The Client

STRmix Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR). The STRmix team creates world leading, award winning software that allows forensic biologists to analyze, interpret and investigate DNA profiles more efficiently and effectively.  They do this through leading edge scientific research, high quality software development and comprehensive training and support delivery. STRmix has been developed by New Zealand Crown Research Institute, ESR, with Forensic Science SA (FSSA).

The Challenge

At the urging of New Zealand’s U.S. Embassy, the Institute for Environmental Science and Research (ESR) – New Zealand’s Crown Research Institute – contacted Pugh & Tiller PR for help. Facing customer fallout resulting from some negative media coverage, ESR asked the firm to create a communications initiative for STRmix, sophisticated forensic software developed by ESR to resolve mixed DNA profiles found in criminal cases involving more than one perpetrator.

The Solution

Pugh & Tiller PR responded by developing and implementing a proactive outreach campaign designed to directly target STRmix’s primary customer base, i.e., forensic scientists, attorneys (primarily prosecutors and defense teams), and the law enforcement community. Relying primarily on media and influencer outreach, the program emphasized: the success of STRmix in producing usable, interpretable, and reliable DNA results; its grounding in proven scientific methodologies routinely used in biology, physics, engineering, and weather prediction; and its admissibility in court proceedings based on peer review and acceptance by the scientific community.

The Results

The campaign, which has grown from a short-term project into an ongoing initiative, has revolved around (1) announcements of software updates, new forensic lab customers, and cases in which STRmix was employed by either the prosecution or defense, and (2) thought leadership bylines and commentaries. These have led to high-profile media placements in a wide range of trade media aimed at the software’s target audiences, including Police Chief Magazine, Sheriff & Deputy, Lab Manager, Select Science, Forensic Magazine, The Jurist, and Prosecutor. Selectively, the firm also secured positive coverage for STRmix in local mainstream media (typically during local trials in which STRmix was used to help prosecute or exonerate a suspect), as well as such national media as The New York Times and National Public Radio.

More importantly, the consistent positive coverage generated in the media and on the STRmix social channels resulted in the continued growth of wider adoption of the software in forensic labs throughout the U.S. and abroad. At present, STRmix is being used by 64 forensic labs throughout the U.S. (including national labs run by the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives), as well as labs in Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, and Canada. It has also been used to interpret DNA evidence in more than 220,000 cases worldwide, including 83 successful admissibility hearings.

INDUSTRY

Technology

SERVICES PROVIDED

Media & Influencer Relations