Three PR Tech Trends to Watch in 2023

Planning for 2023? Here's what tech decision-makers want.

If I had to distill the past year into a word, it would be: erratic. And it seems as though this economic and political unpredictability will continue in 2023. To thrive in this unruly environment will require agile marketers who can turn on a dime to drive impact.

The good news is that consumers are increasingly turning to technology brands as a bridge to the next normal of work, play and everyday life. Part of the reason is because tech executives helped keep the business running during COVID-19 lockdowns, enabling growth and serving as a bulwark of stability — a sentiment that lingers post-pandemic.

For brands looking to make full use of this opportunity, here are my three predictions for the coming year.

1. Tech Will Power the Future of Work

The surge in affordable augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology and the cultural shift catalyzed by the coronavirus pandemic have spearheaded the development of immersive virtual experiences as viable spaces for human connection.

Enterprises are looking to AR/VR tech to create personalized experiences for learning and development that are intuitive, effective and scalable. In other cases, virtual environments can be used to practice or teach safety procedures without putting lives at risk.

Aerospace tech pioneer Airbus is partnering with Microsoft to create “mixed reality” spaces in 3D that allows trainees to learn and practice without the need for an actual physical aircraft or parts. The use of holographic tech allows designers to virtually test their designs, decreasing the time spent by 80%. Digital information can even be overlaid on a real piece of machinery to help with complex tasks, allowing Airbus to cut manufacturing time by a third while improving quality.

Artificial Intelligence is also on the rise. Besides the tremendous buzz surrounding ChatGPT, which has over 1 million users and counting, tech-marketing agency Codeword welcomed its first AI interns to bolster creative output, rather than the insights and analytics we get from more traditional automated marketing technologies.

The comms challenge: The multi-channel nature of AR/VR and mixed reality challenges communicators to reconsider how the difference in platforms and context will change their messaging.

2. Employee Engagement Will Remain Key — Especially in Telework

As the pressures of today’s world continue to mount, tech companies are, more than any other sector, acutely aware that the work landscape is transforming. Staying engaged with their stakeholders is essential for tech brands to continue to chart a path forward that’ll enable them to effectively connect, stay relevant and manage through the continued change ahead.

According to the latest Brands in Motion report, “The Bravery Mandate: Make It Real, ” tech decision-makers unanimously believe that the top group tech brands need to collaborate with are employees. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how we work, with digital transformations that have persisted even till today. Many workers have opted to stay remote, creating a more fluid workforce that is also benefiting from an expanded borderless and inclusive talent pool.

What this means is that employee engagement is more pivotal than ever as communicators take on new challenges of communicating across time zones and workspaces. Brands must continue to demonstrate what they are doing for their employees in terms of work-life balance policies and show the evidence on their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.

The comms challenge: It's time to reassess your one-size-fits-all approach to employee comms.

3. Rethink the Social Responsibility of Brands (and Their Leaders)

As community groups remain preoccupied with managing pandemic-related issues, consumers and decision-makers are turning to brands to address societal issues that public institutions are unable or unwilling to effectively address.

This presents an opportunity for tech brands and their leaders to step forward and collaborate with key stakeholders such as regulators to positively impact societal issues.

84% of B2B tech decision-makers say that during times of high societal division, businesses and organizations have a moral obligation to help bridge differences. Brands in Motion 2022: “The Bravery Mandate: Make It Real”

In addition, 74% of tech decision-makers in Asia-Pacific (APAC) believe that brands should make a multi-year investment towards a single issue or cause instead of diversifying, and inadvertently diluting, the impact of their efforts. In other words, there is a strong preference for focused, long-term commitments over short-term ones.

The comms challenge: Leaders must become a lot more nuanced about the way(s) they communicate. You must be a communicator, and a convener; think of your role as a weaver that brings together different POVs into a single, coherent tapestry.

At the same time, decision-makers want to see you leading by example and being transparent about your journey. Provide progress updates by answering public questions — and do so often. It’s also important for CEOs and other C-suite executives to share what they are doing personally to achieve goals. For example, more than half of tech decision-makers in Australia said that executive leaders’ behaviors in the industry would influence their decision to support the brand.

58% of tech decision-makers in APAC want to see brand leaders answering questions about progress towards goals. Brands in Motion 2022: “The Bravery Mandate: Make It Real”

Communicators are notorious perfectionists. However, in this volatile world, perfection is no longer a choice. We don’t always have to have all the answers, all the time. Instead, tech brands that show their e¬fforts and vulnerabilities while progressing towards big goals will go a long way in connecting to audiences and building authenticity.

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