Karen Clyne, Executive Vice President & Technology Sector Lead at BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), explains how technology companies can best utilize PR. Karen also shares her excitement about the Metaverse and its growth opportunities. Karen also highlights the role of education when working with client partners.
DOUG: It’s been in the news quite a bit about tech companies having layoffs, but our next guest actually thinks it’s important for these tech companies to be increasing their PR and marketing spending. Karen, why is it so important that they continue to invest in PR and marketing?
Karen: Well, it’s a real critical time, and resources are required to keep communications internally, externally at the forefront. So arguably more investment in terms of the public relations and integrated communications function is real critical to keep that story telling moving forward and really leaning in on some of the trends and other opportunities out there to really coalesce and really provide an opportunity to convey a brand in a very critical time and space.
DOUG: Yeah. Given your experience working in this sector and your current role, you probably have really good advice on how tech companies can best utilize PR in this environment.
KAREN: Absolutely. And I think, you know, looking holistically at the communications mix is important. So even down to the internal and employee engagement and communications to brand purpose and corporate reputation and crisis communications. So, I think all of those aspects of the mix are really critical and should be evaluated by tech companies even in these, you know, current technology environments and changes, economies and all the surrounding activity around us. It’s real imperative to be to be looking at those opportunities and ways to convey.
DOUG: Yeah, and there are challenges after layoffs, companies have been doing that with those that remain may have survivor guilt. People’s roles are shifting. They may have to take on more responsibility. Does PR have a role in helping with that transition?
KAREN: I think absolutely. You know, I think if there is no constant, it’s change. And that’s sort of the beauty of PR and communications coming in to help manage those moments and various cycles. So, I think in terms of just the shifts, the transitions that are happening in the tech space, particularly now PR and communications is one of those areas of business and it is a critical aspect of business to keep those resources and communications steady and present through that duration.
DOUG: Does the role of the agency change in this kind of environment? Are you finding you’re being asked to do different things or even sort of leading some of the companies you work with to do things a bit differently?
KAREN: The agency really serves as that trusted partner when things are moving forward, when things are stagnant, you know, in terms of those business cycles, the PR agency role is really that partner, guiding, providing different levels of counsel through the different workstreams and changes. So, I think really, it’s a it’s a critical role and a partner, trusted partner role. And we’re seeing across our client base, you know, really rising to that occasion, you know, and really serving that capacity to our client partners and C-suite.
DOUG: Yeah. Are you seeing any cuts with the internal tech teams as part of these layoffs, which might be expanding the role of what the agency provides? Because obviously, this strategy, this guidance, there’s arms and legs to execute?
KAREN: Yeah. I mean, I think our team has that sort of versatility and we’re able to, the beauty of the technology sector and team is really it sits across all levels and disciplines of the organization. So there’s a lot of movement. And so, we’re seeing the ability to move those resources to the needs of the business and certainly the needs of our tech and business partners.
DOUG: One of the things that you’re really advanced at is using the emerging technology and platforms to assist in what you and your clients are trying to accomplish. Can you share a little bit about some of those platforms that you’re engaging with?
KAREN: Yeah, Metaverse is definitely top of mind for all, if not most of our client partners. I think pandemic has afforded a little escalation on that path just to afford new opportunities of experience and ways to engage with technology. And I think we’ll see more and more of that, especially in the realms of education and health and medical. I think it’s one of those that is an adoption opportunity as well, and it’ll take some time. But I think the marriage of technology and experience there really equates nicely with the whole Metaverse example. And I know our clients are certainly eager and excited. Many are implementing initiatives around Metaverse in their day to day, whether it’s in an internal capacity or with partners and customers as part of the overall experience and brand opportunity.
DOUG: That’s really interesting that you’re leading the way on that as well. One last question. Is the area of security, how does that fit into conversations about technology and what are some of the many levels that are involved?
KAREM: Well, every client is having the security conversation and data protection and automation as part of either larger digital transformation initiatives or just general best practices of business. I think we live in very unique times and circumstances. So, there is guarding to do. There’s a lot of protecting to do and it’s top of mind for all of our clients and executive leaders, even at the board level. So, we’re going to continue to see those layers of security, identity, and data protection as part of ongoing conversations, certainly. And as we’re seeing with our technology team, really an opportunity to support our business partners on that front.
DOUG: A key part of the role of the tech person is education, both to your client and within your own organization. What are some of the key tactics approaches that you take to make that a successful endeavor?
KAREN: Education is key. You know, our tech teams certainly have keeps very close to all the trends, the new cycles, new emerging opportunities, and innovations that can be helpful to, you know, building narratives and storylines and storytelling for our client partners. So, I think there’s absolutely learnings and studying to be done as we explore and further around the education, we see this not only in the emerging technologies but environments, like Metaverse, and how those are adopted can be implemented to enhance and experience a message of purpose. So, we’re really excited about that. But education is key as part of our day to day, not only as team members, but educators to our client partners.
DOUG: Right. Well, don’t think I could have had a better experience speaking with you and helping you share your tremendous knowledge on such important topics. Thanks so much for being with us.
KAREN: Thank you so much for the opportunity.