American cleantech PR pros have some ideas to consider coming out of the State of the Union address tonight:
- You are part of the “secure energy future,” having doubled renewable power production. As such, you have new license to articulate what you need in return from policymakers.
- Building efficiency companies have a new calling: to lead the public and private sectors in reducing energy waste by half. Obama handed down a mandate for energy efficiency, and PR pros must now make it simple for our stakeholders. Visuals, animations and clear messages should demystify efficiency products and align product benefits with this national imperative.
- An image problem for electric grid companies and organizations has been amplified. The industry is old and ailing. In fact, it’s harming our economic growth – why locate a company in the U.S. with its aging infrastructure? Leaders in the electric industry must demonstrate commitment to digitizing and updating the grid not just to shake off the reputational tarnish, but to attract new talent. If you represent a company that modernizes the grid, your CEO’s vision fits into a much larger picture in Obama’s second term.
- If your client or company is not headquartered in the U.S., you can still have a U.S. energy story. Note that Obama’s only reference to an energy company was Siemens, which is based in Germany.
- Advanced transportation companies may be in a new position of strength. The Energy Security Trusts – one of the few energy specifics in the speech – would levy fees on oil and gas companies to fund alternatives to gas-powered vehicles. We will need to have corporate perspectives on this new mechanism, and the critical roles that EVs, NGVs and biofuels play in a scenario of gasoline de-emphasis.
- Emissions-reducing technologies and practices will mitigate being a major industrial company in Obama’s America. You heard it: climate action is happening even if the President must issue an executive order. Watch the EPA’s regulations closely to ensure your talking points, investor scripts and annual reports reflect expanded exposure to financial risk through emissions.
- The empowered middle class is a national priority. You represent a company that reflects this vision. Empower your employees to shape the company story by featuring their authentic stories on blogs and on your YouTube channel. Diversify spokespeople beyond the CEO. When a reporter asks to speak to an employee on the ground, explore the options. Edelman’s own Trust Barometer corroborates the benefits of this approach. People trust “people like me.”
If your PR brain is buzzing with ideas after the speech, share those insights with us.