How we helped MobileIron go from ‘stealth to wealth’

You used to tote a BlackBerry and love it. But now you’ve got the work phone in your bag, and an iPhone in your hand. You’re doing amazing stuff on just four inches of glass – minus a proper keyboard – and you know there’s no going back. This thing is just too good to leave to the kids.

That was 2007, and you weren’t alone. Gazillions of business people, medical people, academic people, services people – every kind of people – were doing the same thing. A transcendent experience for individuals was growing into a major headache for organisations, however.

In the year the iPhone was born MobileIron, a Silicon Valley startup, began its mission to give organisations ways to say yes to personal smartphones, without compromising either data security or regulatory compliance. And that’s not an easy thing to achieve, at least in any worthwhile way. Think about it. You don’t want your boss snooping in your personal phone. But she doesn’t want her CRM database in there either – not without consents and safeguards, at any rate.

Born in the USA

By 2010, with strong growth achieved in its home market, MobileIron set its sights on Europe. Ojas Rege, VP of business strategy, enlisted Cohesive on a mission to replicate its success ‘over here’. But they weren’t alone. Arch rivals Airwatch and Good Technologies were challenging for market dominance. MobileIron needed to build a reputation as the market and technology leader with large enterprises, mobile service providers and systems integrators. It needed to captivate a market.

Sailing oceans; rocking boats.

The three vendors were poised to give enterprise mobility a mighty kick in the backside, disrupting established models, philosophy and working practise. Our job was to ensure that MobileIron wore the biggest boots. They needed to be heard, understood, generate empathy – and fast.

So year one was run as a classic ‘storm the beaches’ Influence campaign. We leveraged ready-made debates on mobility and BYOD and made them our own, through imaginative story telling evidenced by customer testimony, harnessed to aggressive media relations. Coverage in the FT, Economist, Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg contributed to MobileIron meeting its ambitious growth targets.

 

MobileIron's CEO quoted in The Economist in 2011
MobileIron’s CEO quoted in The Economist (2011)

At the start of 2012, MobileIron was already recognised as championing the critical industry debates from a position of thought leadership. Given its sales success and strong customer relationships, it made sense to accelerate a programme of independent advocacy. We took business leaders from within the customer base and built profiles for them as pioneers and subject matter experts. Participating in national and trade media interviews as well as appearing on influential speaking circuits, their stories represented ultra-credible validation of the MobileIron story.

A MobileIron customer acts as independent advocate in the Wall Street Journal
A MobileIron customer acts as independent advocate in the Wall Street Journal (2012)

In that year also MobileIron cleaned up at various awards including SC Magazine Awards (Best Mobile Device Management platform) and FSTech Awards (Best Technology Provider).

Just a few examples of MobileIron's print media coverage
Just a few examples of MobileIron’s print media coverage

Transitioning from startup to ‘upstart’

By 2013 we’d successfully positioned MobileIron away from startup status to established player and industry authority. But that came with a downside. At Cohesive, we’ve always reckoned sales volume to be inversely proportional to column inches. In other words when technology is edgy, unfamiliar or pioneering – flaky even – then there’s a ton to write about. But when it’s selling like hot cakes – where’s the angle in that?

A new angle

So by late 2013 we’d conceived and completed ‘The Trust Gap’ – an international survey of end users probing the sensitive subject of individual privacy. What personal information (on your phone) would you be prepared to share with your employer – for instance, your location? Would you trust your employer to use that information responsibly and sensitively? And what could your employer do to increase your level of trust? As we forecast up front, it turned out to be a very hot topic. In fact – as Apple vs FBI is proving today – it still is. The findings had global reach, and here in Europe it resulted in stories and profiles throughout 2014, via Bloomberg, Reuters, Forbes, The Telegraph, Computer Business Review and CIO Magazine, to name a representative selection.

Forbes publishes a feature article on The Trust Gap research (2013)
Forbes publishes a feature article on The Trust Gap research (2013)

Keeping the momentum going

The great thing about a really good research programme is that it keeps on giving. In this case a successful webinar and event series, key lead generation assets and a helping hand in MobileIron winning a lot more silverware accolades from the British Computing Society and GSMA (Best Enterprise Mobile Service).

In June 2014 MobileIron listed on NASDAQ, raising $100 million through an IPO. In just 4 years MobileIron had gone from ‘Stealth to Wealth’ and we are proud to have been a part of its journey.

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We are Cohesive. The ‘go-to market’ PR & marketing partner for exciting businesses with complex, B2B technology propositions looking to captivate the UK market space and accelerate growth.

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