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If you’re a DTC company or work in a highly visable emerging industry, you’ve no doubt seen headlines about cyber breaches like malware and hacks that demand millions of bitcoin. In fact, 46% of all cyber breaches impact businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees (source). As the world becomes more digitized and cybercrime increases, the need for cyber insurance is something businesses should not overlook. If your company sells online, handles, transmits, or stores sensitive data, you need to know about these 3 types of cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance protects businesses from the monetary and reputational losses arising from a cyber incident that could jeopardize their future. It covers financial losses caused by events such as data breaches, cyber theft, ransomware, rogue employees, and simple mistakes and it covers crisis PR, up to a point.

Since most businesses often lack the resources or budgets of big corporations, cyber insurance can provide critical financial protection in the event of a cyberattack, helping them recover quickly.

Although insurers may have their own specific classifications, cyber insurance can be divided into three broad categories:

Cybertheft insurance

With more and more businesses storing sensitive data online, the risk of cyber theft is more prominent than ever. As a result, adequate insurance against this growing threat is critical. Cybertheft insurance protects businesses from financial losses caused by digital theft. This type of insurance can cover a variety of cybertheft scenarios, including first-party cybertheft, embezzlement scams, payroll redirection, and gift card scams.

Businesses of all sizes can be victims of cybertheft, and no business is too small to need cyber theft insurance.  Cyber incidents are so common, it’s not a matter of if, but when, your company will experience an incident. What will you do if your data or digital assets will be stolen? That’s why cyber theft insurance is so important for your business.

Cyber liability insurance

Cyber liability insurance includes third-party coverage for damages and losses, data breaches, regulatory penalties, credit monitoring, and lawsuits. This is an important type of insurance if you’re a DTC or e-commerce brand.

Cyber liability insurance is a vital tool for small businesses like yours because the financial ramifications of a cybersecurity breach can be more severe than you can handle. This does not mean you should panic right now; it simply means that having cyber liability insurance can help your business recover and move forward, even after a breach, without being stunted.

Planning is critical for reducing your data and brand liability with a security breach.

Cyber extortion insurance/ransomware insurance

Cyber extortion insurance protects businesses against ransomware attacks. Cyber extortion attacks often come with a clicking clock, so it’s important to have a plan. This type of insurance can help cover the cost of ransom payments, recovery expenses, business interruptions, and more. It can also provide access to a team of experts who can help with cyber extortion negotiations and forensics.

Keep in mind that an attack could still succeed even with the right cybersecurity solutions in place to protect your business. That’s why it’s critical to have cyber extortion insurance. It can help you recover from a ransomware attack and reduce the financial impact.

While you’re looking, keep these types of cyber insurance in mind. Cyber insurance is a complicated and ever-changing industry. Many factors can influence whether you qualify for a payout in the event of a cyberattack, and trying to remain compliant with your insurance policy can be difficult. Working with an IT service provider can help you better understand your options and ensure that you have adequate security in place, increasing your chances of receiving complete coverage.

Cyber insurance provides critical peace of mind, but you will still need to be prepared in case of an incident in order to have a successful claim. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Ignite Solutions to provide you with a risk analysis and cyber attack plan that ensures you get through the first 48 hours. Our cyber incident planning service protects your data AND your brand. 

 

It’s an innocent mistake. Someone in your company clicks on a phishing link and suddenly customer data and private company information are at risk. It’s a terrifying thought. Outside of enterprise companies, most companies don’t have the internal know-how to mitigate the risks. That’s exactly why cyber insurance is the hottest new protection for everyone from emerging industries and ambitious consumer brands to tech startups. Cyber insurance is one way to help your business recover following a cyberattack. It covers financial losses caused by events such as data breaches, cyber theft, ransomware, and more. But few people understand these new policies. Because of the complicated nature of cyber insurance, there are a lot of myths out there that can be harmful to your business if you fall for them. Plus, as we always say, the best time to manage a crisis is before the crisis. Let’s debunk these 4 cyber insurance myths together. 

First, cyber insurance typically covers the cost of:

  • Recovering data
  • Legal proceedings
  • PR crisis management: notifying stakeholders such as customers and or investors about the incident
  • Restoring the personal identities of those affected
  • Extortion fees

You can see why cyber insurance policies are in high demand. They cover all the bases of your worst nightmare. And yet, there is a lot of fine print in most policies, so it’s important to ask questions and know what isn’t included in your cyber insurance premiums.

Myth #1: All I need to protect my business from cyber threats is a cyber insurance plan

This could not be further from the truth. Your insurance provider will only cover your business if you meet the requirements outlined in your contract. Most reputable insurers will require proof that you have followed the proactive cyber measures outlined in your policy. If you can’t prove your compliance, your claims are unlikely to be paid.

One of the most common insurance requirements is that you have top-tier cybersecurity protection. Another common requirement is evidence of a solid plan in place should you have an incident. You often see these plans referred to as table-top exercises, and they are typically done from a purely technical basis, so Avaans Media has teamed up with Ignite Solutions to cover your technical and brand bases should you experience a cyber incident. A plan like that could help you get cyber insurance, lower your rates, and provide a template for the recovery of both data and brand. Plus, if you ever are breached, you’ll have a team of experts who already know you and your company.

Myth #2: I don’t need insurance since I have cybersecurity solutions

Even though cybersecurity solutions can bolster your defenses, they don’t make you immune to cyber incidents. Yes, cybersecurity solutions reduce the risk of a cyberattack by identifying and protecting vulnerable points in your system. However, no solution can completely protect against all threats because staying on top of emerging risks is challenging. Yes, we absolutely recommend ongoing monitoring, but remember, it only take a second, and human error always results in vulnerabilities in a system, regardless of how secure it is. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a cyber insurance policy in place to fall back on in case of an incident.

Myth #3: Cyber insurance is easy to get

As technology advances, so do the occurrences of cyber incidents. With small and medium-sized businesses being the most susceptible targets of cybercriminals because of a lack of enterprise-level protection, the likelihood of an attack is high. Cyber incidents are so frequent and costly, that insurers have been losing money with their policies. As you can imagine, that’s not sustainable for anyone. Insurers are reluctant to provide coverage since the risks are significant. While policies are still available, they are becoming more expensive and difficult to obtain. This is why proactive steps will help you secure a quality insurance policy. Know what you will do and who will do it. This kind of planning could save you millions of dollars in lost revenue, not to mention brand damage. For example, should you turn off your computers if you’re breached? Who pauses all social media and outgoing emails to clients while the breach is active? Who will talk to the press?

Myth #4: My policy will handle my claims in case there’s an incident

If you can’t prove that you’ve complied with your cyber insurance policy’s prerequisites, your claim will probably be rejected. More and more, insurers are requiring you to complete a series of steps to reinforce your policy. Some of these steps are technical, and some are operational. Covering your bases with an IT service provider and your PR team to develop a plan increases the likelihood of claim approval. An expert PR and IT service provider can help you remain compliant with your cyber insurance policy and provide evidence of such compliance. The best time to handle a crisis is before it happens and never is this more true than with cyber incident planning. Plus, knowing that you know what to do and how to do it will give you peace of mind whenever you see another security breach headline.

Partner for success

It’s crucial not to fall for the above myths about cyber insurance so that your business qualifies for a policy and receives the coverage you pay for. However, it’s also important to remember that cyber insurance is something that demands a lot more time and effort than you might have.

For more information on protecting your data and your brand, contact us. 

If you’re a smaller consumer brand, it might feel impossible to compete with the big guys. But according to Nielsen, in the United States “manufacturers outside of the top 100 have contributed to 52% of their region’s annual fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) growth,” that’s an incredibly promising trend for any consumer product, from skincare to cannabis. But the challenges to increasing market share aren’t imagined. In some categories, especially consumables, over 50% of consumers have no brand preference. This underscores the importance of small, independent CPG brands to invest in branding with awareness and loyalty strategies. Neilsen IQ has done some fantastic research for small, independent DTC and CPG brands.

Nielsen Chart for Consumer Product Brand Loyalty

 

 

 

 

 

69% of consumers are actively looking for new and trendy CPG products. Tapping into current trends is a key way to appeal to this audience.  Whether the brand is launching, or already launched, there are always PR opportunities to increase sales by driving awareness and loyalty. The key takeaway on all the most recent Neilsen data: premiumization is absolutely key for small, independent CPG brands. 

Driving Awareness for Small Consumer Brands

When Snapple tea was a small independent brand, it relied on PR, including crazy stunts with two ambitions in mind: acquisition and sales. When they were acquired by Quaker Oats, the PR stunts stopped and sales decreased. In fact, PR is often responsible for trends that drive consumers. Before CBD, a wellness ingredient that almost everyone now knows was allowed to advertise, it relied on firms like Avaans Media to create PR campaigns that educated consumers and created awareness for their brands. PR is almost single-handedly responsible for launching CBD into the public’s general knowledge. Other wellness products have benefited from PR, including melatonin.

Independent brands often turn to PR because while PR is an investment, it’s still more affordable than many other branding initiatives such as advertising, especially when you include videography costs. Facebook is famous for launching thousands of new DTC brands, but of late, many independent CPG brands are finding Facebook’s advertising to be less effective. Ambitious consumer product brands are turning to PR in ever greater numbers to reach consumers, and stay in front of buyers. A PR campaign can reach hundreds of billions of annual impressions. Is it any wonder that everyone from new consumer products to old standbys is moving dollars to PR?

New CPG brands can use PR to validate the brand. An upfront burst of PR is a powerful trust indicator. Many consumer brand startups showcase PR wins on their website and in advertising as a way to increase consumer trust. Independent boutique products use PR to nail their launch because they need to appeal directly and immediately to their consumer. As Nielsen notes in small brand, “There is little room for error in small launches. Nailing your activation requires planning and strategic execution. Whatever your differentiation—hitting your target, justifying your premium or communicating a new usage occasion—it must land, and land well,”

 

Driving Loyalty for Independent CPG Brands

If your consumer brand isn’t exactly new, but also isn’t a household name, then using PR to increase loyalty and awareness is effective. 25% of consumers are mainstream followers who sometimes try new products, but don’t seek them. This is a critical audience to penetrate. If you’re broadening your audience to this important, but slightly elusive group, you want to make sure your customer product reviews are solid, and that your early PR had at least 1-2 tier 1 press hits so you can use the ever-so-important social proof to lure this audience in.  Good PR also allows existing customers to have their choice validated and is a great opportunity for them to sing your praises to their friends.

But that’s not the only way PR helps early and mid-stage CPG brands. PR helps your customers see you understand who they really are. Bob’s Red Mill used PR to improve its already stellar reputation through purpose-driven storytelling. Not only does PR help new consumers find your product, but it also reinforces the good choice your current customers have made. A good PR firm will help you identify ways to differentiate and to secure brand-improving earned media.

We’re just about to round the corner to a key consumer buying season: the fall. And about the only thing that’s certain is consumer uncertainty; but consumers aren’t giving up on conscious consumption. Nothing shows that more than the latest consumer trends from Google Searches. What do Google searches have to do with PR? Consumer media outlets keep a strong eye on consumer trends, and usually respond with seasonal content that matches the customer’s mood. Fitting into that season content is key to earning digitally savvy PR during the fall. There’s another important reason to get it right this fall: you’re likely to have a larger share of voice for any of your marketing efforts as some competitors will pull back, so if you’re not pulling back, or you’re jumping into the market now, it’s great timing because research shows that brands who stay with marketing during economic downturns, get ahead.

What does this mean for consumer brands?

It gives you insight into key themes you can use in your PR and marketing this year. While some of these facts seem contradictory, put these in context with what you’re seeing from your customers.

Searches for “specials this week” is up 60% year over year / Searches for “designer outlet” have grown 90% globally year over year

Keep in mind, that consumer spending remains strong, so this is about the consumer feeling the need to feel like they’re getting a deal. 31% of consumers say they are still rewarding themselves by buying things they want. Consumers haven’t stopped loving name brands, they’re just in need of a discount. They also want to feel their brand choices are premium choices.

Luxury and premium brands with strong brand affinity should lead to smaller, more affordable items for the masses, rather than discount the brand. Premium consumer brands can use this mindset with bonus gifts.

Align your brand with premium publishing outlets by getting an early start on your consumer PR and ad re-targeting. Have your programmatic and PR teams talk before they launch their respective campaigns.

Consumer brands should publish any kind of black Friday promotions well in advance, and use competitor pricing as a benchmark (25% less than a comparable brand), to anchor value.

Now is also the time to focus on loyalty for existing customers. Don’t make your customers search you out. Be there during the key buying triggers for your customers. If your customers tend to buy on Fridays, be there on Thursday with the bonus giveaway or loyalty reward.

Searches for “say no to plastic” have grown globally 200% year over year

Consumers want brands who want what they want. This new purpose-driven alignment applies to all consumer brands. Even if you can’t get around plastic packaging (yet), now is the time to celebrate your sustainability efforts. What’s comforting to consumers right now, more than anything is brands they can trust. So if you’ve been working hard on building consumer trust, now is the time for you to celebrate the efforts in a way that reinforces your consumer’s choices.

Consumers want personal content

87% of consumers said they want personal and relevant content. Keep this in mind with your email marketing and social media. Use your own data to ensure your delivering the right message to the right audience. Consumers want to see themselves in your content – by the way, editors know this trend too, so positioning your brand clearly allows editors to follow this content expectation too.

One of the most notable attributes of “relevant” content is content that is emotionally resonant. Your consumers want to know that you understand them. Note that during previous times of uncertainty, nostalgia and comfort messages surge. Very often, this means consumers would prefer to stay with their favored brands, but that favored brands need to continue to provide the experience customers have come to expect.

More than ever, having digitally savvy and data-informed PR, branding, and advertising will make a difference in your seasonal marketing. Now is the time to dig deep into your customer insights and give your agencies the information they need to supercharge their efforts this fall.

Not too long ago, DTC brands were on a tear. The Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) industry grew at an incredible rate during the 2020 pandemic lockdown – to $933 billion up 10.4% from the previous year. And it wasn’t just the big brands who saw that growth, boutique CPG brands reported revenue growth up 18.3%, compared to 7.5% from large CPG brand manufacturers. But recent changes in digital marketing, along with supply chain issues, have made 2022 more challenging for startup DTC brands. So, given the squeeze they’re experiencing, what CPG marketing trends will give them the most bang for their buck?

 

 

CPG and DTC Brands with Purpose

This first one is a bit of a misnomer because, realistically, purpose-driven CPG brands are an inside-out job, not simply a marketing initiative. And yet, for those CPG startup brands who can find an authentic purpose, the activation opportunities are endless. This isn’t so much a CPG marketing trend as much as it is a brand proposition.

47% of consumers say they’d switched products or services after a company violated their personal values. 

Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable and natural products in everything from beauty to wellness to food. Searches for “cruelty-free” products increased by 400% between 2012-2022. And it isn’t just consumers. 86% of employees want to know they work for organizations with an environment, social, and ethical business practices (ESG). While we typically think about large brands doing most of the heavy lifting on ESG initiatives, startup CPG brands can create a bigger splash, reduce operational expenses, and increase customer loyalty by doing their part as well.

CPG PR & Influencer Marketing

TV ads are still the first choice for legacy CPG companies, and that’s because they know becoming a household name takes repeated exposure. But ambitious startup brands without the multi-million dollar ad budget are finding excellent success with CPG PR and even seasonal sprint PR programs. From wellness products to beauty products, CPG brands know the value of trusted recommendations, like magazines.

Trust isn’t a CPG marketing trend – it’s a requirement. 

And because of the importance of the trust factor, startup CPG brands are also turning to influencer marketing. But they’re doing it most often with micro-influencers (between 1,000-10,000 followers). While micro-influencer campaigns are considerably more effort to manage, the results can be impressive because micro-influencers typically have higher conversion rates and that’s because they are more relatable and trustworthy than celebrities.  And it isn’t only CPG brands finding success with micro-influencers, consumer tech brands are doubling down on influencer campaigns too.

 

Product Personalization

Consumers are opening their pocketbooks for DTC startups that offer personalized products; 71% of consumers expect personalization. In some cases, consumers are willing to give up product effectiveness to a more tailored product. From personalized product recommendations to celebrating milestones, today’s consumer expects even CPG startups to know them as customers.

Millennials, already spending more on self-care than any other generation before (2X more than baby boomers) are driving the demand for personalized CPG products. Already, 70% of the top DTC subscription brands use product quizzes to help personalize the customer experience. Not only does this increase consumer loyalty, but it provides a pleathora of data that can be used in future retargeting and PR campaigns.

Millennials are also driving another CPG trend: CBD. While 28% of consumers already use CBD, 56% of millennials do. They’re leading the charge that fuels the 4X growth in CBD products projected between 2020-2026. From pets to skincare, CBD is still a very in-demand product.

 

One thing is for certain, CPG startups aren’t going away. The internet has supercharged the consumer’s ability to find and purchase products – and it means CPG products in every category have more competitors than ever before. Brands that invest in savvy CPG marketing and PR will have the upper hand with customer acquisition and loyalty. And that means they’ll have more longevity than ever before.

As the holiday season approaches, product PR becomes more important than ever. Competition from major brands, standing out from the crowd, and capturing people in a buying mood are all great reasons to do product PR during the holidays.

 Now you might ask, “which holiday season do you mean?” The answer: whatever holidays are most important to your company or brand.

There are a few key reasons why product PR is so important during the holidays, and why Avaans is now offering Product PR Holiday Sprints.

Competition from Major Brands

Most of your competitors won’t invest in holiday PR, but if you do, it gives you a considerable edge when people search for your brand or product.

You simply can not outspend the major brands with advertising, but using PR evens the playing field a bit, especially since a lot of journalists prefer to showcase smaller or boutique brands, or at the very least want to include one as an alternative to more well-known brands. It’s also an opportunity for smaller brands to showcase diverse founders too, something big brands just can’t do.

Ever since iOS14 rolled out, which allows consumers to opt out of allowing apps like Facebook and Instagram to track browser history, CPG and DTC brands have seen a considerable decrease in ad effectiveness. And to make matters worse, the massive brands have far more data and the ability to buy ads on a multitude platforms, so it’s nearly impossible to compete during the holidays when digital advertising costs surge.

In contrast, when you secure PR beside major brands in holiday gift guides, your brand receives a trust bump, so you’re benefitting from all the brand recognition of the larger brands, alongside the brand recognition of the outlet.

People are in the Buying Mood for Product PR

First, people are generally more receptive to marketing and advertising during this time of year.  Holiday PR is an ideal way to capture people when they’re in the mood, and in the moment.

The average person spends $1,463, during the holidays (Deloitte Holiday Survey)

There are a few things that contribute to this increase in spending. First, people tend to travel more during the holidays and spend money on things like gas, hotels, and food. Second, people buy gifts for their friends and family, They’re also more likely to be thinking about gifts for loved ones, which means they’re more likely to pay attention to products that might make great gifts. . And finally, people tend to spend more on themselves during the holidays – maybe they buy a new outfit for a holiday party or get a massage to relieve stress.

Less than half of consumers are worried about higher prices on discretionary purchases (National Retail Federation)

Stand Out from the Crowd with Product PR for the Holidays

The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, so standing out from the crowd is essential. And that means meeting your consumer where they’re at. Consumers are searching for gift ideas and they value gift guides because they trust journalists to test the products (they do).  99% of products never receive any press, by simply securing press, you’re already standing out. And you can leverage your press all year long.

Avaans Media now offers PR Product Sprints. Designed for CPG and DTC brands, these micro PR campaigns are perfect for brands with ambitious plans, but not ambitious budgets.