Move your messaging with the market

Businesses operating in fast-moving sectors like cleantech need to review and adapt their key messages

If you’ve ever invested time in defining your company messages, you’ll know how valuable that exercise can be. Having a consistent set of messages that you can use throughout your marketing materials will strengthen all of your communications and give your content a purpose.

It’s easy to spot businesses that haven’t put the effort into messaging that the activity deserves; just visit any trade exhibition and count the stands that leave you feeling ‘I wonder what they do?’

But once done, do you need to re-visit your messaging? The answer is ‘yes.’ For tech companies – especially those operating within fast-moving sectors like cleantech, you will need to consider how you evolve your messaging over time, as you develop your products and services and as your market matures.

Case in point

During times of peak energy demand, National Grid (NG) calls upon aggregators to help balance grid energy. Demand Response, or Demand Side Response (DSR), sees facilities turning down non-essential services, such as refrigeration and air-handling equipment to reduce the need to generate more power, enabling NG to manage our electricity grid in a cleaner and smarter way.

Although already well established in North America, when we first started working on a PR campaign with a DSR provider in the UK, there were just a handful of competitors in the market. At the time the concept was only really well understood by those in the industry.

In the early days we achieved considerable success by focusing our messaging on educating the broader market. We prioritised the business and wider benefits of DSR and backed these up with early customer case studies. Editors were eager to hear and write about this novel approach and we achieved national press and broadcast media coverage for our client.

A few years on, despite a much-criticised capacity market that favours fossil-fueled and nuclear plants over new technologies that can shift demand and reduce costs, the DSR market has matured. Multiple players offer a range of a technological approaches. Now is the time for DSR companies to work on their points of differentiation. In terms of marketing communication, the challenge is to derive a set of key messages that shift the emphasis from education to clearly communicate the business benefits of your solution.

Competitive messaging

To define your messaging, we recommend performing a SWOT analysis for your business to give you a starting point that reflects your internal (company) strengths and weaknesses and your external (market) opportunities and competitive threats. Taking this approach will enable you to better match messages to the needs of your markets and build a clear position against your competitors.

While your messaging evolves over time, your core values should have longevity. If you fundamentally change your core messages too often, you will confuse your audience and your communications will lose impact.

Taking time to develop a solid messaging platform while reviewing it periodically to account for your evolving market and competitors will give you a solid foundation for all of your marketing communications.

If you want to keep pace with the market and bring your business messaging up to speed, try our marketing planning service.