Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to explain something, but the right words just wouldn’t come out? It can be difficult articulating something technical for many reasons. It also depends on who you’re speaking to and their understanding of the technology and terminology.
It’s our job as communicators in technology to find ways to tell stories, with the right words, with the right people. But it’s always a balance. Sometimes we need to use clever analogies to help explain something more complex, and other times we must be mindful not to oversimplify the content as our audience may have a clear understanding of the basics.
Beginning my journey in tech PR, I was flooded with jargon that I had to decipher. There were words and phrases I had never come across, yet the technology itself was part and parcel of my life. But I just don’t refer to it in this way. Take cloud computing, for instance. Some people are familiar with the technical term, while others aren’t, yet everyone uses cloud computing technology. Cloud computing involves delivering computing services, such as servers, software, and storage over the web. If you use Google Drive, that’s an example of cloud computing, if you share files via Dropbox, that’s another example. It wasn’t a term I used before, but it’s certainly one I use and am familiar with now!
Multi-level messaging is an effective way for organisations to communicate complex technical information. By providing three versions of the same message, those with no technical background, some technical background and a lot of technical background can all gain something from it. This approach ensures that everyone is communicated to taking into account their level of understanding. However, organisations must be careful not to assume someone’s comprehension of technology – some CEOs have great technical understanding, some rely on their great team to break it down for them. It’s common to start at mid-level messaging and gauging understanding then taking it from there after reading the room.
When I began my career in PR, a go to source to level-up my understanding for the companies we work with was their case studies. Reading how a company has implemented and used a certain technology really helped me connect the dots, as well as understand the impact of that specific technology on the wider industry. Customer storytelling or case studies form an integral part of any PR programme, there’s huge power in how it helps in articulating the use and benefits of a specific technology.
The world of tech comms may bring its share of communication challenges, like causing us to become tangled in the jargon. However, once you’re able to crack what I like to call the ‘communication code,’ you’re able to grasp how rich language is. Nowadays, progression is rooted in communication and it’s up to us to ensure that we’re adopting the right approach in delivering strong, relatable and easily digestible content.
Well… It’s that time of year again when all of us football fans find ourselves with a lot of spare time as the season comes to an end. Sure, there are the EURO qualifiers, but let’s be honest, they can’t compare to the excitement of watching Manchester City inevitably win the league, even though we kept convincing ourselves that teams like Liverpool and (surprisingly) Arsenal would take the title.
But enough about that, let’s talk about what really matters: The Champions League. Manchester City have finally done it. They have reached the pinnacle of club football and surpassed all expectations along the way, transforming from a club with limited success to a dominant force on the global stage. This extraordinary journey holds valuable lessons about the power of brand building, storytelling, and their impact on achieving unparalleled success.
Every year, City were seen as key contenders to finally achieve their ultimate goal – winning the Champions League. Yet, they repeatedly fumbled at unexpected hurdles. For example, there was the defeat to Lyon in 2020. It was a disappointing outcome, especially considering their triumph over Champions League royalty like Real Madrid in the same year. Additionally, there was the heartbreaking loss to Spurs in a 4-4 away goal battle. We’re not even going to speak about that time in Porto. But what City truly excelled at was creating a compelling story. At the end of every draw, I sat with my friends saying, ‘yeah if Liverpool don’t win it’ (there’s my delusional bias), ‘City are definitely winning it this year’, but they just couldn’t do it. Although it may not have been planned, people became emotionally invested in witnessing this super team finally conquer Europe for the first time. Similarly, in the realm of communications, businesses can captivate their audience by sharing their challenges, successes, and aspirations. This sparks interest and forms an emotional connection, inviting the audience to join the journey, root for the brand’s success, and eagerly await the next chapter of their story.
Manchester City spent most of their club history overshadowed by their neighbours in red, Manchester United. But now they’re the noisy neighbours that hold the title of ‘the best team in the world’. City were never considered underdogs and were always seen as favourites each year to win the Champions League, even after repeatedly getting knocked out in the most unexpected manner. The reason behind this perception was their consistent focus on building and solidifying their identity. City lacked the leader they needed, but when Pep Guardiola arrived at the Etihad with dreams of conquering the greatest league in the world, he created the confidence and drive in the dressing room. This transformed them into a team perceived as world beaters due to their style of play and how they presented themselves on and off the pitch.
Now, some of the things I am saying might sound familiar, as it is often the case that certain companies enjoy more visibility and popularity than others, but that’s not because they have more history or have been in the game for longer. Instead, it’s normally because the company has effectively built a stronger brand presence. It’s a result of actively engaging with their fans and stakeholders and leveraging media platforms to build on their brand image and create a strong relationship with their audience. In the world of comms, companies can distinguish themselves from their competitors and position themselves as industry leaders. Just as Manchester City’s rise to dominance was driven by their brand identity, companies need to invest in shaping their brand narrative, engaging with their audience, and presenting themselves with confidence and authenticity – ultimately shaping their reputation.
Companies should learn from City’s journey to greatness and leverage storytelling and brand building to help create deeper connections with their audiences and achieve the success they deserve.
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