The intersection between PR and technology is an interesting one. A traditionally female-heavy industry meets a space that is dominated by males. While gender imbalance is a complex and multifaceted issue, Milk & Honey’s managing director Caroline Addy believes PR and tech can make real changes together.
Like many who work in tech PR, Caroline Addy fell into it. After completing a multimedia journalism degree, she landed a role at a UK PR firm, which just so happened to have a number of tech clients. Here she developed a love for telling the stories that many would consider too dry.
However, the culture wasn’t right.
“In my early 20s, I went on the hunt for an agency that didn’t overlook the importance of its people and landed a role at a creative consumer agency. I had a lot of fun, felt valued and learnt so much, but I had already been bitten by the tech bug. Fast forward ten years and I now have the best of both worlds,” she says
“For me, PR doesn’t demonstrate its true power when it’s used to explain technical parts – it should be used to add warmth and colour,” she tells B&T.
“Taking something that’s really – to an everyday person – convoluted, intimidating or complicated and unravelling it.
“Explaining not only what it is, but why it’s needed, who needs it, what it enables, what does it mean for this generation and the next.”
With this storytelling-led approach instilled, Addy has worked with a host of technology clients in both Australia and the UK over the past 12 years.
Having spent so long working at the peripheries of the technology industry, Addy is all too aware of its diversity problem. “I’m lucky enough to have had a positive experience working alongside incredibly smart and respected female leads in both tech and tech PR. Not everyone shares my experience.”
Striking a gender balance
When we look at the technology and PR industries through the lens of gender balance, the two are complete opposites.
The PR Census 2016, conducted in the UK, found 64 per cent of employees in the industry are female, while in Australia, women hold just under a third of all technology jobs, according to an Australian Computer Society report.
“PR is actually female-dominated – and we [the PR industry] have our own work to do – but I think when you bring PR and tech together it creates the ability to look at things from a completely different angle. That’s where you can make some changes.”
But even after bringing PR onboard, the responsibility is still on the brand to not only lay the right foundations but to actively build on them.
“I almost feel as though PR is becoming the conscience on the shoulders of brands,” she says.
“Companies who want to nurture their reputations in order to be seen as diverse or inclusive shouldn’t even go there until they can back it up with irrefutable truths,” she says.
“From a PR perspective, there are so many stories to tell, however consumers now have the power to publicly put companies on the stand. Ultimately, if tech companies want consumers to choose them over another brand because of their values they need to be authentic – not just pay it lip service. The results will speak for themselves.”
Continue the conversation and hear from some of Australia’s leading female technologists at B&T’s inaugural Women Leading Tech awards gala lunch on 8 April 2020 at Linseed House, The Grounds of Alexandria, 7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria.
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