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You’re sitting in an immersion session with a new client who is bringing the latest, most robust technology to market in some category. Maybe it’s a disruptive approach to a category like higher ed, digital advertising, or healthcare. Or perhaps the client is a biotech company working on an amazing new compound that fights disease in an extraordinary new way. Four hours into your session, you look around the room at the sticky notes and sheets of easel paper loaded with information and you realize something important: Nowhere in all the data points do you talk about what the science or technology means to the people you’re trying to reach. Where’s the human element in the story we’re trying to tell? What impact does it create in people’s lives?
Sometimes when you talk with a room full of chemists, data scientists, and engineers, you get a very close look at the science or technology behind what you’re doing but you often overlook what it means to the human beings you’re communicating with. Or least you can feel that the emphasis might be heavily concentrated on the technical side of things.
It’s important to remember – and easy to forget – that your end audience isn’t made up of engineers, chemists, or data wizards. They’re people with a problem to solve. When we work with clients in any technical space, we make sure that what we say is relatable and connected to real people. We bring them out of the clouds (or The Cloud) and bring them back down to earth.
Here’s what we tell our clients: Don’t just focus on telling people what you make. Focus on telling people what you make possible. Doing this gets you to the humanity of what you’re doing and not just the technology. Here’s a simple construct you can use:
We provide______________ so that people can ________________ .
The next time you’re in an immersion or strategy meeting and the room begins talking about molecules, compounds, technology platforms, or jigawattage, use this construct to translate whatever you’re doing into human terms.
For example, we recently worked with a technology company in Northern California that developed a workflow app for real estate professionals to help streamline the process of buying and selling a home. Rather than talk just about the technical details (which were very smart and cool), we built an emotional selling story about how the app relieved the stress and anxiety levels of the homebuyer, and increased the confidence of agents by enhancing their ability to deliver value to their clients.
When you’re building your brand, remember to take the time to step back and look for the human element in the technology story you’re bringing to market. Explain what your technology enables people to do and not just how shiny your technology happens to be.
Try not to talk about technology for the sake of technology. Talk about technology in ways that reinforce the impact your technology will create in the lives of people you’re trying to influence.


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