Humanize your storytelling for a tech product - Srihari Palangala, Marketing Head, Dell EMC

by Srihari Palangala

Over the years, technology has pervaded all aspects of day-to-day life for most of us. People today are spoilt for choice when it comes to technology. The consumer electronics marketplace is flooded with a plethora of products, each promising more advanced technology than the other. People display a strong brand loyalty. Even technology at the workplace is more democratized than ever before as people seek to assert their personal preferences. The Bring-Your-Own-Devices (BYOD) trend is a great example of this.

At the same time, technology has been evolving rapidly and has become more complex than ever before. This presents a challenge to marketers, especially those working with deep tech or B2B offerings. How do you convey the power, capability and superiority of the technology while steering clear of confusing jargon? How do you humanize the technology, such that people can make sense of the technology and its possible impact on their lives, or on the life of their organisation? Storytelling is important for your strategic/tactical messages; and consciously bringing in humanizing elements in the story make the message stick. Here are a few techniques that will help.

Be Direct (but not necessarily only factual)

It is widely said that the attention span of humans is now less than that of a goldfish. Given this, people are unlikely to have the patience to tolerate long-winding narratives that eventually get to the point that you are trying to make. This is equally true when it comes to technology communication as well. Let your communication be as direct, clean and clear as possible. Context is important too, while being direct. Aim to address your audience when they are likely to be receptive to your marketing communication. Unless you can credibly establish a connection, marketing a data centre on Tinder might not get the desired results!

Make it visual

Most people are more adept at processing information visually rather than in the form of text. Communicating the benefits of your technology through compelling visuals is far more likely to stick with your audience rather than relying on reams of text. Given the growing complexity of technology, using visual media can help simplify the process of education to a large extent.

Demonstrate Impact

Technology for the sake of technology is pointless. The real power of technology is in its exceptional ability to bring about a drastic change in how we lead our lives. People most often don’t care much about the features and other bells and whistles around the technology. What matters to them is the ’How will this make a difference to me’ factor. That’s why technology marketing is all about storytelling. Instead of focusing on the technology itself, focus on the tangible impact that adoption of this technology is likely to bring. Be liberal with using references and use cases because stories that people are familiar with are likely to resonate much better. The overarching benefits of the technology need to be put front and centre – whether it is top- line growth or bottom-line savings, or in terms of greater competitiveness, better people engagement, ability to deliver superior customer experiences or creating a positive difference.

Drive Home the Urgency

Given that we live in an era of information overload and have such short attention spans, simply knowing about great technology is unlikely to get our audience to move to the next step in the sales cycle. What drives people is a sense of urgency that demonstrates not only the impact of technology, but also the cost of inaction.

Address the fear factor with authenticity

Circumvent any mind block or inertia about technology by addressing it using simple language, relatable examples and authenticity as these are important to ensure success. Break away from complicated technology architectures and jargon and instead, keep it simple. Technology buying is a complex, repeated, involved and challenging process (more so in a B2B context). Given the high stakes, buyers consider not just the technological prowess but also trust in the vendor. So, while most technology buyers are extremely rational in their approach, providing reassurance and comfort is equally important.

Figure 1: The Ford Motor Transformation Story (From the Dell Technologies Website)

Figure 2: The Chitale Dairy in India leveraging Technology - Making the Transformation Story Real Everyday (From the Dell Technologies Website)

Given the multitude of marketing channels at our disposal today, controlling the story telling journey is extremely hard. Therefore, we need to build a relatable story that can stand independently on its own at each stage of the buying journey.

The Dell Technologies’ ‘Make it Real’ brand campaign is designed on humanizing the power of our technology portfolio. In this campaign, we have focused on REAL outcomes that we drive for our customers leveraging the power of a broad spectrum of technology from end point devices to the data-center and the cloud. The campaign stories of end customers (from dairy farms to the most complex engineering businesses) are carried far and wide across a spectrum of marketing channels from OOH, TV, digital and at our events.

No matter how complex the technology, it is helpful to remember that in the end, technology is of the people, for the people and by the people. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on the ‘human’ aspect at all times.