What Makes A Successful Clean Tech P.R. Firm?

There is a pressing need to communicate the benefits of clean technology to an expanding consumer base. Many clean tech firms choose to do their own public relations for the sake of cutting costs. However, if chosen wisely, a P.R. firm can significantly increase the bottom-line for clean tech companies.

Schwartz Communications, for example, announced yesterday that it added eleven new clean technology clients to its public relations firm in 2010. Those clients include companies in smart grid technologies, carbon management, wind energy, solar energy, green products, green building materials, and biofuels. That brings Schwartz Communications total of clean tech clients to 25 companies.

What makes Schwartz a preferred P.R. firm for clean tech companies? What are the characteristics that clean tech companies should look for in a P.R. firm?

The ideal P.R. company for clean tech firms effectively manages print and online media communications to enhance company exposure (preferably at a high ROI). The P.R. firm should know how to generate government policy support and funding for clean tech industries. It is also important that the P.R. firm has a solid grasp of the relevant players in the clean tech field, as well as an understanding of consumer adoption for clean tech.

Schwartz, for example, attributes its success with clean tech firms to its abilities to:

1-Identify and secure government funding

2-Leverage media outlets to drive consumer demand

3-Provide ongoing analysis of legislation that affects their client’s business

4-Increase company visibility at conferences and industry events

5-Facilitate company exchange with thought leaders in the field

6-Help companies launch into untapped geographic markets

What other P.R. firms exemplify successful practices in the clean tech field? What are other characteristics clean tech companies should look for in a P.R. firm? Are there any disadvantages to outsourcing P.R. to an agency? I’d love to hear about your experiences with the use of P.R. firms to maximize media exposure and policy support for your clean tech company.

Shannon Arvizu, Ph.D., is a clean tech educator and cutting-edge consultant for the auto industry. You can follow her test drives in the cars of the future at www.misselectric.com.

3 responses

  1. Nice piece, Shannon. I’d add another important function of a valuable cleantech PR partner: The rare ability to transform a technical value proposition into a compelling, accessible story that can break through the clean technology noise and puffery, and immediately strike a chord with the media, public and prospects! Steve

  2. Great post, Shannon. We couldn’t agree with you more (and congratulations to Schwartz on a banner year!).

    We would add the abilities to:

    1. Define and communicate a clear, compelling message
    Whether a clean tech company is looking to attract investors, win over a host community, or engage government officials, a powerful message platform is the essential building block to any campaign.

    2. Effectively handle crisis communications
    While we hope a crisis will never happen, we highly suggest being ready for one. Advance planning and practice can make or break a company in this fast-paced communications world.

    3. Build agility, reach and speed into a communications strategy.

    As communicators, we have more tools than ever to leverage for our clients. It’s important for agencies and our clients to understand how to maximize these tools and build a fully-integrated communications plan to meet ever-changing demands.

    As for outsourcing, in addition to a solid track record we suggest looking for good “mojo” with your prospective agency. After all, you can’t pick your family, but you you can pick your agency. Are they the kind of people you would look forward to working with every day? Are they creative and fun? Does it feel like they are an extension of your team? If not, keep looking.

    Best wishes to everyone, hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    The team at Calypso Communications (www.calypsocom.com)

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