Sam Jackson, BLUE Consultant
How can businesses at Global Offshore Wind build a brand that will help them to win business and grow revenue in the sector? Whether a business is long established in adjacent industries, or entirely new and innovative, a powerful brand comes from aligning the values of the business and its strategy with the needs of customers and stakeholders.
At Renewable UK’s Global Offshore Wind 2022, the Harland & Wolff stand sat close to the entrance. The builder of the Titanic, mainstay of British marine engineering for nearly two centuries, signalling how the offshore wind sector has come to define the energy transition for so many businesses engaged in adjacent sectors. A diverse range of companies operating in shipping, oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture, and onshore energy were all present at the event, alongside consultants and service providers looking to extend their client lists.
What so many of these businesses have in common – whether they are focused on development, construction, and operation of windfarms, or offering technology or services to support the industry – is a past before the birth of the offshore wind industry. Harland & Wolff (established 1861) may be a pipsqueak as far as Bureau Veritas (1828) is concerned, but these two are ancient in the eyes of so many of the businesses at Global Offshore Wind, all of which grew rapidly through the offshore energy revolution of the past forty years, and are at the conference to ensure they thrive through the next forty.
Growth for the future
Our conversations with exhibitors at the event focused on how they want to increase their scope of work in the offshore renewable energy sector. Companies with experience in a range of marine sectors recognise the offshore wind industry as a growth prospect, and as a sector that allows them to maintain a social licence to operate.
For a naval architect, an energy engineer, or a software developer, working with floating wind turbines is not a great leap from floating oil and gas platforms, it’s mainly a matter of size and degree. But the new sector doesn’t just offer growth, it offers businesses a different way to think. Stakeholders expect companies involved in the energy transition to approach operations in new ways that depart from their past behaviours.
Telling a brand story
New businesses to the sector fall into two categories: firstly, an established business needing to tell a story of brand transition. This story has to embrace its heritage. It should cover skills and knowledge developed in its past and highlighting how this experience is relevant today, while looking to the future. Secondly, newer businesses, which have always been oriented towards sustainability, and have no legacy of operations in adjacent industries that need to establish their brand within the industry.
Companies should not just talk about the projects they have won; they need to explain how they will help drive the energy transition forwards. Most brands lack a headline grabbing divestment programme that makes signalling this position easy. As an alternative, BLUE recommends talking about all the hard thinking they’ve done about the sector and its future - a thought leadership campaign.
At BLUE, we are a business that has first-hand experience of this transition. We have always been a communications consultancy dedicated to helping businesses talk about and build their brands around their sustainability efforts. In fact, we were founded to help the shipping industry tackle its sustainability challenges by supporting those businesses developing decarbonisation technologies and advocating for operational practices that lowered the industry’s carbon emissions. We started out trying to change the way businesses and the industry operated, much like the companies, teams, and executives we support today.
Over the years, through working with businesses that have sought to adopt more sustainable practices in marine industries, BLUE has developed expertise in offshore energy and offshore renewable energy. We have advised our clients as they entered these sectors and worked with companies focused solely on these sectors. We understand the pathway many of the businesses at Global Offshore Wind are following. New entrants to the sector need to speak out about how they can bring change to the industry to make it more sustainable, and establish a brand that means they are likely to be in the industry all the way through to 2050 and beyond.
Industry knowledge is a vital part of getting your communications with the sector right and building a powerful brand that will help grow revenue. Get in touch with BLUE to learn how we can empower you in the offshore renewable energy market.