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Agency Spotlight: ARPR’s Success in Tech PR

Published on April 22, 2022, at 7:50 p.m. 
by Madison Traughber.

ARPR, the largest technology public relations firm in the Southeast, was founded in 2012 by University of Alabama C&IS alumnus Anna Ruth Williams. A tech PR agency exclusively curates the reputation of technology-based companies. Tech PR is “the art of building and maintaining a positive image of a company or organization that develops and distributes technology either as a product or service, or is heavily reliant on or driven by technology.”

Tech PR agencies are becoming a necessity in today’s evolving society, as technology is at the epicenter of “people’s private and professional lives.” Technology startups, as well as mid-market and enterprise software brands, are vying for PR agencies to help them differentiate themselves from other companies in the industry.

For tech startups to grow, they need PR agencies that specialize in their industry to understand the lingo, the products and the senior-level buyers that they sell to.

Tech companies use terminology that most people would not be familiar with. This disconnect can make the messaging unrelatable and difficult to understand for the average consumer.

Tech PR constantly moves at a rapid fast pace in the midst of an increasingly competitive industry. New startups and innovations are ongoing, and all of them need PR agencies’ advice on communications strategies that reach their target audiences. Therefore, PR professionals working for tech companies need to understand the niches of the industry.

Raj Choudhury, recently appointed CEO of ARPR, noted the structure of ARPR “is built on two tenets: 1) thinking about its people first and 2) challenging the industry’s status quo.”

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

When discussing what drew him to join the firm, he said, “First, they craft rewarding experiences for their employees, such as educational retreats, team-building events, sabbaticals and stipends that advance each person’s career — ultimately shaping their paths within the agency and beyond. This people-first approach — the culture that is apparent when you meet each employee — is what attracted me to ARPR. I share these beliefs, both professionally and personally.”

Choudhury also highlighted ARPR’s role in the tech industry, which is based on its second tenet of challenging the industry’s status quo.

“Second, over the last 10 years, the communications industry evolved [a lot], but ARPR was always two steps ahead,” he said. “For example, in 2016 it became the first tech PR firm to integrate inbound marketing and demand generation into its core capabilities. This pioneering spirit is why ARPR’s client work has earned industry recognition, including Best Use of Data & Measurement and Best Integrated Marketing Campaign.”

Founder of ARPR
Anna Ruth Williams, founder and now chief strategy officer of ARPR, offered her insight on its position in the tech industry. ARPR has specialized in tech PR since the very beginning, she said.

“Over the course of our first couple years, we found our niche within four IT subsectors: Cloud, Cybersecurity, FinTech and HealthIT,” Williams explained. “By focusing on these industries, we’re able to provide clients with better service, because our team is deeply entrenched in the subject matter and trends affecting their markets.”

Today, ARPR represents 20 software brands.

“Without knowing it, you’ve probably experienced our work — whether it’s on behalf of household-name digital brands, or for deep tech vendors that power the world’s infrastructure, consumer experiences and security,” she said. “For example, we previously represented Lyft’s autonomous vehicles division, helping them pioneer advancements in self-driving cars. Another example is our client Cynerio, which protects medical devices, like insulin pumps, from being compromised by cybersecurity attacks.”

PR campaigns for tech companies are different from typical communication approaches for other industries.

Photo by Christopher Gower on Unsplash

“To be a technology PR professional, it’s not enough to just be talented at communications and marketing skills. You must also be well-versed in the technologies themselves, like artificial intelligence and machine learning,” Williams noted. “Why? Well, IT reporters are highly sophisticated and expect the PR reps to be equally as knowledgeable. Also, buyers of business software are typically senior-level and have technical backgrounds. So, content writing, paid ad copy and thought leadership must all be written for these mature buyers.”

Over the last 10 years, ARPR has developed at least 100 multi-channel campaigns for tech companies.

When asked which campaigns top her list, Williams explained, “It’s really hard to say which of our campaigns have been most creative or effective, because they are all designed to impact clients’ respective goals. For some clients, they have lofty demand generation goals, and we measure success by the number of leads we drive for them. Other clients need brand awareness, so we use share of voice measurements to determine effectiveness.”

There are several challenges and rewards that come with being the Southeast’s top tech PR firm. Williams said, “Leading a top communications firm brings challenges that any growing business faces — hiring top talent fast enough, winning new clients, and constantly finding ways to improve processes and results.”

When asked what she thought was the best part of being a niche PR firm, Williams said, “I think our team members would tell you that they love being able to focus and become an expert at fascinating subject matter. At a smaller firm, you get to work on a handful of accounts, which gives you fast experience to decide 1) what you like, and 2) what you’re good at.”

ARPR’s future in tech PR
Tech PR agencies are increasing in popularity and demand. With ARPR leading the Southeast in specific knowledge about the tech industry, Williams shared her vision for the agency in the next few years.

“In my new role, I’m looking forward to expanding our agency globally and growing it exponentially,” she said. “We’re going to be in a position to attract bigger companies, [hire] team members with more diverse skill sets, and provide clients with top-level strategy and results.”

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