After supporting PR efforts around the acquisition, Walker Sands continued as hybris’ primary North American PR partner.

At the time of the acquisition, hybris was primarily seen as a European company and the program sought to raise hybris’ profile as a premier e-commerce technology provider in North America among B2B and B2C customers, industry influencers and analysts. As hybris’ PR agency of record, Walker Sands handles ongoing media outreach, event coordination and promotion, social media marketing as well as ad hoc marketing initiatives in the North American market.

The Solution

Walker Sands developed a strategic public relations and digital marketing campaign to increase awareness of hybris across North America. The agency identified key outlets, analysts and social media influencers in hybris’ core audience of major B2C retailers and B2B enterprises in manufacturing, distribution, wholesale and other industries.

To reach hybris’ target audience, Walker Sands developed a comprehensive media relations strategy that combined thought leadership, contributed articles, commentary on timely news topics, press releases on company news and data-driven research reports.

The Results

After gaining an in-depth understanding of hybris’ goals, objectives and strategic direction, the PR efforts kicked off with an aggressive thought leadership campaign. One of the first pitches Walker Sands executed for hybris was around the release of Siri, the virtual personal assistant on the iPhone 4S. Walker Sands offered hybris as an expert commentator who could discuss the impact of mobile voice recognition in the retail industry. As a result of the pitch, Walker Sands secured placements in prominent outlets including Laptop Magazine, TechNewsDaily, BusinessNewsDaily and Computer World.

In the coming years, Walker Sands continued to build on the success of its initial pitching, landing placements in key outlets such as MarketingProfs, ZDNet and Mobile Commerce Daily on a variety of topics including how retail brands can leverage Pinterest, Google Glass and augmented reality technology. Walker Sands incorporated a variety of multimedia content into its traditional media relations campaigns to gain additional traction, including designing and distributing the “What Drives Mobile Commerce?” infographic, which resulted in coverage in IntoMobile and PC Magazine – an aggregate circulation of 6.4M readers.

Data-driven PR campaigns played an integral role in hybris’ PR program. In 2012 and 2013, Walker Sands executed three industry benchmark reports:

  • The hybris Multichannel Shopping Survey examined U.S. consumer shopping behaviors and expectations for multichannel shopping experiences. This campaign resulted in trade placements with an aggregate circulation of more than 611,000.
  • The hybris 2012 State of B2B E-Commerce Study was a high-profile survey of B2B procurement specialists that resulted in targeted placements in BtoB Magazine, Supply Chain Brain, Multichannel Merchant, CMSWire and other key B2B industry outlets.
  • The hybris Electrical Wholesale Audit included the distribution of a white paper targeting B2B sellers across the electrical industry. The audit resulted in media placements across B2B trade publications, including Industrial Distribution, The Electrical Distributor and Electrical Wholesaling.

Since 2011, Walker Sands has been the driving force behind hybris’ North American public relations efforts. When hybris secured $30M in venture capital financing, Walker Sands managed press outreach around the announcement, securing 35 placements with an aggregate circulation of 51.2M, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, VentureBeat, Pando Daily, Xconomy, TechCrunch and others.

In addition to managing hybris’ ongoing PR initiatives, Walker Sands assisted hybris with the coordination and promotion of several annual industry events in North America, including its annual customer summit and the inaugural Game Plan B2B E-Commerce Forum in 2013. Walker Sands supported Game Plan through PR and social media strategy, leading to widespread coverage across B2B trade publications and several hundred event attendees relevant to hybris’ key manufacturing, distribution and wholesaling markets. Walker Sands also laid the groundwork for hybris’ successful South American presence by connecting it with its current South American PR agency, BRSA.

The efforts of the hybris marketing team and Walker Sands paid off as SAP AG acquired hybris in May of 2013.

Walker Sands handled PR around the acquisition and assisted with a global press event in New York City. Total acquisition coverage resulted in 179 media placements across top-tier business, technology, retail, B2B and Canadian press. In 2013, Walker Sands secured 491 total media placements – the most since Walker Sands started working with hybris in 2011. As a long-standing partner, hybris continues to leverage Walker Sands’ deep expertise in retail technology PR and social media marketing programs.