We recently completed a three-year engagement with Enel, one of the world’s largest energy companies with a growing presence of five major business lines across North America. The results were multifaceted and plenty. But what else did we learn? Here’s the scoop:
The energy story is a technology story. And it’s going to get even more technical as the field advances to solve the myriad of energy problems the world faces as we race towards 10 billion on this planet in 2050. On top of the technicalities of the technology (you see what I did there), the buyer make-up is complex. From the CEOs of the world’s largest companies to first-time homeowners, and everyone – and every company – in between, energy companies need to tell their stories in compelling ways for all. This isn’t easy.
The energy story is not a renewable story. Yep, you heard me. I believe in sustainability, energy efficiency, wind and solar, storage, and decreasing our carbon footprint. I also believe in lights that reliably turn on no matter what the weather, driving my gas-powered car, and seeing the city twinkle as I land at the airport after dark. Our energy future – and the energy story – is a mix of all of the sources at our disposal, including fossil fuels. Companies, and communications firms, should strive to tell this holistic story. You know why? Because…
The energy story is an economic story. We learned this quite succinctly while working on ACCIONA, KiOR, Enel and others over the years. Renewable energy is fantastic for the environment, but will go nowhere if not also fantastic for the economy. Luckily for all of us, it has proven its place in our economy alongside fossil fuels and other sources of energy such that we can now afford the energy mix we also need.
The energy story is a national interest story. And I would caution any company that disagrees with this to see my first point above. All audiences – national, local, vertical – are important, of course. But instead of prioritizing one segment of media (and thus, audience) above another, do what you can to tailor your story to the audiences who matter all at the same time. This takes a communications partner that “gets” this landscape. Yes, we’re one of them.
Lastly, the energy story – our energy story – doesn’t end. It evolves, and our relationships and knowledge along with it. When INK began working in the energy space in 2008 we did think energy = renewable. And we didn’t think about energy in terms of technology. The space has evolved, as have our capabilities, experiences, and viewpoints along with it.