In 2010, the momentum of innovation and initiative in the energy sector was blunted. The core tenants of powerful brands, such as trust and relevancy, were compromised by the notoriety of greed and ignorance in the Gulf of Mexico and partisan politics and indecisiveness at the Copenhagen Climate Conference. In the past 18 months, we have been witness to the fact that neither regulatory nor political might has had a material effect on energy management and global energy policy. But the temptation to dwell on the negative must be resisted.
2011 will be the antidote to 2010. More so than ever before, brands will be the lightening rod that forges new relationships with consumers, both educating and rewarding smart energy living. The power of brands will invoke new behaviors. A change in perceptions and attitude will contribute to a broader awareness that the reduction of dependence on diminishing fossils fuels is both a personal and societal choice.
Shell, Exxon Mobil, IBM, GE, EDF and Pacific Gas & Electric, are just a few of the global energy and technology brands that are investing significantly in developing innovation to better manage and distribute energy in responsible and efficient ways. The collective brand building efforts of the category will ultimately change the regulatory and consumer landscape to embrace new and responsible energy behavior.
Climate change is no longer debated as glib sentimentality from a misguided scientific community. The changes to our planet are poignantly documented in the headlines each day where record highs and lows are commonplace and the new norm is the unexpected. For brands in this sector, there’s a new urgency to address the consequences of a global population explosion, mass urbanization, and geo-political unrest.
And yet, brands in the energy sector will need to do more than simply broadcast their intentions. In the end, they will be measured by their actions. Look to 2011 as the year when innovations in automotive, home and industrial energy consumption will herald a new movement in smart energy living.
There are high expectations that the ills of the recent past will fuel the energy sector to lead a global campaign that encourages and rewards responsible energy consumption. Now is the time for brands to change the world for the better.