Selling Your Clean-Tech with Storytelling

Millions of us are concerned about the state of the planet – which is in serious trouble.

The good news is that there are numerous successful environmental services or clean-tech companies that are developing innovations that will make a positive difference.

These next generation ideas are designed to achieve a specific outcome or mitigate a particularly nasty by-product of the manufacturing or energy generating process – and in almost every case, the end result must comply with the growing list of conditions governments are imposing on businesses.

For winning clean-tech companies, their solutions represent a win-win proposition that accomplishes the environmental benefit while adding value to the bottom line of the business adopting the technology. In other words, the cure can’t cost so much that it’s financially unsustainable to do something environmentally sustainable.

The key to the success of these innovative companies certainly had to do with recognizing the problems that needed to be addressed, creating a smart, cost-effective solution that worked and, most importantly, understanding the critical role branding plays in the success of their product or service. Branding is designed to influence the choices people make. And it’s those choices that have and will continue to change the world.

Make A Name for Yourself

The minute you want to bring something to market, it’s important to take into account certain fundamentals of branding to ensure you have the best chance for success. In fact, branding issues and realities should be considered at the very headwaters of developing innovation.

Understanding the branding opportunities and leveraging the truths about your offering, will compel investors, government regulatory organizations, or end users to pay attention. Because these people, just like everybody else, don’t simply buy things. They buy into them based on emotions reactions validated by supporting truths. That is why the combination of cut through positioning and powerful story telling will win the day in the brand community ecosystem.

Get In Position to Score

The essentials of clean-tech branding include developing a coherent and powerful positioning strategy for your new technology, so your target audience quickly understands why it’s necessary in the fight against climate change, pollution, or less effective/efficient products.

The point of positioning strategies is to help your brand stand out through differentiation. It’s the reason they exist. And the simpler your positioning strategy is – the more memorable it is – you start to generate word of mouth. Simplicity in the communication of your differentiation is essential in order to create an easy path for people to know what you’re about so they can more easily influence other people in the decision-making process and invite them into the brand community.

The best positioning strategies are simple, straightforward and easy to remember.

Developing a positioning strategy is done, partially, through exploring the core values, emotional triggers and compelling truths about your brand. Yes, you’ll likely need techno-language in the messaging; but in many cases, you won’t be selling to engineers alone. Your audience will include financial professionals, regulatory bureaucrats and even internal staff who will want to leverage their company’s investment to burnish the company’s image. Even media and political types, who need to “get” what you’re selling so they can more comfortably communicate it, and hopefully, get behind it. Keeping it simple helps. Always.

Can You Back It Up?

If you’re going to create a positioning strategy, you need to understand that clean tech is of no value to the world if nobody knows how or why to use it. The more you trumpet your successes and share your story of innovation, the more likely you’re going to generate inquiries from companies searching for answers.

For many companies considering what can often be expensive, or regulation mandated investments, the question is not just what it will cost; it’s what it will cost if they don’t implement better technology to produce a more environmentally sustainable product or service.

You can’t sell environmental abatement technology based on the goodwill that you want to express to the world – it needs to make sense financially. That win-win story is essential, and crafting it is a delicate exercise that typically requires professional help. A couple avenues you can explore:

Testimonials: customer reviews and testimonials give your product/service some proof when it comes to its effectiveness. Testimonials also give you a sense of influencer marketing, especially when the testimonial comes from a notable figure in the industry i.e. Dyson praising a new cleaning technology.

Video: If you’re not using video to showcase your products effectiveness then you’re failing your brand. Put simply, if you can show actually how dirty stuff gets clean, do it. Pictures say a thousand words, videos say a billion.

Infographics: Technology can sometimes be complicated. Investors, influencers, and government officials benefit from seeing a visual, step-by-step representation of how a system works, no matter how simple or complicated.

Selling Through Telling

Storytelling gives an idea shape, edges, and depth, creating a narrative that is more easily understood and accessible for both technical and non-technical audiences. Storytelling enhances your clean-tech brand’s authority and grows your brand community in three key ways:

  • Protecting the idea by defining the marketplace:
    In addition to patents and copyrights, you take further ownership of your idea by being create the narrative around it. People remember a good story, and where they heard it first.
  • Generating interest from investors, public and private:
    Stories are a great way to simplify the complex. If investors and potential customers don’t understand what your product is, they’ll find other places to spend their money.
  • Appealing to the influencers in media and industry:
    Industry media loves a good story. By creating something easy for them to share and discuss, your brand gets credible word-of-mouth.

Whether you’re selling something simple or complicated, embracing modern branding approaches, and investing in compelling storytelling, is a highly effective way to bring your innovation to life and get people populating your brand community.

We invite you to read the success story of a Blade client in the clean-tech sector for whom we’ve built a track record of success through. So give us a call – we’ll help you build a narrative that builds your brand community.


Wayne S. Roberts

The Globe and Mail calls Wayne S. Roberts "an ad industry provocateur." Maybe its because he's never seen the point of playing by the ad game rules that place awards above results, while offering spec work instead of real value to win accounts. Throughout his career, Wayne has maintained a defiantly independent streak characterized by his insistence that agencies must be honest, direct and passionately invested in their clients' success. His pioneering work in espousing the brand community perspective has been a touchstone of his belief that branding is more than just logos, websites and ad campaigns; it is the fundamental way human beings connect with each other to create communities and launch movements that have changed our world.

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