A communications strategy of public relations, content, social, and design engaged vital stakeholders across communities, policy, and industries, giving one of the largest energy companies in the world a voice to lead the North American industry.
PUBLIC RELATIONS | CONTENT | CREATIVE | DIGITAL | RESEARCH + INSIGHTS
Every business must educate their target audience(s) on the value they deliver. For energy clients, this is compounded by a diverse mix of stakeholders in an environment filled with political and social challenges. When INK set out to turn one of the largest energy companies in the world – a company that, previously, had no external communications program in North America – into a trusted, renewable energy brand, we knew we needed a lot of good stuff.
INK’s communications program for Enel in North America embraced strategies, tactics, and channels that engaged audiences across local communities; business partners including developers, energy buyers, and Fortune 500 companies making sustainability commitments; state and national policymakers; the broader global energy economy; and the various business units within the organization itself.
To ensure Enel was telling a holistic story, our communications program needed to serve the company as a whole – from the business development team building and operating projects on the ground to the regulatory affairs team interacting with legislative decision-makers to the corporate social responsibility team ensuring each project delivered economic, social, and environmental benefits to the local community.
We started Enel’s communications program in 2015 at the local level, aiming to engage those who were directly impacted by the energy facilities and operations in their neighborhoods. We focused on telling stories about how renewable energy (and Enel in particular) were recharging communities and revitalizing rural towns with jobs for people who wanted to work close to home, better schools and services, and better roads and infrastructure. Starting local gave Enel a voice, and a human face – one that citizens saw through the media stories we told and events we hosted.
EVOLVING OUR STORY
As Enel evolved via acquisitions and business development in energy storage and smart grid technology, so did our program. INK expanded the company’s story to show how the energy brand was solving the larger, more complex energy grid and economy challenges that affect us all. How? We supported notable events that showcased their solutions at work (like the Formula E race in Brooklyn and plant inaugurations with the Italian Prime Minister); we developed infographics and fact sheets that spoke to critical stakeholders and their needs; we armed spokespeople with Q&As and statements to speak to legislators on the local and state level and wrote OpEds to respond to the changing energy landscape in states like Oklahoma; we launched and grew their social media channels to open communications to their business partners and end customers; and we spoke to the media at every level. We monitored hundreds of publications a day and built an internal newsletter that served North American energy news to the most prominent global executives in the company almost 365 days a year. Oh, and crisis management? Fires, floods, legislative issues, demonstrations, auto accidents – we responded to our share.
TANGIBLE BUSINESS VALUE
Our ongoing program resulted in a brand that represented the future of energy for local communities, corporate partners, policymakers, and industry decision-makers. In 2017, Enel was the fastest growing renewables company in North America, adding more capacity than any company in the U.S. with a record-breaking 1.2 GW.
AP FOR THE WIN
Renewable companies need to ensure they reach both local and global audiences. INK took an international event at Enel’s hybrid plant in Nevada and developed stories that would resonate with the local community by highlighting economic drivers and infrastructure support, while also showcasing the company’s global expertise and innovation for a national audience. A local Associated Press story, which embodied both messages, was picked up 99 times across the country.
TELLING A RICHER STORY
Communications programs for renewable energy clients need to tell richer and more complex stories that include aspects of policy, economics, technology, and business strategy. Armed with a constant understanding of the industry and publications and what they cover, INK worked with top-level executives to secure feature pieces on the company’s growth and vision.
KNOWING YOUR STAKEHOLDERS
In Oklahoma, Enel needed to engage in public policy, build and maintain a trusted reputation, and find common ground with legislators and key stakeholders who were making policy decisions that could impact their local operations. INK created a key piece of content to show how clean energy was recharging local economies, telling the story through local citizens. Through key visuals, personal stories, and important data, INK armed Enel’s local public affairs team with a way to engage and educate the policymakers, citizens, businesses, and even the opponents.