Something I’ve found to be increasingly true in the communications profession is that there’s a wealth of untapped potential sitting under the surface. It’s why we’re seeing more and more chief communications officers join the ranks of executives at big tech organizations — and why progressive CEOs are investing more in this vertical.
The way I see it, communications and public relations (PR) professionals have the ability to bring tremendous value to the tech companies they work with. I’ve seen this potential both in-house, and on the agency side in the UK and on the West Coast. By sharing their insights with the right people at the right time, communications professionals can influence product launch timelines, help the product team refine a particular feature, and even push the business to rethink the product entirely. But we’re not there yet.
I find that most PR and communications teams — both locally in Vancouver and across the rest of the world — don’t maximize the true strategic value they could bring to their companies or clients. There’s a big gap between what we could be doing as a sector, and what we’re actually contributing. So, how do we change that? Here’s my advice.
Let’s start with internal comms teams: you have access to direct insights from your colleagues in the field, so to speak. You hear from sales and business development teams regarding the challenges they’re facing in the market and what other competitors are doing. You’ve had conversations with your customer success teams to get a true sense of how existing customers feel about the product. These are all data points you can take back to leadership so that they can make informed decisions around how to refine the product, adjust pricing, or develop a new competitive feature. By being this connective tissue between the various points of business, you can help make your company a leader in their market.
External comms and PR teams also have an important role to play here. PR professionals are constantly interacting with journalists, influencers, and analysts — and these individuals are often eager to share their perspectives on a business, product, or solution. As a comms professional, you have the power to take that feedback, whether they’re on your company’s product or that of a competitor, back to the business so that it can be leveraged by the product, sales, and even marketing teams. This is a tactic that I’m starting to see more and more as we work with our clients, and I predict it’s here to stay.
The communications profession has never had more opportunity ahead of it. Within the tech industry, it’s up to us to demonstrate our value and become strategic contributors to innovative companies breaking new ground. I can’t wait to see how we do it.
With 19 years in the PR & Communications space Dan Gamble has worked closely with tech brands with a global presence, as well as those at the start of their journey. Today, he leads his own team at DGPR, building strategic communications for innovative brands shaping the future.