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.

Breaking down technology jargon

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

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.

Real technology stories

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.

It’s all too common a question for a communications agency to hear – “but show me how a comms plan will generate sales and new leads”. Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as X+Y=Z. The foremost purpose of a communications agency is to shape the reputation of the company it’s working for. Influencing the opinions of customers, partners and even the company’s own employees. Organisations oftentimes underestimate the value of reputation shaping and instead, only want to see facts, figures and a solid ROI. 

Now I am by no means suggesting that there isn’t an ROI on comms, it is just notoriously difficult to measure. But if you want to follow the maths to see how the distribution of a press release results in sales then knock yourself out with this blog by Greg Jarboe

So hopefully I’ve got the numbers people on board by now and with the introduction of Google Analytics 4, this tracking process is only set to become easier. GA4 will use AI and predictive analytics to provide highly granular visitor data. This will mean better tracking of visitors from initial arrival, through various stages of engagement to the end goal, so lots to look forward to! 

But in all honestly, the impact of communications stretches far beyond tracing clicks to a website. It’s clear, of course, that you can attribute economic results to comms activities, but the true value lies in the shaping of your organisations reputation.  

In this day and age, customer loyalty is as fragile as ever. One poor user experience, a single bad review or even a certain political standing can deter customers from your website. So how do you change these opinions? Here are four simple steps to take to make your brand, and your reputation, shine.  

  1. Nurture your people. Good reputation comes from within. If your employees sing your praises, it will be easier for others to join in the tune. 
  1. Make your messaging clear. Preach outside what you believe inside. A poorly aligned brand sends the wrong message. 
  1. Don’t get complacent. You may be at the top of your game now but staying there takes work.  
  1. Know your audience. All the best bands make albums that they know will land with their fans.  

So, moral of the story – limiting comms to numbers and stats is like limiting an artist to only one colour. The painting will be complete but missing a wealth of potential and creativity. So, open your mind, broaden your paint palette, and let your reputation become a masterpiece. 

Firstly, while a little off topic, we have to acknowledge that we’ve all made it through the drab winter months and spring has finally sprung. Not to mention, like the flowers finally coming into bloom, surveys show there is also growing optimism looking towards the future.

Now, back to the big developments we’re seeing unfolding in the world of tech and we have to start with Deliveroo’s highly anticipated IPO — and subsequent flop. It has even been hailed as one of the worst market debuts on record. So, what went wrong? Read more on the Daily Telegraph. Deliveroo has also been under fire from employees protesting against their poor treatment by the company. The Guardian has more details on the recent demonstration and Firefly’s CEO Claire Walker shares her view on what makes a successful IPO here

There could soon be more bad news for the big players in the tech world, as the UK has launched a new watchdog to crack down on big tech. Find out more about the plans for tougher regulation and new rules granting consumers more power over their data on City AM. This may not be welcome news for the likes of Google, which is already in hot water for allegedly tracking and storing information on Android users without their consent. The Daily Telegraph has the full story.

Cryptocurrency has been dominating the media for months and continues to be all over the news, with the cryptocurrency market having just hit $2 trillion, but now it’s making headlines for other reasons. Research has revealed that Chinese bitcoin mining is generating more annual emissions than some European countries. The Metro outlines the full research and findings.   

There is, however, some more positive news. While we were likely all still stuffing our faces with chocolate, the UK’s electricity system was enjoying its greenest day ever on Easter Bank Holiday Monday, with favourable weather and low power demand causing a swell in renewable energy sources. BBC News has the full analysis. There are also some hopeful developments on the horizon in the world of gaming. The British Esports Association (BEA) is pushing for Esports to be more accessible to disabled gamers, with gaming tournaments exclusively for players with disabilities. BBC News has more on how the BEA is hoping to make this possible.

And finally, back to where we started. If you’re still in need of something to help brighten up these ongoing Covid days, Will.i.am may just have the thing for you. The rapper will release the ‘Xupermask’, a ‘smart mask’ with inbuilt noise cancelling headphones, a charging port and LED lights. It will set you back a pretty penny though, with a retail price of $299. Check it out on the Daily Mail.

Like to find more tech news and stories like these? Our daily Firewire newsletter collates the biggest tech news stories of the day in one handy email – sign up here.

It’s hard to believe that autumn is almost upon us (especially with the ongoing heatwaves) – but with so much happening, it’s not surprising the year is flying past. If you’ve been struggling to keep track and worried you may have missed something, we’ve got you covered. Here’s our round up of the latest and greatest news in the world of tech.

One story that has been dominating the headlines is TikTok and its possible US ban. Needing to distance itself from Chinese parent company, ByteDance, TikTok started the quest for a US partner and the question of who this will be has finally been answered. It’s Oracle who has pipped others (including giant Microsoft) to the post. Will this deal satisfy all parties – and what’s Oracle going to do with the partnership? We’ll have to wait and see. You can read more about this story on the Guardian.  

Another big deal that took place this month was Nvidia’s $40bn takeover of Softbank’s Arm. To find out more details, check out this article on the Financial Times. The pandemic has prompted many of these mergers and acquisitions, according to Reuters, global M&A volumes were booming in September – and it’s tech that’s leading the way. Tech is also seeing plenty of external investment this month, with the likes of Klarna receiving $650m in funding from BlackRock and GIC – and it’s now valued at a $11bn. Read more on that on the Financial Times.

There’s also more good news. Following the likes of Apple and Microsoft declaring their commitment to becoming carbon neutral, Google has announced that it’s actually successfully achieved that goal – its carbon footprint is now zero. Read more about how Google has managed to get there on BBC News.

For others, though, September wasn’t such a great month. Facebook had a falling out with Australia at the beginning of the month over the country’s planned news sharing law, requiring the company to pay publishers for their content. You can read more on this on the Telegraph.  And matters haven’t much improved, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently coming under fire and accused of being a “right-wing echo chamber”. You can check out Zuckerberg’s interview with Axios on HBO here. Finally, Apple and Fortnite have also been continuing to battle it out after Fortnite developer, Epic, was removed from the App Store last month. For the latest on this story, go to BBC News.

NGINX, Inc., the company based on the popular open source project and offering a suite of technologies designed to develop and deliver modern applications, has appointed technology marketing communications agency Firefly Communications Group to handle communications in the UK, France and Germany. Firefly will work in partnership with PAN Communications in the US and PR Deadlines in Australia to cover NGINX’s priority regions.

Firefly will increase NGINX’s brand awareness across all three European markets, with the agency set to handle media relations activity including press relations, speaker programs, awards, and news hijacking. Firefly will also manage analyst relations activities, directly supporting the lead pipeline.

Claire Walker, CEO and founder of Firefly added: “It’s rare to work with a company that affects so many people, but is so modest about its achievements. The simple fact that over half of all global web traffic touches NGINX code at some stage is mind-blowing, but we’re also looking forward to getting down into the technology and delving into the world of containers, microservices and making NGINX’s story front-of-mind with its prospects everywhere.”

“Through our open source roots, NGINX has incredible brand recognition and we’ve been achieving rapid growth, especially in the EMEA region. We needed to find the right agency to partner with us for the next stage of our business,” said Jesica Church, NGINX Director of Brand and MarCom. “With strong experience in multiple markets to help execute our initiatives, Firefly is already helping NGINX expand our voice in the tech landscape.”

NGINX powers two thirds of the world’s busiest sites and applications including Buzzfeed, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest and SoundCloud. The NGINX open source project started in 2002 and was formally created as a company in 2011. Since then, it has achieved 100 percent year-on-year growth for four straight years and has recently raised $43m in Series C funding to help accelerate its mission to digitally transform the enterprise and modernise applications. Today, millions of innovators choose NGINX and NGINX Plus for delivering their sites and applications with performance, reliability, security and scale.

The internet has transformed the way companies operate. They can scale up to reach a global audience from just a desk and computer (ok, the desk is optional). There are no mountains, rivers or seas high enough, wide enough or deep enough to stop them reaching their audience – whether that be customers, partners, investors, or stakeholders.

With access to the internet, the only real barrier is that of language. Cloud services and mobility have made access to computing resources even easier. Companies don’t need to invest a fortune in an IT infrastructure, back-up, storage or computational power to operate a business anymore.

But how can companies connect at both a 1:1 level with customers, whilst also maintaining an international appeal and have geographical reach?

The global PR campaign conundrum

Developing messages and PR campaigns that work on both levels is not without its challenges. According to leading advertising pioneer Sir John Hegarty, creating communications to scale ultimately weakens messaging. He recently told The Independent, “Globalisation has made it hard. I have to create a piece of communication that works not only in the UK but in Malaysia, in Germany…and all the vested interests are hard to convince.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean that all global PR campaigns will need to be watered-down to work. There are two key challenges in developing and executing international campaigns: firstly, communications professionals need to develop a campaign that can work both locally and internationally; secondly, they need to understand and effectively communicate with the various decision-makers within the business (who will often represent various geographic regions).

Tackle your global PR campaign with a global team

With these things in mind, do businesses always have to sacrifice effective and creative PR campaigns so that it can fit a one-size-fits-all approach for all its targets markets?

Having lived, studied and worked across various markets in the US and the UK, I have realised that the most effective campaigns are developed by teams made up of diverse backgrounds and diverse knowledge.

When working with a team made up of individuals from different international backgrounds, you’re not limited to a singular viewpoint. International teams are more adaptive to trends and have a better understanding as to whether an integrated campaign will work across some or all of the targeted markets. On the flip-side, international teams have the unique ability to adapt campaigns to meet various regions’ needs. And finally, through creative conflict and the collection of diverse perspectives, you will find improved creativity, problem-solving and decision within international teams.

In terms of communicating with the various decision-makers during the campaign development and execution stages, an international team will overall be better at liaising with foreign decision-makers and other relevant parties. The team will provide more effective customer service by understanding and accommodating the various groups and needs. More importantly, they will be more convincing when putting campaign ideas forward. As a result, more creative ideas will make it through the approvals process.

Bringing it all together

As a result of globalisation and technology trends, the world as we’ve known it has changed and will only continue to do so. Businesses must be able to speak to their various markets on both a local and international scale—but without watering down the key messages.

Global businesses need a PR team that can effectively communicate to all targeted audiences on both levels. At Firefly we understand that having an international team to support PR campaigns is important to future business success (a third of our own team in London is from outside the UK!). The benefits of incorporating an international team simply makes good business sense—you need to choose a communications team which can help you communicate effectively across the globe and let you get on with helping your business take on the world.

Firefly is excited to announce that it has begun work with UK-based data storage and analytics start-up, Acunu.

It has been suggested that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. While the concept of monetising data existed when only 10% of the world’s information did, data-driven companies are now looking for solutions to manage much greater volumes, variety and velocities of data than ever before.

Acunu solves the problem of computing rich, low-latency analytics over large datasets incrementally, producing dynamic results in real-time. This allows Acunu customers to power applications, live dashboards, etc. triggered by events in real-time.

What’s more, Acunu is an example of British technological innovation within an emerging global industry. Founded in 2009 at Cambridge Technology Computer Lab, Tim Moreton and Tom Wilkie have successfully attracted European funding.

Acunu has a growing list of customers from start-up companies to global technology super-powers, all of whom are working with Acunu because it means that they have the ability to manage data through a scalable and cost-effective solution.

Over the coming months, the team here at Firefly is looking forward to telling this fascinating business profile story, with compelling case studies of how big data is being turned into huge commercial opportunities.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

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