Green Tech PR: The Greatest Story Never Told?


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With so many column inches (and the digital equivalent) taken up by tales of economic woe, you would expect the bright spots in a dodgy economy to command pretty impressive placement. So, if the figures are to be believed, what’s the deal with green tech public relations? Instead of the more common mouse that roars, is green tech/ clean tech a lion that squeaks?

This month’s Wired magazine had a great infographic that caught my eye — data from LinkedIn on job transitions, showing which industries were actually gaining members. I’ll give you a hint about who was way out in front of the pack. –>

Leading “Internet” and “Online Publishing” by nearly 30%, at a 56.8% average uptick in industry members per year between 2006 and 2010, “Renewables and the Environment” stuck out like a big blue sore thumb. And not just for its astounding lead, but also for its shock value: I can’t open (that is, click on, but how quaint) a newspaper without reading about network security, big data, or the wireless future of everything. I rarely, however, see an impressive hit for major green tech innovation — apparently despite some pretty impressive growth and development. So what’s with that eery quiet? Is this some sort of enviro-PR silent spring?

I can’t definitively say, but I have a couple of hunches (and would love to hear others). One, based on some very cool green tech players I’ve checked out in my region, is that these companies are (rightly) run by genius engineers — brilliant scientists who may not inherently value communications. They make fascinating breakthroughs, file patents, and enchant anyone who happens to find them. But without serious PR chops, those numbers remain frustratingly small.

I’ll stand by that assessment, but my best theory is based entirely on conjecture and my failed experiment as a resident of southern California — land of recycling and massive fossil fuel consumption. I suspect that there is a certain degree of what I’ll call “green fatigue” out there — not disinterest necessarily, but skepticism, resulting from decades of dire warnings and revolutionary concepts that somehow didn’t yield an instantaneous revolution in energy consumption. Everything about the green story has been so “right now, right NOW, RIGHT NOW,” that even a green-leaning audience could be forgiven for passing over a mention of smart grid or electric cars with a half-sighed, “Geez, that’s been in development for years.”

If that’s the case, what we’re looking at then is…opportunity. To change public opinion. To refresh an industry. To make green the economic bright spot story of the year. As everyone who’s ever struggled with PR knows, a big splash takes more than just a brilliant idea.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


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