In Merritt Group’s latest Lay of the Brand podcast episode, we hit the road for a special panel discussion recorded at George Mason University. At the event, attendees explored reputation management in the technology industry, including how challenges and strategies have evolved over time.
The panel was hosted by George Mason University, which invited Lay of the Brand to record the session as part Merritt Group’s involvement on the session — Merritt Group Senior Vice President and Partner Shahed Ahmed was a panelist alongside NPR National News Anchor Jack Spear and Microsoft's Communications Director, Tonya Klaus.
The group discussed top tips around managing a tech brand’s reputation — including insights and best practices such as:
1. Have conversations early on to make sure that your footprint and impact on the tech world is taking the ethical and moral approach.
We’ve already begun to see the incredibly positive impact technology can have on society, however, history has also shown us that there can be naysayers to any new development. With that in mind, it’s important for tech companies to be prepared to address the more challenging aspects of public perceptions of rapidly emerging technologies. Developing messages that educate on how technology can support and enhance not just the needs of business, but also serve greater value in society is important for technology brands.
2. Determine how privacy concerns top of mind for the tech space today could affect your brand reputation.
For companies that are young and emerging, it can be more difficult to establish trust and credibility with audiences if they don’t understand you are serious about protecting their sensitive data. That’s why companies like Microsoft make the strategic decision to hire a Chief Privacy Officer. As a more established brand that existed in the early days of tech, announcing its first privacy officer had a large impact on the brand’s perception. Address at the corporate - in this case, org chart level - what steps your company can take today to keep its reputation intact and assure stakeholders that you have their best interests in mind as you grow the business.
3. Consumer, technology and regulatory issues are key components to manage as part of a brand’s reputation.
From a journalistic perspective, the reporting done on the tech industry is crucial to keeping companies honest and consumers informed. However, the impact of a single story – positive or negative – can have a major outcome on how a brands reputation is perceived. A journalist’s job is not to worry about that reputation, but rather worry about the truth. In order to maintain a sturdy brand reputation, make sure your company is addressing the issues the public cares about truthfully and transparently.
Looking for more tips and insights on the intersection of marketing, PR and technology? Subscribe to Merritt Group’s Lay of the Brand podcast!