Crafting a Solution to Energy’s Biggest Challenge

The energy industry provides more benefit to securing the lifestyles we enjoy than any other industry. But communicating a subject as complex and polarizing as energy to an increasingly distracted and distrustful public is no easy task. Developing targeted and meaningful communications that resonate with the public is imperative to telling the story of a vital industry that enables us to lead the healthy, secure, comfortable and connected lifestyles we take for granted.

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The public generally doesn’t think about where energy comes from or what it takes to get it to the point of consumption.

They just like knowing it’s there when they need it. Communicating with these stakeholders about energy is all about connecting it to their daily lives. At the same time, they are exposed to negative voices who don’t always express all the facts but who are experts at dominating the emotion of the subject.

And the energy industry? By and large, it finds comfort in its reams of data, big spreadsheets, lots of footnotes, and numbers so big they boggle the mind. These are the factual defenses that the energy industry has traditionally used in response to the emotionally charged questions and fears of the average American. What the industry and the public agree on is the continued need for abundant, safe, clean, secure energy for a reasonable price.

With this common goal, how can the industry break through decades of distrust?


Understand the players and the challenge

First and foremost, we believe in listening. A close second is collaboration. Third, and not to be underrated, is knowing what’s at stake. All are paramount to understanding the concerns, the objectives and the full suite of challenges inherent in any situation. While we may work for energy companies, our goal is to help build lasting relationships among all stakeholders. This, ultimately, is the key to true dialogue and understanding.

Make it an ART

Accuracy. Our clients expect it of us. We expect it of ourselves. Accurate, credible information is the cornerstone. It’s how you use it that matters.

Relevance. The most interesting data and impressive messaging won’t matter if they don’t relate to the issue at hand or won’t resonate with the intended audience. See #1. Listen to find out what’s of concern and what’s at stake. Find the relevant data amongst the reams that are available and wrap messaging around it. Repeat.

Timeliness. As with relevance, information must be timely. Old facts don’t make the case; they just make our clients look out of date or, worse, shifty.

Visualize the solution

Even accurate, relevant and timely information is still just numbers or words on a page. Breaking through today’s firehose of news and infotainment is tough. It’s imperative to provide data and messaging in visual formats that capture attention, that share information in relatable ways and that can help break down the information at a single glance.

Never stop being curious

Our values statement includes the phrase “we are energetic and collaborative learners.” The word ‘learners’ is key in that sentence. Being bold – what we strive for at Saxum – means never losing our curiosity. It helps us continually innovate in how we approach the challenge of communicating on behalf of the energy industry.

Energy is a fascinating subject and a vital part of our daily lives. It’s a story worth telling.

Challenge accepted.

This post was written by Kristi DesJarlais, SVP, Energy Practice Lead

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