Engineering connections – the role of emotion in energy pr

Posted by Sara Hawthorn

Is the renewable energy sector emotional enough? At a recent renewable energy conference I had an interesting conversation with someone who said the sector often lacked emotion or, at least, was perceived to lack emotion.

Recently, data has led the charge as the hinge on which to pin all public relations activity which has led to obsessive poring over statistics, analytics and the harnessing of big data to creative powerful campaigns. However, we are – most of us – emotional beings. Data is undoubtedly useful and fascinating, but give us the choice of a cute animal video or a carefully plotted campaign built using hundreds of bits of data we’ll take the cute animal video every time.  


Because, to use common parlance, it gives us all the feels.

Why bother with emotion in energy pr?

The energy industry is technical, complex and full of amazing achievements and as energy pr professionals our job is to tell those stories. We tell them with the help of statistics, facts and technical information which build a picture of a strong, successful and capable business. Which is exactly how our clients want to be recognised.

That, than, begs the question; is emotionally-led pr relevant and worthwhile for the energy industry?

Talking about impact in energy pr

When we talk about impact in energy pr activity we talk about factors such as cost savings and productivity benefits – things of corporate value with tangible, measurable impact. Yet a report from Climate Exchange which looked at the UK public perception of renewable energy found that opinion depended on their knowledge of the impact of renewables – specifically at a local and community level. In other words – what impact does it have on them?

This is where the emotional connection card can and should be played. Emotion often drives behaviour – we see this is in the consumer world all the time; had terrible service somewhere, take to Twitter to complain.

When we bring emotion into play in pr activity we create impact, which in turn creates a protagonist worth rooting for and a story we feel compelled to read.  

Storyelling is at its most powerful when we feel connected to the protagonist

Emotional storytelling in energy pr

Of course, communicating with consumers and communicating with those within the energy industry are two very different things but are they mutually exclusive when it comes to emotional storytelling?

Arguably not. Try these two examples:
As CEO of Renewable Energy company, Sam has steered the company to 45% growth in just two years and the company now has a 68% market share. A recent investment of £1.4 million has allowed Renewable Energy to expand its research team and progress with the development of new tools which will provide much needed reductions in energy costs to consumers.

A childhood spent in fuel poverty and constant cold has driven CEO of Renewable Energy company, Sam, to invest £1.4 billion into developing tools to prevent more children suffering from the damaging effects of this global issue. It’s fair to say that personal experience has been the propelling factor in the company’s 45% growth over the last two years.

Both these examples can be aimed to those within the energy sector, both contain facts and figures related to success – but which one pulled you in? Which one created an impression and created an emotional response?

Delivering great communications and jargon-free, effective public relations is what we do. We’d like to do it for you. Interested?

Talk to us today

Emotion isn’t all or nothing

Taking an emotional approach to energy pr doesn’t mean continually tugging at heartstrings or leaving out important and relevant technical details, it just means remembering that we’re all human and we have naturally human responses which, whether we like it or not, drive our actions.

To answer the original question; does the sector lack emotion? No, it simply lacks the confidence and understanding to use emotional marketing effectively. That means it has opportunity, and lots of it, to venture into new territory with public relations and connect with customers both in and out of the sector in new and hugely prosperous ways.