I’ve been going to the RSA Conference for 15 years, and this year’s event had as much attendance, innovation and energy as I can remember. RSAC 2023 came back with a vengeance after uncertain pandemic years and a slow return in 2022. Not only were the conference floor and trade show buzzing, but restaurants and hotel lobbies across San Francisco were packed with cybersecurity enthusiasts ready to meet with customers, peers and prospects.

After letting the entire experience sink in, three themes have stuck with me:

  • the importance of in-person connections;
  • the rapidly evolving future of cybersecurity;
  • and the value of relationships with media gatekeepers.

Nothing Beats Face-to-Face

Treble founder and CEO Ethan Parker joined me at RSAC 2023, giving us ample opportunities to meet new clients and strengthen our relationships beyond a contractual agreement. Face-to-face interactions cannot be replaced, and the conference allowed us to connect personally with our clients like never before.

These connections extended past conversations on the show floor as a return to normal allowed our team to engage in multiple meetings outside of the conference, such as dinners and coffee chats. These informal conversations helped to establish authentic relationships with clients and provided an opportunity to discuss innovative ways in which our agency can best serve as their partner in communications.

At and around the conference, we also connected with key media personnel at publications we typically engage with for our clients. Interactions with publications like Dark Reading and Security Boulevard gave us a strategic opportunity to form greater bonds with reporters we regularly engage. One of our attending clients is comprised of research-based security teams, which were then introduced to key journalists, bolstering the bond between client and reporter.

Cybersecurity Trends

Aside from meeting with our clients, we also initiated discussions with other notable cybersecurity companies and influencers. While PR and marketing were our focus at the show, it was great to catch up with technical security researchers and team members on the front lines of cybersecurity, allowing us to form meaningful strategies for current and potential clients. We dug into the recent innovation in the cybersecurity space and how companies are providing the next wave of security solutions.

Each of our attending clients released a new product during RSAC, resulting in phenomenal launches and fantastic coverage following their news releases.

We worked with each client to leverage the conference and its attendees to provide further visibility in the security community and secure pieces of coverage that moved the needle for their businesses.

Artificial intelligence was at the top of everyone’s list of discussion topics, as executives discussed how the boom in generative AI could be used to detect and react to cybersecurity threats. Other top trends we gathered from the conference were a focus on zero trust in messaging and debates on whether companies should pay ransomware demands. 2022 proved to be a year of macroeconomic challenges that spurred the evolution and intensification of cyberattacks. In an array of keynote speeches, workshops and webinars, cybersecurity thought leaders shared stories about their experiences in responding to cyber intrusions and what can be done to defend digital infrastructures moving forward. 

Forming Media Relationships

The biggest challenge for cybersecurity companies at RSAC is rising above the noise. With many product announcements and similar messaging across attending companies, it can be difficult to gain meaningful coverage.

To cultivate relationships with journalists and other media contacts at the conference, we organized opportunities for them to meet with clients who could speak on broader industry trends and provided them with access to researchers who could provide commentary post-conference. We also engaged in impromptu conversations with our current media friendlies that cultivated an interest in and around our clients' products and services. These mutually beneficial relationships allowed us to share Treble's current security client roster with reporters and understand what stories they're working on, so we can then provide them with helpful and relevant resources for their pieces. This enhanced our relationships and ability to deliver ideas that map to what journalists require.

One particularly successful media conversation we nurtured during the conference was with a reporter who knew of one of our clients from when they worked with another agency but wanted to learn more after our proactive pitch captured his attention. Treble prepared our client with clear messaging around its business values, differentiators and why what they're doing is important to the industry, After over an hour of conversation, we peeled back layers of the client’s business and generated excitement for the reporter about how he could cover them in the future.

Until RSAC 2024

RSAC 2023 was a fantastic opportunity for Treble to connect with clients, media and industry professionals. By attending in person, we strengthened our relationships with current clients and made meaningful connections with potential ones. Additionally, the valuable insights we gained into industry trends, challenges facing enterprises and advancements in technology will continue to inform our ongoing PR strategies.

Through our conversations with reporters and media contacts, we realized a high-level understanding of what storylines they preferred and could subsequently provide direct feedback to clients to help them better tailor their messaging. This, in turn, allowed us to build strategies based on what reporters were looking for and provide opportunities for expanded engagements with prospects.

As Treble continues to expand our San Francisco office, we look forward to attending RSAC 2024 with an even greater presence to build meaningful relationships for the benefit of our clients. We're excited to implement our learnings from the 2023 conference to create winning strategies for cybersecurity leaders.