9/13/10 Spin Factory: more wind developers are turning to Public Relations firms AND Spinning green into gold in 2002 -the making of the renewable energy market: Was it wrong for them to use September 11th?
Note from the BPWI research nerd: With millions of dollars on the line, it's no surprise that wind developers are turning to Public Relations firms for help with public acceptance.
Below, some examples of the kind of services a PR firm can provide.
Debunking Myths of Cleantech PR
by David Andrew Goldman
[....] Cleantech start-ups often find themselves in a Chicken/Egg situation where they want to wait until they get a big break before publicizing, but miss the opportunity to use PR and the media to make that big break happen.
For the most part, this is because they don't realize that there are several ways to garner coverage by the trade and business press without having a hard news angle.
Our firm uses a strategy of creating and placing op-ed articles for our clients.
Working with the executives of these cleantech startups to draft opinion articles is a great way to circumvent the no news blues.
A strong opinion piece will always garner attention and the exposure keeps our clients’ websites from looking like stale brochure-ware.
The placement of these articles in reputable media outlets provides third-party validation for a company’s customers and investors.
Expansion Media recently landed a client the holy grail of publicity: the front page of the New York Times Sunday Business section. How did we do it? R&D.
While our clients are busy in laboratories, we are closely monitoring and researching the media that cover their respective niches.
We handpicked the journalist we wanted to write the story based on their previous coverage of the industry and crafted a pitch the catered to his unique worldview.
The result in this case was an article that was not only read by millions of people, but was also 100% positive toward our client.
That kind of coverage isn’t the result of luck, but stems from careful research and knowledge of our clients’ industry and the journalists who cover it.
Most start-ups don’t realize that they can sponsor third-party studies that validate their technology, promoting the results to the media.
When one of our clients told us that they had no news scheduled for several months, we designed a survey conducted by an independent research company and garnered significant coverage.
We announced the results of the survey in the form of a press release. A few days later, several media outlets ran articles featuring the results including this one from a leading green building news site.
David Andrew Goldman is director of communications at Expansion Media, an integrated PR/SEO firm that focuses on clean technology clients including AeroFarms, Entech Solar, BioPetroClean, CASTion, Airdye Solutions, Advanced Telemetry, Variable Wind Solutions, GreenRay Inc. and FreeGreen.com.
SECOND FEATURE: From the Way Back Machine
Building Renewable Energy Markets: A Public Education Stategy for State Clean Energy Funds
By: Lyn Rosoff Chris Colbert, Second Wind Enterprises
with: Richard Earle Greenbranch Enterprises
Exerpt: page 9
Task 1. Craft Motivating Messages/Create a Common Language/Define the Renewable Energy Brand.
Craft messages that deliver sufficient pain/gain motivation and customer benefit to make renewable energy a compelling product to both business and consumer audiences.
Importantly, this should include addressing the impact of the attack of September 11, as well as the Enron collapse, on consumer attitudes and perceptions regarding renewable energy.
We need to find the right nomenclature and icons that reduces the confusion, skepticism and misunderstanding while creating sustained, meaningful visibility.
Excerpt Page 10:
Our view is that the success of such a joint marketing model will be predicated on the following specific steps:
1. Researching (and adjusting to) the new consumer/public attitudes towards energy following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Enron collapse and bankruptcy;
2. Developing an effective message platform that will overcome purchase barriers and identify and test common nomenclature for renewable energy: is it green, clean, pollution-free?;
3. Creating a plan for a multi-state shared umbrella campaign employing this learning; and,
4. Implementing that multi-state campaign.
If there is an emerging theme in this effort, it is the idea of integration and building what has been called brand community
Briefly, the concept of a brand community is recognition that markets are made - and consumers are motivated by a combination of influences.
To change societal behavior, one must “infiltrate” social, business and community structures to affect influence, incentive, and impact.
By surrounding the consumer and business targets with integrated symbols, messages and reinforcement from familiar brands and relationships, we stand a chance of changing their views and actions.
To date, renewable energy public education efforts have been approached as a discrete, non-integrated task, dominated by traditional media outreach and public relations. And the results of that limited approach have been subsequently limited.
A successful strategy for marketing renewable energy will require creation of a brand community within which renewable energy will be the preferred (and socially reinforced) choice.
The only way we can effectively build such a brand community is for CEFN and its members to work together and to share their knowledge, their ideas and their resources.
Such a shared model should also extend to proposing different market structures that could be used to support customer choice.
This could involve variations on the default service offerings or other partnering options with green power
markets and utilities.
Each member will then need to integrate other educational tactics, e.g. grass roots outreach, direct mail, collateral, etc. and more specific messages that are relevant to their state’s stage of market readiness.
This tactical integration should then be augmented by each CEFN member leveraging the brand relationships that their target audiences already have: church, employer, and municipality, to add credibility and influence to the education effort.
It is our hope that the proposal that follows will clearly show how we can approach the task of marketing renewable energy together and convert a perplexing, reluctant market into a high growth market that offers significant rewards for consumers, businesses, suppliers, the country and the environment.