Creating a breakout quantum moment
HKA designed and implemented the outreach strategy for sci-tech media as part of Quantinuum’s momentous H2 launch with the aim of helping establish the company as an equal in the quantum hardware category along with Google, IBM and Microsoft.
Although the science and engineering behind Quantinuum’s quantum computer are decades old, the company itself had existed just 18 months. HKA was tasked with elevating Quantinuum’s profile within the industry and overcoming the following hurdles:
- The scientific breakthrough was extremely complex and challenging to explain.
- The H2 announcement had to accurately place the accomplishment in context without veering into the kind of hype that has plagued the industry.
- In the press, the default image of quantum computing had been the superconducting “chandelier,” effectively minimizing other architectures, including Quantinuum’s trapped ion design.
- Science media generally write about peer-reviewed research almost exclusively, not pre-print studies.
HKA understood that accurately communicating the H2 message required a solid understanding of the science as well as the business relevance to the industry. We started early and built excellent lines of communication with both company scientists and journalists. HKA:
- Strongly encouraged management to provide third-party validation of Quantinuum’s claims by scientists from academia.
- Translated the accomplishment into easier-to-understand terms and explained why it was newsworthy and distinctive in a sea of competing announcements.
- Allowed time for defining and refining the messaging, recognizing the complexity of quantum technology requires extra time to get the story right.
- Selected several top-tier science publications with massive audiences and influence as opposed to offering an exclusive to one outlet.
- Supported performance claims with detailed scientific data.
- Pushed for visuals to back up the research papers and reinforce Quantinuum’s distinctive place in the industry.
HKA’s deep understanding of the quantum sector and skill in messaging and media management accomplished the following:
- The H2 launch news was covered by Scientific American, Nature, Phys.org, New Scientist, Science News, Quanta, Optica, Interesting Engineering and more, representing more than 200,000,000 in total monthly visitors. Articles continued to be published after the launch of the H2 system, including Physics World which featured Quantinuum prominently with Google and Microsoft in an “Editor’s Choice” article at the top of the outlet’s home page.
- Coverage by Nature signaled to more mainstream media that this news was significant among the parade of weekly announcements about quantum computing progress.
- In follow-up articles, Quantinuum’s work was cited alongside Google’s research, compared favorably and described as “industry leading.”
Key Best Practices for Quantum PR & Marketing
- Let science shine in the messaging but simplify as much as possible.
- Always include the bigger business context.
- Look for opportunities to include an independent perspective in the messaging to reinforce credibility.
- Take the long view on establishing media credibility and use each press inquiry as an opportunity to build overall understanding of the industry, as well as the company.