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How Tech Leaders Target “a Giant Leap for Energy”

Corporate Reputation ,Energy ,Innovation

Bill Gates’ upbeat assessment of the feasibility of new forms of energy in an interview with the FT provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the man who co-founded Microsoft and drove the microchip revolution.

Bill Gates’ upbeat assessment of the feasibility of new forms of energy in an interview with the FT provides a fascinating insight into the thoughts of the man who co-founded Microsoft and drove the microchip revolution.

Gates told the FT that he has invested $1bn (£650m) into more than 40 energy ventures and plans to double his investment in green technologies to around £1.3bn.

Gates detailed a number of ambitious projects which if successful will revolutionise how we source energy.  Gates’ positive articulation of the opportunities in clean-tech present a positive vision of a non-too-distant future.

Projects range from “nuclear recycling”, where reactors will be powered by depleted uranium to “artificial photosynthesis” which could lead to devices that harness sunlight to split water into hydrogen fuel.

One project sure to capture the public’s imagination is high-altitude wind power that harnesses the kinetic energy of kites and flying turbines to capture previously inaccessible energy.

Another company funded by Gates is Calgary-based Carbon Engineering which is commercialising technology that removes and captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.  The captured CO² can be used commercially by industry and consumers.

Significantly, Gates calls for governments to invest tens of billions to prioritise zero-carbon energy sources. While the idea of investment into renewable energy on the same scale as the Manhattan Project and Apollo moon missions might sound fanciful in an age of austerity the challenge of arresting rising carbon emissions demands radical solutions.

As an experienced global business leader, Gates succeeds in talking convincingly about the feasibility of new forms of energy. When Bill Gates speaks investors listen.

It is highly instructive to see that business leaders who made their fortune in technology now see energy as the big opportunity.  In April, Elon Musk, a tech-pioneer, launched the vision of the battery powered home. Tesla’s lithium-ion storage batteries charges using electricity generated from solar power and “powers your home in the evening”. The launch generated excitement around the world to the reality of offgrid power.

By highlighting his burgeoning energy portfolio in the FT, Gates directly reaches a broad audience of global business and government audiences. His point that some energy investors will reap returns like those who invested in Microsoft, Apple or Google when they started out, is a positive one and not lost on anyone.

Microsoft is an Edelman client.

Written by: Michael Zdanowski, Associate Director at Edelman

Visiting The Windy City


Edelman UK's Head of Recruitment heads to Chi-town to visit Edelman's offices and meet global team members. Here's what she had to say about the experience.

In May of this year, I was invited to our Chicago office to participate in some training for a new recruitment system we are in the midst of implementing. Although I have spent time in the US before, I had not visited Chicago so it was a great opportunity for me to see and explore somewhere new. Driving in to Chicago from the airport, the first thing I noticed was the sky line, which was stunning. With rivers and canals running through the city and sky high buildings, it really is a sight. In fact, it is only when you start walking the streets of Chi-town (as it is affectionately called) do you come to realise the sheer size of these sky scrapers and the beauty of them. Most have been built in different era’s over the last 200 years so their architecture is very different and gives the city a diverse and rich texture. Our office in Chicago, the AON centre, is America’s fourth tallest building. With our floors being at the top end of the building, many days you can look out of the window and see fog or alternatively, landmarks of the city including Navy Pier.

Just like our office in London, the Chicago office was a hive of activity. With the NFL drawer in town, the excitement levels were high as we had a Hall of Fame player coming to do a Q&A with the staff. Deion Sanders was charming and memorable and really set the tone for the highly anticipated weekend ahead. Football is HUGE in the US. When I wasn’t in training, I was spending time with my US colleagues which was fantastic. Not only to put faces to names but to also share thoughts and ideas which was invaluable. In my free time, I was determined to see as many Chicago attractions as possible, from visiting the Art Institute of Chicago to walking through the Millennium Park to catch a glimpse of the famous ‘bean’ and of course no trip to Chicago is complete without eating deep pan pizza, listening to the blues and shopping. Tick, tick, tick!

One major thing that really stood out to me about our office in the windy city is that we have a museum. That’s right! A room filled with photos of how and where Edelman began and our accomplishments throughout the decades, alongside the amazing clients we have had the opportunity to work with. Not only did I feel very fortunate to be travelling with work, it also reinforced to me how much Edelman has to offer.

Written by: Tamara Lewis, Head of Recruitment, UK & Europe at Edelman

The Power of the Earned Brand
By Richard Edelman

Consumer Trends & Insight ,Culture ,Innovation
make your mark

Our business has a surfeit of new tools at our disposal, from personalised advertising to target direct marketing and dynamic content creation. And yet, we are in danger of losing our consumer. Edelman President and CEO Richard Edelman on trust and innovation, from Cannes Lions Festival 2015.

The life of the consumer is transformed daily by a rush of innovations.

Want to change the temperature of your home remotely? No problem, use Nest. Need a great dress for the weekend party? Easy, use Rent the Runway. Don’t want to be hanging around? Order a car from Uber. Want to maximize your workouts and monitor sleep patterns? Wear the Fitbit. Do you have a brilliant entrepreneurial idea that needs funding? Apply to Kickstarter.

It is the entrepreneur’s moment. Consider Jeff Bezos of Amazon who said, “New inventions and things that consumers like usually are good for society.” People love innovation and what it can bring to their lives. They connect with innovation in terms of the human spirit.

This should be a bonanza for marketing professionals, who are charged with selling these innovations.

Our business has a surfeit of new tools at our disposal, from personalized advertising to targeted direct marketing and dynamic content creation. And yet, we are in danger of losing our consumer.

Here are some warning signs for the marketer from our research:

– By a two-to-one margin, people feel that the pace of change is too quick.
– Two out of three consumers believe that the motive for innovation is greed and corporate profit.
– Two of three are nervous about privacy and security.
– Three of five are anxious about the environment and over consumption.
– Half are concerned about having to “be on” all of the time.
– Most worrying, 87 percent of consumers said they will stop buying innovative products and services unless companies address these concerns.

We have to act on a simple truth: acceptance of innovation cannot be bought; it must be earned. As marketers, we are failing.

Three out of five consumers told us that brands are not on the right track when it comes to listening and communicating with them. And by two-to-one, consumers said they want to be reassured rather than be inspired.

We have forgotten that reassurance is required at a time of rapid change. To achieve that “arms around” status demands a different playbook.

This churn of innovation means more than ever that my evidence is your experience. Said another way, it is the experience that peers have with an innovative product and their emotional shared reactions that are the necessary evidence for purchase. Seventy-five percent say they turn to peers to push them toward or away from a purchase.

Instead of brands using the opportunities that social channels provide to convey their messages, marketers must also use the same social channels to enable peer-to-peer conversation to tap into the power of the peers if they are to convert the purchase. Sixty-seven percent say they trust a brand more if they facilitate peer reviews. And consumers take seriously the opportunity to connect with brands via a “human face at the company.”

Today’s inspiration comes from aspiration. Sixty-nine percent of people believe that the role of innovation for brands should be to constantly improve society and 63 percent to push our thinking. People around the world want to understand the purpose and mission of the brand, how the new product will improve their friends’ lives. And when they are inspired about the mission, the consumers become missionaries.

Disruptive innovation is a fact of the modern economy. As marketers, we need to evolve our playbook if we want to succeed. We have to address consumers’ fears before we have the permission to sell. And we are most credibly represented by those with personal experience of a brand, speaking openly and spontaneously. Once the foundation of trust is established, then marketing can play its role of inspiring purchase.

Today, I am sharing the stage in Cannes at the Lions Festival of Creativity with Jamie Oliver, whose personal campaign for better quality and more nutritious food under the banner, Food Revolution, has changed diets around the world. He understands intuitively that there are four characteristics of successful innovative brands. He informs his publics about the facts on diet, from health consequences to quality of life. He provides a greater purpose, how his initiative will improve the community. He is a character with personal experience leading a campaign that you want to join and advocate. And he is doing something different that is worthy of your association and advocacy. He earns the right to innovate. This is the new model of marketing in action.

This article originally appeared on Richard Edelman’s 6A.M. Blog.

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

The Simple Truth

Consumer Trends & Insight ,Culture ,Innovation
enable peer convers

Why do people crave innovation, even though new is not always better and it often comes with a perceived risk? What do brands need to do?

Why do people crave innovation, even though new is not always better and it often comes with a perceived risk? What do brands need to do?

We wanted to learn more about disruptive innovators and what marketers and communicators could learn from businesses and brands that have reimagined categories, products and services. Especially new disrupters like Uber, airbnb and other businesses that have fundamentally changed the way we consume products and services even beyond their own sectors.

So we did a unique study with consumers from across the globe exploring their real feelings about innovation and new rela­tionships with brands.

The Earned Brand study revealed a simple truth: Brands that inno­vate well create human relation­ships, as such, they consumer trust and the right to innovate – they are the Earned Brands.

There will always be the lovers and the haters of change and in­novation. But we now know that people believe in the promise of innovation. We also found that it doesn’t matter about geography, demographic or sector…two-thirds of consumers are conflicted, undecided and need to be reassured before they will purchase.

People now ask their friends, use the Internet and their peer-to-peer social networks to get reassurance. They want to talk to others who’ve had the same experience, made the same mistakes, and found the best answer. And these people tell the truth, not just the latest brand story.

So if it’s about people talking to people, what is the role for brands? Our study found brands win if they embrace and power the peer conversation. People across the globe told us that they trust brands more if they find it easy to review their products and services. And just as importantly, they trust the brands that encourage people to review their products and services.

When you group tribes of people together around their tolerance for risk and their attitudes towards innovation, you start to get a clear picture of what people want from innovative brands. This gives us a key to the behaviours that will reassure these different peer tribes.

We have classified the conflicted consumers into the following Innovation Typologies:

The Traditionalist

Traditionalists fear losing the old ways of doing things; they fear losing touch and are very concerned about having to be “always on.” To engage with this group, brands need to deliver purpose and show them how the brand is part of an authentic experience.

The Analyzer

Analyzers love innovation, but is concerned about a brand’s motive, the impact of the innovation on the environment, and the impact of overconsumption. To engage with this group, brands need to inform and educate – they need to be given the facts so that they can make up their minds.

The Rebel

Rebels might like innovative brands, but they believe that everything is becoming average and that people are becoming like robots just taking the innovation and upgrades as they come without question. To engage these people, brands need to make their mark and help theses consumers stand out from the crowd.

The Creator

Creators want innovative brands to encourage creativity and make them look smarter. They love brands and creating content—but they are overwhelmed with options and concerned about priva­cy issues. This group needs to be engaged by brands creating a clear character and giving them a way to wear the brand as a “badge”.

What we can all learn from disruptive innovators is a new model of marketing in action.

It’s not just about the messaging, storytelling and choosing the right channels. It’s about how your brand behaves and earns the right to be considered, engaged and shared. It’s about using the right communication approach…listening, shaping and treating groups of people as communities, not just a marketplace. Brands become Earned Brands by joining the peer-to-peer econo­my, learning how to fuel, not control, and shape the conversation.

Written by Michelle Hutton, global practice chair, Consumer Marketing.

This article originally appeared on Edelman.com.

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