IMC firm Kommune Brand Communications along with techARC recently released TechKomms a recent report on PR and communication trends for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in India.
The report showed that the rising use of experiential communication, guerilla PR and the emergence of Research-Online-Purchase-Anywhere (ROPA) as key areas of influence while planning PR and communication strategies for the crucial ICT sector in India.
The report is based on scanning over 800 pieces of online data including press releases, white papers and case studies between January and June 2019.
The rise of B2B2C PR and micro-influencers for last-mile consumer connect
The report, essentially a qualitative analysis, says that while the impact of technologies is transformative, technologies require separate communication strategies. One for the enterprise consumer and the second for the actual end-user. Communications firms would need to develop very focused strategies for PR for each end-use, resulting in what the report calls, a 'B2B2C' PR plan.
For instance, most of the IoT and connected technologies will be used by individuals through an aggregator or a service provider. Some of the rudimentary examples are connected energy meters and connected healthcare systems.
Such a business model , says the TechKomms report, needs a strong last mile consumer connect. This is being enabled through micro-influencers rather than having celebrity brand ambassadors.
Top trends that will influence communication in the ICT sector
Policy impact on communciation
The report says that in countries like India the regulatory and policy discussion is still taking place. Consequentially, PR is challenged with how to keep brands visible and with communicating while the transition takes its own pace.
The set of emerging technologies are fundamentally disruptive. They cannot be explained as a normal PR pitch process. This poses new challenges to the companies who must acquire story-telling skills and be as creative as possible. The role of PR is widening fast and overlapping greatly with the marketing function, especially brand marketing activities.
ROPO to ROPA
The report comments that the trend in both enterprise and consumer tech is rapidly moving from ROPO ( Research -Online-Purchase-Offline) to ROPA (Research- Online-Purchase-Anywhere). This is making it important for all technology companies to have accurate content available at two levels. It should be made available for basic as well as advanced potential users who could access them to research before making a buying decision.
Trending Hashtags in ICT
Over the past 3-5 years, trending technologies are being discovered that become the industry keywords. Every brand then tries to leverage these to position itself as a stakeholder in such technologies.
For example, a few years back cloud and mobility were trending, after which SMAK (Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud) was the flavour. Similarly, every season there are a list of keywords around which the whole communication is built by a brand.
Over the past year or so, Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0, AI, ML, IoT, 5G, BlockChain, Immersive technology and a few more similar technologies are being used as the keywords trending in the industry. Every brand in the ICT domain is referring to these in all communication that positions them as players moving with the latest tide.
Recommendation for planning PR for ICT
The report concludes with a set of recommendations for planning your PR for this sector:
► Start investing in video with other immersive and engaging communication mediums.
► Instead of communicating technology-functional comparisons, focus on how the product or service offers ease in use and adds to the overall experiential journey of a user with the brand.
► Widen and broaden the communication pitch and start engaging with application domains. Leverage internal and external data to create industry benchmarks and barometers.
► Make communication as energetic and youthful as possible. That's what the brand needs to connect with.
► There is not much difference between the messaging of technology companies in India and other geographies. The only difference is what stage the company is of a customer life cycle.