The Tech PR 'Trick' : From 3Com to Eiratech Robotics.
‘Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose’ – ‘the more it changes, the more it stays the same’ - so observes our friend, the 19th century French writer and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse.
Working in tech PR has exposed me to many different technologies and verticals: from banking technology to mobile technology and m-commerce, to risk and compliance to semiconductors and indoor location to robotics and logistics. And while the technologies and subject matters and stories are wildly different, the PR approach is generally the same or at least, very similar. Even today, with the changing media landscape, the basic principles of marketing communications remain the same as they were when I was faxing Special Edition ‘Your Last Rolo’ photocalls to the pictures desks of the national newspapers in time for St. Valentine’s Day.
My first ‘proper’ tech job was for the launch of a high tech manufacturing plant in Ballycoolin here in Dublin for a company called 3Com. “One day, all personal computers will be able to be linked to one another Dave…” the 3Com ceo Donal Connell patiently explained to me, “and 3Com provides the connectivity”. (Sure they will Donal…).
Even then though, notwithstanding the forward-looking nature of the product, the PR principles remained the same, even though we used rudimentary tools like faxed press releases (ask your parents, Millennials...), and ‘designed and printed invitations’ couriered to the invitees (ask your parents about this too, Millennials...) to communicate.
From that day to this though, the PR 'trick' has always been to identify your audience, and then identify your appropriate media, and finally to design a programme to tell your story over time, using your everyday company milestones as content.
Of course, dealing with something as specific as technology, one imagines a 'specialist knowledge' is required. However, early on, I realised there is actually a limit to the amount of technical information the PR person needed to know in each job - that the true value the PR person adds to the company they work for is his or her own specialisation: recognising the stories, identifying the storytelling channels, and the media, right down to the individual writers and editors, and of course then having the brass neck to make it happen. This has been my M/O for every job I have ever done. And it really does work, no matter the diversity of seemingly 'specialist' subject matter.
Meantime, fast forward to April 2016, and I find myself once again back in Ballycoolin, and once again in the presence of a tech visionary. “One day, all warehouses will be staffed primarily by robots…” Eiratech Robotics ceo Alexey Tabolkin patiently explains to me, “and we produce the robots and systems to enable enterprises of all sizes to take advantage of that”. (Sure they will Alexey…).
(Pic: Common Fern and Rosemary in Flower)