We all see the world through different points of view shaped by our upbringing, life experiences, and values. Brands are no different. Every brand has its mission, vision, and internal and external messaging. Now enter the point of view, an often less-formalized but just-as-important way to connect with stakeholders.
For brands, a point of view is more than the way you position your products and services; it’s your opinion of the world formed by your expertise. A point of view is your perspective on larger trends, and it informs how you contribute to the greater industry.
While every brand should have a point of view, defining a clear and flexible perspective on the greater world and how your brand fits in it is especially important for energy companies. The energy industry is becoming increasingly crowded, and a point of view will help you stand out from competitors and gain traction with key stakeholders.
Let’s walk through how to develop your point of view in the energy transition and how to use it to steal the show.
Talk More About Your “How” Than Your “What”
If you’re an energy company solely communicating about your products and solutions, you automatically bench yourself in the energy transition game. Why? Media doesn’t only care about your offerings, they also care about the impact you’re making on the overall energy industry and, by extent, the planet.
Here’s an example of the importance of communicating your impact: I remember in the 2010s when national technology reporters covered every new app. When apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Spotify were released, it was big news. Now, apps are launched every day and they rarely get press.
The same thing has happened with power purchase agreements (PPAs) in the energy industry. While PPAs were once groundbreaking news, they are now commoditized and hold little value in national conversations. Energy companies need to talk less about what they’re doing and more about how what they’re doing is an integral part of a greater movement. What’s the impact of that project?
To make a splash in the energy transition, you have to speak to the legislative, geopolitical, scientific, and economic forces at play. And when speaking to these forces, you need a point of view, or a perspective, on what’s happening.
Examples of energy brand points of view:
- Clean energy needs to be more affordable, reliable, and sustainable. We can’t achieve that without significant private investment in domestic infrastructure and regulated ESG standards.
- Reliable long-duration energy storage is essential for a decarbonized power grid. With innovative storage solutions, we’re ensuring that Americans can access the clean power they need, no matter the demand.
Having a clear, specific, and flexible point of view will inform all your communications and create an authentic brand identity well-aligned with your mission, vision, and messaging. With time, sharing your brand point of view develops expertise, creates connection, shows a greater impact, and highlights your unique value.
Use Analysis to Find Your Point of View
Unlike mission or vision statements, you can’t go to a company’s website and find their point of view. It’s difficult to formalize a point of view, but not impossible. Instead of going off assumptions of how your brand would see the world, base your point of view on analysis inside and out of your company.
Look at market trends and what topics are the most important to your audiences. You can use this context to carve out your space in the larger industry, economic, and cultural landscape. See what your competitors are saying, then differentiate or add to it.
Start with your mission and vision
Your point of view should complement your brand messaging. These are, after all, the foundation of your company and clue stakeholders into the impact you want to make. Take a look at your mission and vision statements and comb out words, phrases, or guiding ideas that answer the question: “How does my brand see the world?”
If you’re looking at your messaging and it feels static or outdated in the greater scheme of the energy transition, start by giving your energy brand framework a refresh.
Ladder up to business goals
Like any great communications tactic, your point of view should complement and propel your business goals forward. Work with your C-suite to determine their priorities for the business and even have aspirational conversations with them.
Where do they see the business going? How do they see the company fitting in the larger energy transition? Once you have answers, look for signals of your executives’ points of view, which are likely similar to the brand point of view.
Look at what your competitors are doing
Your competitors are the best benchmark you have for which points of view to avoid. If you’re parroting perspectives that are already out there, you’re only adding to the noise. Dive deep into competitors’ social media platforms, coverage in national and trade publications, and their website to get a taste of their perspective of the world.
Then, figure out how you’re different. Is there something in your backstory or values that changes your brand’s point of view? Maybe you’re trying to achieve the same goal as your competitors, but you’re doing it with a larger focus on social considerations. Whatever it is, make sure you can stand out and give a truly unique take.
Do a little soul searching
Finally, all roads lead back home. Outside of your C-suite and marketing team, establish an open line of communication with engineers, sales reps, business development reps, and HR. Ask them what they think your brand’s point of view is and how you can best position the brand to serve customer and market needs. Then, continually check in to see how you’re doing — there’s no need to wait for a big change or issue to crowdsource a refined perspective.
Also, audit your social media, website copy, and past media coverage. Using an external perspective, how do you see your company? Is your public perception disconnected from what’s happening internally? If your point of view isn’t clear, home in on what’s true and what matters to your people and your mission.
And remember, your brand point of view can change.
The energy transition is an industry caught in the middle of cultural, political, and economic winds. While brands in other industries can often create points of view that are more aspirational, energy companies must be cautious of what they’re stating and promising to stakeholders. That’s not to say your perspectives should be censored or contained, but be sure you understand the impact of your brand’s words and stay flexible.
For example, as an energy brand, you’ll likely want to stay away from political conversations, like commenting on elections or administrations, but don’t hesitate to applaud or analyze legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act that propels the industry forward. Keeping your point of view flexible shows that you’re aware of the greater landscape, adaptable in the face of discomfort, and comfortable tackling new issues while staying true to your foundation.
Highlight Your Perspective Across Comms Tactics
With a clearly defined point of view, you can begin to share your perspectives throughout your marketing communications program. Because points of view are less concrete than messaging statements, ensure your marketing team feels well-acquainted with your brand perspective. It will manifest in different ways depending on the tactic, but a through-line to your unique point of view should always be there.
Your choice of which integrated communications tactics to apply your point of view to depends on your business goals. Digital marketing, media relations, and content marketing are all common needles to thread your perspective through to grow awareness and fill the knowledge gaps of your target audience.
When it comes to media relations, the media’s interest for your brand’s point of view on certain issues will be there, you just have to speak to topics that people want to hear about. It’s why we need points of view in the first place. When working to differentiate your brand and reach key stakeholders, it’s not always about getting your business point across. Using your specific perspective to connect your brand to a broader impact will gain awareness and drive business over time.
Use Your POV to Stand Out in the Energy Transition
The world looks different from every point of view. As an energy brand, if you can communicate your broad impact with a specific point of view, you’ll differentiate yourself while staying relevant to larger conversations. And in the increasingly packed energy transition, you need to keep a steady drumbeat of sharing your unique effect on the world. Owning your perspective is one of the most powerful yet underrated tools in your communications toolbox.
Disseminating your point of view, where applicable, will make your programs more unified in the eyes of analysts, investors, talent, customers, and beyond. Just make sure it’s contextualized and flexible enough to keep your brand relatable and impactful. Add in an agency partner with two decades of energy communications experience (wink wink), and you’ll be well on your way to having the energy transition spotlight on your brand and all you’re achieving. If you’re interested in a partnership, reach out!