A list of PR wishes for this holiday season:
- I wish that all sales professionals would recognize PR as trying to help support brand awareness, lead generation and company valuation, and not view them as competition for budget or unnecessary annoyances for their customers
- I wish that customers of security companies would be more vocal about what steps they are taking to protect customer data in a world littered with high-profile breaches
- I wish that public companies would realize that non-material press releases are not an effective way to manage the stock price (especially in an increasingly new-media driven world), but are in fact an exorbitant cost that takes budget and resources away from higher-impact PR activities
- I wish that print advertising would stabilize, because let's face it--there are just some places you can't take a computer to read news and other content
-I wish that publications could expand their staffs so that journalists would have the time to do more in-depth reporting, versus having to constantly spit out news briefs and blog posts
- I wish that clear-cut winners would emerge in the vertical blogosphere so that audiences would not be so fragmented
- I wish that the renewable energy market would continue to grow bringing more technologies to market and radically changing the energy economy
-I wish that the federal government would take a bigger role in providing tax incentives to fuel that growth, versus just states and municipalities
-Finally, I wish that JetBlue didn't treat JFK as its east coast hub---what are the odds my holiday flights to Boston aren't delayed?
Tags: brand awareness
, company valuation
, lead generation
, renewable energy
, tax incentives
Posted by Jason Morris on December 19, 2007 at 12:09 PM
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This weekend, my wife and I were getting ready to watch a movie when I saw The American President on TNT or TBS (is there a difference?). This is the one where Michael Douglas plays a widower, single father and a first-term president. He meets and begins dating a lobbyist (played by Annette Bening) from a environmental group. The climax of the movie is a press conference where Douglas says that he is going to send aggressive gun control and climate legislation to Congress--two separate pieces of legislation that he was using as bargaining chips--while ignoring any negotiating he has already done with House and Senate members on the bills. The global warming bill he supports is a 20% reduction of green house gases by a certain date.
Now, I've seen the movie a dozen times (sadly) and it remains one of those guilty pleasure, Saturday afternoon movies that I will likely watch again (it has Michael J Fox, Richard Dreyfus and Martin Sheen as well...great cast). However, something struck me this time when watching it.
I knew that the environmental legislation pushed by Bening's character was a central plot component, but what struck me was that this was a topic for a movie released in 1995. That is 12 years ago now, going on 13. This amazed me because I would never have guessed that climate change has been a mainstream topic for that long. Maybe it is because I thought the debate was still centered on the ozone layer then or because gas was under $2 per gallon. In any case, I was shocked. Yet, it still seems as though we are only now scratching the surface of coming legislation, technology, etc.
What it also made me realize is that David Roberts of Gristmill is right: the world will be a much different place in 2020 when we are nearing the first date in many carbon emission-related bills currently under discussion.
Consider that in 1995 Bill Clinton was a first-term president. Solar was a niche industry with little VC or private equity investment and certainly no $200 million rounds. The Dow hit 5,000 for the first time. Yahoo! was founded. Biofuels, fuel cells and ethanol weren't part of the everyday lexicon. CFL stood for Canadian Football League, not a type of light bulb. There was no Internet bubble or tech recession.
Amazing, no? Given the amount of investment in and marketing noise around renewable energy today, I am willing to bet that things will advance a bit more quickly over the next 13 years, with or without Michael Douglas leading the charge.
, carbon emissions
, climate change
, fuel cells
, renewable energy
, venture capital
Posted by Jason Morris on December 12, 2007 at 9:16 AM
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The House this week passed sweeping energy legislation that hits on a number of key issues. Amazingly, one measure that has sparked tons of controversy and debate in the past seems to be the only consensus measure in this legislation: higher fuel economy standards. Other parts of the legislation have sparked veto threats from the White House.
Other key parts of the legislation include the extension and an increase in solar tax credits for consumers and businesses (opposed by the White House), repeal of oil industry tax breaks (opposed by the White House) and a requirement for 15 percent of all energy to come from renewable sources (opposed by utilities). The Senate will take up the legislation this week. There has already been talk that the bill may get broken up in order to get certain elements passed.
I've mentioned before that the next 12 months are likely critical for the renewable energy industry. Billions in investment have flowed into solar, wind, biofuels and other technologies with the expectation that government mandates will continue to generate and even accelerate demand for renewable sources.
Do I think there is a scenario by which the entire industry stalls as a result of an unfriendly political climate? Not unless oil falls to $20 a barrel, gas to $.99 a gallon and a report comes out saying that trees are causing climate change and not carbon emissions. In other words, no shot. More likely is that individual states will lead the charge on legislation and it will just take a bit longer for renewable energy technology companies to see the rapid growth in terms of revenue and investment that many expect to see over the next decade.
Just as everything is cooling down for the holidays, the renewable energy debates in Washington are heating up.
, Renewable Energy
, White House
Posted by Jason Morris on December 7, 2007 at 2:58 PM
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Lost in all of the Holiday Shopping, Nintendo Wii, Presidential Race, family-visiting hoopla that is that the past few weeks have brought news that clarifies a couple of long-standing green debates.
Debate #1 -- Are humans having a significant impact on climate change? Up until mid-November some would say yes and others would try to point to the cyclical nature of the Earth in terms of warming and cooling. Well, the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report effectively ends the debate.
The PR impact for green companies: This is a huge PR win for anyone marketing a green initiative, as it will continue to move public opinion toward the conclusion that further green research, investment and adoption is needed. That's not to say that I believe that the findings of the report will cause an immediate spring to action and this post from Earth2Tech proves I am not alone. In any event, surveys and statistics are invaluable in PR and renewable energy and green companies have new report data to help hammer home their point in communications.
Debate #2 -- What is the driving reason behind companies adopting green practices? Marketing spin? Idealism? ROI? As long as they are real, does it matter? Up until recently, many would have said green initiatives were marketing ploys as environmental considerations become a primary purchasing decision for more and more consumers. Today? More and more organizations are coming out and discussing the ROI of going green, with solar being being one of the major beneficiaries. HP recently announced a 1- megawatt array in San Diego that will save the company $750,000 over 15 years. The company also announced that it would match rebates from their solar provider for employees that want to purchase panels for home use.
PR Impact: The long-time knock and FUD on green technologies, such as solar, is that the payoff takes much too long. Well, that payoff time is shortening thanks to advances in technology. Plus, if government incentives increase to levels close to those found in some European countries, the ROI will become the dominant reason for many many businesses making changes. HP and Google are still exceptions, but if there are economic incentives on top of ecological and marketing benefits, they will soon become the rule.
Tags: Black Friday
, Cyber Monday
, Holiday Shopping
, Nintendo Wii
, Renewable Energy
, Solar Power
Posted by Jason Morris on at 9:02 AM
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