From defining controversial technological innovations to relaying empathy during times of crisis, there are many challenges when it comes to successful storytelling in the tech industry. In the latest episode of Merritt Group’s very own Lay of the Brand podcast, we continue the discussion from our panel hosted by George Mason University. You can check out part one of the discussion here.
Merritt Group Senior Vice President and Partner, Shahed Ahmed, was a panelist along with NPR National News Anchor, Jack Speer, and Microsoft's Communications Director, Tonya Klaus. The three experts discussed some key methods for navigating the ever-changing market pressures in the tech industry, and why it’s so important to maintain brand identity through good storytelling. Based on their tips, here are the top do’s and don’ts:
Do: Make sure you’re crafting your narrative – and sticking to it. Every protagonist in the widely acclaimed “hero’s journey” faces trials and tribulations before reaching the point of return in their stories, and tech companies are no exception. The industry is on an arc, and it’s coming down to how technology can be used for good or evil. Public relations and marketing professionals need to determine how to tell the story of how technology is ultimately making the world better, delivering value to customers, etc. Be the hero in your story and explain how you are solving customers’ most critical and complex problems with innovative technology solutions.
Do: Know your audience. If you don’t have a good pulse on your audience and how they react to industry news, you won’t know the best way to craft your story to have the greatest impact. Communicating a strong position on what some may deem controversial could either infuriate your audience, or it may make them more confident in your ability to respond to societal issues. Gather information on what your audience is likely to value and you’ll know how to communicate your position appropriately so it resonates - not alienates.
Don’t: Throw caution to the wind when taking a stance. It’s also important to note that different parts of the world view key issues, like privacy, differently. Some may praise the use of facial recognition technology for unlocking cell phones, but others may see what you find convenient to be just another way for the government to capture more personal information. Crafting the narrative around these controversial developments is key – are they contributing to the greater good or stripping the public of their rights?
Storytelling in one of the most dynamic industries isn’t always easy, but staying up-to-date on conversations and analyzing your audience’s response can help you navigate.
Looking for more tips and insights on the intersection of marketing, PR and technology? Subscribe to Merritt Group’s Lay of the Brand podcast!