ReliaQuest Bowl puts cybersecurity in the national spotlight

There are many customs and traditions that define the ringing of the new year. New Year’s Eve parties, watching the ball drop in New York’s Times Square, toasting champagne at the stroke of midnight, singing Auld Lang Syne…and college football. It’s bowl season, baby!

One of the bowls has a new sponsor. The bowling game played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay was known as the Hall of Fame Bowl from 1986 to 1995. It was sponsored by Outback Steakhouse and nicknamed the Outback Bowl from 1996 to 2022. When the game is played on Mondays , January On February 2, 2023, it will be the newly renamed ReliaQuest Bowl.

I am generally opposed to corporate sponsorship of racing cars, cycling teams, etc. Personally, I feel like sports generally have a very limited audience and sponsor branding is so ephemeral that it’s next to impossible to get the exposure or return on investment for that to happen. worth it. It’s more of an ego thing, or just a hobby or personal interest of the CEO, but not necessarily a valuable marketing investment.

It’s different for me. The sponsorship will bring attention to cybersecurity and increase ReliaQuest brand recognition in a way that other sponsorships simply cannot match. College football has a huge following in general, but the holiday season usually attracts an even bigger audience. The ReliaQuest name has been on display and spoken for weeks before bowling games, and it will take center stage on Monday as the Mississippi State Bulldogs take on Illinois Fighting Illini. ReliaQuest has also produced a commercial that will air several times during the ReliaQuest Bowl and will also air during some of the other college bowling games.

Invest in Tampa Bay

There are many college bowling games with many different sponsors, but this one has a unique connection to Tampa Bay. The game is played in Tampa Bay. Outback Steakhouse, the former sponsor, is headquartered in Tampa Bay. When Outback pulled out and they needed a new sponsor, they found a new sponsor also based in Tampa Bay.

I spoke to Brian Murphy, Founder and CEO of ReliaQuest, about how the sponsorship deal came about. He told me he was in San Francisco at the time, finalizing a deal to acquire Digital Shadows, when he got the call.

They explained that they had a lot of interest from other brands, but that ReliaQuest is already doing a lot with them in the community. Murphy relayed a paraphrased version of the conversation: “You are often partners. Your headquarters is here. We like how the brands line up, and we think it could be quite interesting. What do you think?”

Even though he was close to closing an acquisition deal, he was committed to the sponsorship within 12 hours – and the ReliaQuest Bowl was born.

wave of momentum

Coupled with the acquisition of Digital Shadows, sponsorship of the ReliaQuest Bowl is the icing on the cake of a phenomenal year for ReliaQuest. The company is booming and riding a wave of momentum through 2023.

The prevailing scenario for 2022 is that the economy is weak and technology and cybersecurity markets suffer. Household names like Amazon, Facebook and Twitter, along with major cybersecurity vendors with hundreds of millions of dollars in investor funding, dominated the headlines with news of cuts and tens of thousands of workers laid off. The “sky is falling” narrative generates clicks, but the reality is that most tech and cybersecurity companies are doing well, and some are just plain crushing it.

ReliaQuest is one such company. One of the main differences that separates ReliaQuest and other successful companies from struggling cybersecurity vendors and technology companies is the underlying culture and focus of the company.

Startups striving to go public and companies that focus on satisfying investors or shareholders can often achieve significant short-term success. However, long-term value and resilience in the face of adverse market conditions comes from a consistent focus on solving customer problems.

Murphy and I talked about this Steve Jobs quote, which references a quote attributed to Henry Ford although it’s unlikely Ford actually said it):

“Some people say they give customers what they want, but that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they will want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I had asked the customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse.” People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never trust market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.

Murphy pointed out, “It’s the way you ask the question. We don’t ask customers what they want. We ask, “What problems are you solving for?”

He explained, “No one is asking for a security operations platform. What they will describe is, “I need visibility into my cloud environments, and I have several. I need to be able to see my cloud environments next to my endpoints.’

According to Murphy, this is the secret to ReliaQuest’s success, and it’s what will continue to accelerate the company’s momentum. They listen to customers and discover the problems they need to solve and let that guide and influence where they invest and what they work on next. The bottom line is that it’s about meeting the needs of the customer, rather than trying to convince customers that they need what you’ve built.

ReliaQuest Bowl

Cybersecurity and college football don’t usually go together. We don’t typically equate Tampa Bay, Florida as a base for tech or cybersecurity companies. But ReliaQuest is changing that, and the ReliaQuest Bowl will expose the brand to a massive national audience.

Tune in Monday, January 2 to watch the ReliaQuest Bowl. Watch the game because college bowling games are a fun part of New Year’s festivities, but also check it out to support a booming Tampa Bay-based cybersecurity vendor as it focuses on building a business the right way and about providing what customers need.

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