Climate solutions are a new frontier. That’s why third-party validation is critical to scaling a cleantech company. It’s a sign to potential investors and beta testers they should give your company a second look if they haven’t already found you.


Time Magazine and Biofuels Digest recently named their most impactful and promising greentech companies and industry influentials. Congratulations if you made the list!

In the intervening weeks, I’ve watched countless companies that could benefit from this recognition treat it like a dog that caught a car, wagging its tail but not sure what to do with it.

To be sure, I read several self-congratulatory LinkedIn posts that began with the words, “We were proud…” but that’s a single tactic, and a limited one at that, insufficient to leverage the notoriety.


The Academy Awards Example


Did you ever wonder how Academy Award voters choose the winners? It happens thanks to very scripted, months-long campaigns created by studios who understand that recognition translates into a big bang at the box office.

Academy voters are feted with free movie screenings, full-page ads are placed in the Arts & Leisure Sections of newspapers in New York and Los Angeles, and actors and actresses are sent out on dinner circuits to charm and woo voters. Like political campaigns, there’s a fair amount of skullduggery to be had, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.

The point is that these campaigns are built into movie and studio budgets because the puppet masters understand the value of the “experts” on public opinion.

Just because your cleantech company or project doesn’t have Disney’s budget doesn’t mean the same principle can’t be applied to your quest for success.


Leveraging Recognition For Your Cleantech Startup


As a child, I remember the adage, “Children should not be seen nor heard.” It was lousy parenting advice then and terrible communication advice for your cleantech company.

Your communication pipeline should always be set to “ON.” As a communicator, I scoff at the idea of stealth mode.

Having a website or a company profile on LinkedIn doesn’t qualify as a communication strategy if you aren’t leveraging your space online.


Audit Your Cleantech Company’s Marketing Strategy Before The Awards Season


Is your clean technology or clean energy project ready to be recognized? Here are some litmus test questions to ask your team. Think of it like checking an EV’s battery before buying it.

Who is our target audience? What do they look like? How old are they? What do they do for a living? What’s their motivation for following us? Do our communication efforts reflect their needs and desires?

How will your target audience know about you, and can they find us online? This is much more than whether or not you have a website. Is your website optimized so Google’s algorithms will lead your audience to find you when looking for a solution?

What’s your unique value proposition? Can you say something about your cleantech solution that goes beyond saying it’s better, faster, or cheaper than your competitors?

Are you consistently at the forefront of your audiences’ minds? Do you publish content on a planned and regular schedule for your social media and email list audiences, or are you more like a guest who shows up on their doorstep unannounced and out of nowhere?

Are you consistently building relationships with the experts in the industry, or are your connections strictly transactional?


Leveraging Your Planet-Saving Validation


Sticking with our Hollywood motif, screenwriter William Goldman’s famous quote about the movie industry applies equally to those who judge the merits of climate tech companies.

“Nobody knows anything…… Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what’s going to work. Every time out it’s a guess and, if you’re lucky, an educated one.”

Just because your company or your CEO wasn’t recognized doesn’t mean your idea is destined for the dustbin of history. Likewise, industry plaudits are no guarantee of success.

Still, because our brains are always seeking comfort and risk avoidance is hardwired into our DNA, awards from “experts” lower your audiences’ barrier to entry, especially when it comes to hard-to-comprehend clean technologies.

That’s why your marketing efforts should be in constant campaign mode. You should be ready to leverage that validation when your company receives it.

  • Stick to one message. If you receive notoriety, it’s worth a single email to your subscriber list. Don’t bury it in a multi-message newsletter.
  • Announce the news in video—people watch more videos than read online, and algorithms prioritize video over copy.
  • Coordinate the distribution—The announcement must go across all your communication touchpoints.
  • Be first to announce—No one remembers the 17th company that got the same award.
  • The announcement is about the validator. Time Magazine is universally recognized; your company isn’t. It would help if you had them; they don’t need you. Make sure to acknowledge the institution and the names of the experts you want connected with your cleantech company or project.
  • Rinse and repeat—Just because you sent an email or posted something on LinkedIn doesn’t mean people will remember it. It usually takes six or seven repetitions of a piece of information before the human brain stores it in the long-term memory lobe. Keep repeating the award like it’s your middle name until you are sick of it; then repeat it.

Congratulations, and let the campaign begin!

Are you interested in learning more about leveraging your cleantech award? Schedule a free, 30-minute Zoom call with me. 

CleanTech Focus