He’s dead and gone, I know. But the race is on to find the modern day Edison who can lead the world into clean-tech adoption.
In a Harvard Business Review article, Mark W Johnson and Josh Suskewicz argue that focusing on the system or infrastructure, rather than the technology itself, is the answer to clean-tech adoption in the future. They cite Edison’s lightbulb invention as an example on how this could work. To convince the public that electric lightbulb is the future, Edison investigated in the operational system and economical impact behind the technology. He presented the full infrastructure and demonstrated how the humble lightbulb can be used in a large scale environment, thus getting the buy-in from investors, stakeholders and the end-users. And here we are today.
Now that’s all fair and well as a business strategy story for the clean-tech industry. So how do we, as PR and AR consultants, fit into the bigger picture?
Think like your client – Our clients are experts in building the technology and the infrastructure but they need to be aware of what’s going on beyond their office space. Think like your client, know what they really want, and provide advice and consultancy on how the industry landscape is evolving to influence their business strategies and R&D plans.
Know what’s out there – Keep an eye on what industry experts, analysts, competitors are saying or doing. Analyse the data and conversation for trends and monitor how the industry is evolving. Using this information, we can provide consultancy to our clients on how they can be part of the trend-setting crowds.
Get in the right crowd – Going back to Edison’s example, he understood the importance of getting the right stakeholders to support his concept. He strategically launched his idea and product in Lower Manhanttan where buildings were close together and filled with Wall Street firms that require staff to work late into the night. The results: he successfully demonstrated his concept in a small scale, manageable environment and directly reached out to the stakeholders and potential customers. Taking this concept to the public engagement scene, we have to be selective in where and how we approach our clients’ stakeholders and influencers. If you listen out for the conversation, you should be able to find where these communities are.
Be selective – There are so many networks and communities out there that we almost have to be brutal in our approach. Rather than blanket outreaching to every stakeholder using all the social media tools, be selective and choose the low-hanging fruits and/or the most influential groups as a starting point. Once you have built up momentum, then roll out to the other stakeholders. If you get the first part right, it should organically ripple out to the other communities.
Here are just a few suggestions on what we can do as PR and AR consultants. I’m sure there are a lot more out there so it’s over to you to fill in the blanks.