One of the biggest changes in renewables over the last decade was the shift in motivation from environmental to economical. Through rapidly decreased costs and major policy changes, solar and wind became a viable alternative and even a strategic economic investment for many businesses and individuals. Economics is still the driving message, but a new and interesting message has emerged: National Security.
A recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, calling for renewables and energy efficiency for military operations, highlights that a staggering 1,000 troops have been killed in fuel-related missions during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Considering that total deaths in these wars are estimated at less than 6,000, energy security is becoming a key issue to military officials.
For this and other reasons, the military has recently been stressing the importance of energy independence, both domestically and abroad. The DoD recently launched the Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), to procure and test promising new renewable energy technologies (full disclosure, Schwartz client Skyline Solar was selected). A renewable energy marketer couldn’t ask for a better type of exposure—Military endorsement is a great GR tool, particularly when working with republican officials. Furthermore, these companies now have a chance to build a relationship with the US military – a group with literally the world’s deepest pocketbook.
Outside of the military, Hawaii is another example of security as a benefit to renewables. The state imports nearly all of its fuel resources, which isn’t cheap and certainly isn’t secure. Because of this, Hawaii has become is perhaps the most ambitious of all states, seeking to shift to 70 percent renewable energy for the entire state by 2030. Governor Linda Lingle has sought for quite a while to make energy security part of the conversation. A state making such a huge leap into renewables, and focusing on energy security, is all the more reason marketers should consider adding security to their messaging
Because this conversation is still new, smart marketers will begin discussing energy security early (thought leadership, press release key words, contributed articles) to not only steer the conversation in their favor and build a long-term voice on the subject, but even to build SEO. A Google search of the key words: “Renewable”, “Energy” and “Security”, doesn’t turn up a single vendor on the first page—leaving the window wide-open to those who want to initiate the security conversation.
Fortunately also, the shift in messaging may not be that extreme from what many are already doing. Most of the key words and messages associated with economic benefits (reliability, cost-effectiveness, scalability) remain just as important from a security perspective. A quick project installation time may also be beneficial to stress, for entities looking to interfere with operations as little as possible. Pay back period and ROI, on the other hand, may be less important of a message.
Regardless of how security fits into your company's message, if your product is near-ready or already shipping, the emphasis on energy security should be on your radar for 2011.
Posted by Dan O'Mahony on January 18, 2011 at 5:54 PM
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