Innovation is speeding up exponentially, thanks to the power of big data, artificial intelligence and smaller, more powerful devices. Seven or eight years ago, when I was the business and technology editor of the BBC News website, I used to quip that “all companies are tech companies now.” Back then, it was a stretch; today, it’s a home truth.
The speed of change poses huge challenges for brands. They must constantly monitor and re-evaluate how they relate to customers, partners and the world around them. Companies that don’t fine-tune their communications marketing strategy undermine their customer relationships and set themselves up for massive reputational damage.
At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, plenty of case studies showed just how important technology has become for reputation management. I’m not just talking about the gathering and analysis of data or having the right digital strategy for earned and paid social to get a brand’s message across. After all, we live in an age where brands find it difficult to use facts when they need to trump fake news.
Rather, I see technology as a tool that enables brands to build empathy and the deep customer relationships that help them weather reputational storms. Thanks to technology, brands can now act with certainty by precisely identifying the concerns and emotions of their consumers and speaking to them; by deepening these connections as they use technology to create and tailor brand experiences; and by delivering them highly targeted and at scale. Technological transformation is more than a challenge for brands. It’s a huge opportunity.
In other words, dealing with technological transformation is not a question of digital reputation management. Rather, it’s about protecting your reputation in a digital world.
Tim Weber is editorial director, EVP, Edelman UK.