Success Stories: Empowering Cleantech Futures through Strategic PR

Leveraging Cleantech Strategic PR for Transformative Impact

Cleantech and sustainability companies face the critical challenge of reshaping narratives, establishing credibility, becoming thought leaders, and driving innovation. These Blue Practice success stories of strategic PR illustrate the powerful impact of cleantech strategic PR on industry leaders’ narratives, credibility, and market positioning.

EPS: A Case Study in Cleantech Strategic Success

Following a wave of growth after an influx of funding, Blue Practice assumed all marketing functions for Energy and Power Solutions (EPS), a developer of optimized electrical systems. Our aggressive strategies to elevate the brand and reach new sectors helped us effectively reposition the company as a leader in a newly emerging category. 

While leading all marketing functions for the company, we built a new website and corresponding content, created a new company tagline, managed corporate collateral and exhibits, built a strategic list of shows and events, and built a market presence for the company in a vertical industry sector. Working with a PR to develop and deploy strategic PR initiatives ensured that messaging and communications on all platforms were consistent, cohesive, and relevant. 

Strategic PR directed EPS to new target strategic sectors for business development, and then effectively marketed the company in those areas with a newly-developed toolkit of key messages and positioning. 

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute: Pioneering Thought Leadership through Cleantech PR

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute is a prime example of how we have established thought leadership in sustainability. From strategizing the organization’s launch to promoting adoption across many industries, we played a formative role in shaping its communications efforts.

Our launch event earned coverage in the Wall Street Journal on the organization’s kickoff event at Google headquarters with the likes of former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chad Hurley of YouTube and Wendy Schmidt of the Schmidt Family Foundation.

To further the Institute’s communications goals, Blue Practice produced a marketing summit that brought together more than a dozen companies to unite under a shared message and set of values. This collaborative effort not only fostered a community of like-minded organizations but also amplified the collective voice advocating for Cradle to Cradle certification.

In our ongoing partnership with the Institute, we supported its initiatives and the many companies that achieved product certifications. Blue Practice’s expertise in media relations and corporate communications became a cornerstone for these brands, particularly those within the built environment, apparel, cosmetics, and other consumer goods sectors. By aligning closely with their goals for publicizing sustainability efforts, we ensured that their product innovations received the recognition they deserved, and cementing the Institute’s role as a leading standard for circular design.

The Institute’s continued prominence as a leading force in sustainability is a testament to the potency of strategic PR. Through our work, Blue Practice solidified credibility for the institute, and became an example of how an organization’s thought leadership can be nurtured through strategic PR.

AEye’s Journey: Storytelling Innovations in Biomimicry

AEye, an autonomous vehicle technology designed to perceive like a person but think like a robot, needed a completely fresh approach to telling AI stories. We leveraged strategic PR strategies to translate AEye’s complex innovations to a more general audience. 

Many AI innovations have the potential to change the landscape of any industry they’re applied to. But the formulas, science, and stories of their creation are often more nuanced than the typical journalist can understand. 

We worked closely with the AEye team to gain a deep understanding of AEye’s iDAR,for autonomous vehicles, allowing us to develop two bylined articles and run a strategic education campaign, engaging reporters and influencers in the space about the relevancy of biomimicry in the world of AI, initiating conversation around iDAR’s technology and AEye’s industry call to make the robot perceive like us, demonstrating their leadership in the autonomous vehicle space.

This work allowed us to introduce the AEye team to a variety of influencers in the space, resulting in introductions with top-tier media such as The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company, as well as placements in VentureBeat and Inhabitat.

By partnering with an agency specializing in sustainability innovations and strategic PR, AEye was able to earn coverage in mainstream and industry publications, establishing the company as industry leaders in an exciting sector. 

Carbonfuture: Shaping Narratives 

We have also found success in strategic PR by bringing data-driven strategies to Carbonfuture.   

To help the company tell its story to a broadening rank of global business media who were just beginning to cover the carbon landscape, we provided insights and strategic recommendations informed by a thorough media landscape analysis. By analyzing the way the media had covered the space to date, we were able to help Carbonfuture understand how companies in their space had defined their share of voice, the impact of announcements, and what the recurrent themes were echoing in the media.

Blue Practice’s recommendations and emphasis on credibility building reshaped Carbonfuture’s narrative, positioning it as a trustworthy voice in the evolving carbon market. This case exemplifies the impact of data-driven strategic recommendations in strategic PR.

Unlocking Success with Strategic PR

Our case studies of EPS, Cradle to Cradle, AEye, and Carbonfuture emphasize the significance of strategic repositioning, credibility-building, thought leadership, and innovative cleantech and sustainability engagement. Through them, we can see how strategic PR drives impactful change and fosters leadership.

Strategic PR: A Valuable Companion to Science and Tech Innovation

Strategic PR for Science and Tech Innovators

In the belt-tightening world of tech and science startups, where every penny and minute count, securing traditional PR agencies often takes a backseat. Companies are becoming resourceful, opting for a mix-and-match approach to PR services like browsing a candy store – picking a press release here, a social media blast there, all while keeping a keen eye on the bottom line. This ad-hoc strategy is like running a gourmet kitchen using only a microwave. Sure, it’s cheaper and faster, and with all the new tools out there—AI that can almost read your mind, platforms that promise the PR equivalent of instant noodles—it feels like you’re getting the job done. But when you’re building something meant to last, something truly disruptive, you need more than just a quick fix.

The Need for Strategic PR in the Tech and Science Landscape

Many of these plug-and-play communications apps and dashboards present a false sense of empowerment, making companies believe they can automate significant portions of the PR process, from identifying market trends to generating content. This DIY ethos often undervalues the depth and coherence of a strategic PR partnership.

Real-Life Impacts

This approach overlooks the depth and cohesion that a strategic PR partnership can provide. The Picking and choosing services in this manner results in a patchwork of PR initiatives that may fall short in building a meaningful narrative that advances the company’s long-term vision.

Take for instance a biotech startup developing a novel means of gene editing plants for climate change. They’ve invested heavily in research and produced what they consider a groundbreaking report, complemented by a sleek explanatory video. Despite the intrinsic value of their work, they find the echo of their launch is muted. The content might be meticulously crafted, but it doesn’t quite stir the industry or captivate the intended audience. It wasn’t written with the audience in mind – or the currency of the narrative that’s been unfolding across their industry.

It’s a reminder that without a foundational strategy, even the most revolutionary ideas can struggle to find their footing. And it isn’t unique to one startup; it’s symptomatic of a larger pattern within the innovation ecosystem. Undervaluing strategic PR is a big misstep for companies at the forefront of technological and scientific breakthroughs.

The Role and Value of Strategic PR for Science and Tech Innovators

Strategic PR isn’t just an add-on for for science and tech innovators  but a fundamental precursor that shapes how innovations are perceived in the market. As companies approach pivotal moments like commercialization or strategic alliances, the guidance of a PR agency isn’t a luxury but an absolute necessity.

Strategic PR’s Market Positioning and Narrative Impact

Strategic PR is more than media engagement and press releases. It’s an art form that can position a brand, shape its narrative, and set solutions apart from the chorus of “next big things.” Strategic PR is crucial for anticipating the market’s pulse and integrating a company’s offerings within industry narratives. It’s a discipline that probes deeper, asking pivotal questions: Who needs to hear our story? What change do we seek to inspire? How do our initiatives dovetail with our overarching mission? Engaging with a PR team from the inception ensures that every piece of communication is intentional and impactful.

Understanding public perceptions and leveraging them to enrich a brand’s participation in industry conversations is the cornerstone of a successful PR strategy for science and tech innovators.

In the realm of science and technology, where every innovator is vying to be the disruptor, a nuanced PR strategy can set a company apart now and years down the road. It’s not merely about capturing attention; it’s about holding it, nurturing it, and directing it towards a narrative that not only informs but engages and inspires.

For science and technology startups, the role of PR is not auxiliary; it’s fundamental. It’s not an afterthought to the innovation process; it’s a precursor that shapes the public and market’s reception of that innovation. As these companies approach pivotal moments—be it commercialization, funding rounds, or strategic alliances—the foresight of a PR strategist is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

Strategic PR for the Long Haul

The value of strategic PR lies in its ability to anticipate the market’s pulse and weave a company’s offerings into the fabric of industry narratives. It’s about understanding the nuances of public perception and leveraging them to build a brand that not only enters the conversation but also enriches it.

For the innovators and disruptors working on cutting solutions, remember: strategic PR is not a service to be commissioned in isolation. It’s a partnership that should be nurtured from the very beginning, one that evolves with your company and amplifies your impact.

As these companies chart their course through uncharted territories, the guidance of a strategic PR partner is the compass that ensures their innovations don’t just launch—they soar.

An Unusual PR Request Leads to American Policy Change

We found ourselves at the epicenter of a crucial battle for intellectual property (IP) security with our client Forever Energy. This early-stage US company, specializing in revolutionary long-life batteries for solar+storage, approached Blue Practice when their access to strategic US technology and manufacturing, developed by a DOE lab at taxpayer expense, was being usurped and diverted to China by a competitor who held exclusive rights to the American technology license. 

The situation was unique. Forever Energy didn’t need attention drawn to themselves but rather needed to create a sense of urgency and alarm so that this US-developed IP could go to deserving US companies who could manufacture and sell it in the US – the purpose for which the DOE Labs were created. 

We understood the gravity of the situation immediately. The challenge was not just to protect a US innovation, but to push this alarming story into the media to pressure the DOE to enforce the licensing restrictions on its technology, notably “substantial manufacturing in the US” and meeting a minimum sales requirement over several years. Our goal was to create a wave of public pressure to support the cause of Forever Energy and to raise questions about why our tax-supported US Energy Labs were licensing innovations to foreign interests, potentially losing commercialization opportunities for US-backed innovation.

Strategically, we embarked on a media campaign to highlight these issues, targeting high-level publications like the Washington Post, NPR, as well as local newspapers in the vicinity of the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Labs. We crafted a narrative focused on the urgency of securing our energy supply chain and the questionable actions of PNNL in licensing IP to foreign interests.

Our efforts bore fruit, and in August of 2022 NPR investigative reporter Laura Sullivan broke the story, to the dismay of the DOE. The NPR story was picked up and echoed by others including E&E News, creating a compelling narrative around the actions of PNNL and the historic ways in which policymakers at our labs have allowed the US to lose commercialization opportunities for homegrown innovations. The public pressure, heightened media attention, and resulting governmental uproar, including  a scathing letter to DOE from the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – played a pivotal role in the DOE making significant changes to its licensing enforcement policies. Laura Sullivan wrote a follow-on piece in January 2023 discussing the report and the changes DOE made.

The story highlighted the importance of securing IP for innovative US companies ready for market, and was significant win for Forever Energy, which thereafter was able to fairly compete for a license. 

Our engagement with Forever Energy went beyond promoting their brand; it aimed to safeguard vital intellectual property and challenge the status quo of technology licensing in the United States. By strategically leveraging the media, we not only raised awareness about the situation but also ignited a public outcry and compelled governmental action. This work with Forever Energy showcases the transformative power of public relations beyond traditional brand awareness; it illustrates how PR can be a formidable tool in addressing complex issues that extend beyond individual companies and impact national interests.

Selected Coverage: 

E&E News :DOE: Lax oversight pushed taxpayer-funded battery tech to China

NPR: The U.S. made a breakthrough battery discovery — then gave the technology to China (Original NPR Story)