What’s new in the world of branding in the cybersecurity space?

Last week, RSA Conference took over Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco, also known (by us) as Sköna’s backyard. The two million square foot convention space and the surrounding Yerba Buena gardens were buzzing with lively popups, keynote speakers, lunches, branded trucks…and even Alicia Keys! The event was a reminder that the world of cybersecurity is alive and well – and shows no signs of slowing down.

We visited and said hello to current, former (and future) clients. As we explored the event, we asked ourselves, what’s new in the world of branding in the cybersecurity space?

1. Bright colors for the win.

Many security companies look, feel, and talk the same. In a sea of blues and blacks, bright colors captured our attention. Consistent use of brand colors was also effective. One example was Teramind, who gave away orange tote bags at their booth. We kept seeing pops of orange throughout the show, communicating the Teramind brand far beyond their booth. In other words, some very successful brand schwag.

2. The unexpected will go far.

There is an opportunity to create an experience beyond just a booth. Wiz drew a lot of attention this year again, (last year they had a Wizard of Oz-themed booth) with their WizMart, “the one-stop shop for everything related to cloud security”. The experience is different from anything else on the floor, showcasing shelves of recognizable products that are redesigned in a security-theme and speak to the benefits of Wiz. Their booth also featured a crowd-pleasing (and delicious) donut shop.

Rubrik invited visitors into their speakeasy, Pentera had an interactive candy shop, and Blumira hosted a mystery-themed booth. Maybe the biggest talk of the show was Commvault’s interactive experience where visitors could step into the world of Commvault’s cleanroom recovery.

A conference like RSA can be exhausting, and a good treat and fun experience goes a long way!

3. Security is for humans!!

Few cybersecurity companies bring human and emotional aspects into brand communication. However, we noticed Proofpoint showcasing realistic photos of people that stood out for their human element. Security companies might have traditionally relied on more fear-based communication but Proofpoint shows us that there is an opportunity to balance the reliability with a more emotional connection to build trust and recognition with audiences. And in truth, there is a lot of emotion in cybersecurity. It involves many people, a significant amount of data, and day-to-day needs. Considering everything the buyers and users of security software are up against, there is a lot of emotion to connect with there.

4. Small elements can make a big difference.

Even the most subtle differences stood out at RSA, for example a unique booth hat. Bitsight did a slight tilt, and while it was subtle, it stood out in the crowd.

5. Sometimes less (text) is more.

While a trade show is an opportunity to introduce your brand and communicate your differentiators, there is a lot of information to take in and a lot of noise all around. Too much text and dense copy can dissuade attendees from engaging or wanting to spend time in the booth. We recommend going minimal, keeping text light on booth walls and floors, and allow the visitor to take their time to get to know you. Remember, a trade show booth – much like an ad – is more “amuse bouche” and less a 3-course meal!

There are so many ways for security brands to stand out and boost their brand awareness. Incorporate more human and emotional elements, communicate with clarity, and explore color and visual expression. To take these steps, your brand needs to be a brave brand and you need to take creative chances. After all, the goal is to form a real connection with current and future target audiences. No matter the latest trends, your brand will still always need to be authentic to the core, or it will fall flat.

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