Last week’s lunch with a former colleague confirmed that technology is the most innovative and exciting sector in business PR. A space Positive Marketing is proud to work in. He is about to start-up a new style of tech community events, hard on the heels of previous success (which only served to increase his desire to do things differently) and pondering out loud the new economics of today’s cloud-enabled business models;
“It used to be that your first business outlays were for office space, a server and Microsoft licences. I don’t need any of these. So why would I do things the same way this time around?” he mused.
In embracing this change right from the start, he is, at least for now, still a relatively lone voice. The benefits and drawbacks of Google-equipped, smartphoned-up and Skype-connected virtual teams have yet to sink in for many present-day Europe businesses. But this desire to innovate should be a source of real pride for those of us trying to change the world with ones and noughts. Such passion for new technology is rare outside the US – even in the UK technology marketing sector. As fellow tech enthusiasts, we view this rise and rise of geek culture, even if gently mocked by The IT Crowd, as a good thing.
Yet in a former role, forced by corporate dictate to buy ‘Corporate PR’ from some of the fanciest brand names in the PR business, this sort of technology enthusiasm was shockingly absent and in some cases, frowned upon. Similarly, years earlier, I worked with tech journalist colleagues who openly harboured ambitions to be music and car industry writers (two former news reporter colleagues did just that). Tech for them was a stepping stone to the limelight, instead of the glitzy cauldron of innovation we see.
The worst culprits have always been the UK’s larger multi-discipline agencies. Many have trophy HQs near to London’s shopping districts, stuffed with disillusioned time-servers looking for their ‘big break’ in fashion PR, or even in front of the camera. These would-be thespians ended up in the wrong career, so I will spare the blushes of the major agencies who pitched campaign ideas which were perfect, in fact recognisable, TV gameshow scripts.
Our industry deserves better. This is tech marketing people. Not fluff, not fashion and only occasionally a little Rock n’ Roll. So if you think you really want to be using software to autotune your voice for Simon Cowell, rather than explaining which version of cloud computing works best, leave the innovation to the enthused amongst us.