Louie St Claire Harvard

Opinion: Why brands need PR to make technology personal

Louie St Claire, Harvard’s Group CEO, argues that tech brands must invest in PR to connect with their audiences and outlines four simple steps to engage tech consumers.

Whether for work or play, our connection with tech brands has become increasingly emotional and social. Our smartphones, tablets and laptops are extensions of our personalities, allowing us to be connected every minute of every day.

Tech is an integral part of the underlying narrative for almost every major new story too, from the role social media played in the election of Donald Trump to Ryanair’s scheduling problems.

This means there’s a huge opportunity for tech brands to create more meaningful connections with their audiences. But consumers are more demanding and unpredictable than ever.

Harvard’s latest research show that 84% of people think it’s more important for a tech company to be useful than liked, while only 57% are loyal to any particular brand. What’s more, consumers want tech brands to do more than just make things – 60% want to have their ideas heard in the product process, while 54% think tech companies should give back to society.

So what does this mean for PR?

In this always-on and socially connected world where shared experiences and opinions are the norm, it’s time to put PR at the top table.

This is about persuading your audience to buy from you, work for you and give you “license to operate” in society. People want to understand a tech brand’s purpose and motives, and the only way you can do that is with the right comms in place.

As a tech PR team there are four key steps you should be taking to engage with your audience more effectively.

1. Understand your audiences

Different audiences want different things. For example, reliability in tech is important to older people, while younger people care more about the attractiveness of what they buy.

Tech companies need to understand what their audiences are looking for and communicate these attributes in the right way. Consider separate comms campaigns for different groups, taking the time to understand the elements of tech products that are unique to them and honing in on those.

2. Don’t expect consumers to come to you

In today’s crowded marketplace, tech brands need to fight for attention and actively seek out their audience. To do this you need to be personal. Know what your audience wants and personalise your approach to keep them engaged.

3. Help people tell their own stories

People want things and experiences they can talk about with their friends and their social networks. Give your audience a platform to tell their own stories and use this to understand and build relationships with them, helping to feed this back into the business.

4. Be teachers, mentors and agents of change

People like it when tech companies give back to society and put people’s interests ahead of their own. You need to define the cause that is intrinsically linked to the brand’s beliefs. This will allow you to drive positive change and be genuine in your message.

Technology has irrevocably changed the world and our expectations of tech companies have been redefined as a result. Now it’s time for tech brands and their comms to demonstrate the leadership, transparency and collaborative approach their audiences want.

To discover more about how to build a tech brand with earned media, join TechRadar’s Marc Chacksfield and Kaizo director Steph MacLeod for this month’s Cision webinar. Click the image below now to register.

Building a tech brand with earned media

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