Feedback Loop: Communication in the age of the ‘techlash’

25th November 2018

By Amy Drummond, AprilSix Proof

The term ‘techlash’ – the backlash against the technology industry – was shortlisted recently for the Oxford Word of the Year, which is awarded to a word or expression “judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year.” The techlash has certainly surged in its intensity this year.

Recently Google attracted negative press for taking over a controversial health app, a move which, according to the BBC, one expert described as ‘trust demolition’. There are of course numerous other recent examples of the techlash, from Facebook to Uber.

So, what does the growing techlash mean for those working in technology communications, and other sectors such as science that increasingly use technological applications – such as artificial intelligence – in research, development or delivery of service?

We recently published a report ‘Feedback Loop: Communication in the age of the techlash’ that argues PR should now be, more than ever, a two-way mode of communication. An effective public relations resource must be able to tune into the full spectrum of stakeholder concerns, and influence the board to not just change the way it communicates, but the way it does business.

Not only does this make sense from an ethical perspective, but a business perspective too. A damaged reputation impacts the bottom line.

Organisations need to ensure that their vision, values, beliefs and objectives are understood. Complex business models need to be explained, and their net benefits appreciated. PR and communications are in the perfect position to initiate a feedback loop: companies can ensure their strategies take into account the concerns and priorities of disparate stakeholders; and disparate stakeholders can be assured that their voices are genuinely being heard.

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