The attention bottleneck in the global energy transition | Brunswick Group

The attention bottleneck in the global energy transition

Business critical issues develop slowly and then come fast.

Just how fast things are moving in the energy transition today was brought to life recently in a fascinating speech by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan 

The energy transition is bigger than business, as Jake Sullivan’s remarks make clear. It affects every facet of this global society we’ve been building since the end of the Second World War.  

It’s this change of gear from slow to fast that needs to be spelled out for business. The rise of shareholder activism means today, the lack of progress in your business’s energy transition can attract unwanted activist attention.  

And this is where the role of communications becomes clear: the time is now to switch gears and actively take your energy transition story to the people who matter.  

But the problem is there’s a growing attention bottleneck.  

Everyone else is switching gears too. A whole host of stakeholders across business and society are competing for attention on this topic. Add a now globalised media, with fewer credible outlets to tell your transition story to a wide audience and there’s a very real possibility of your transition story fails to cut through the noise.  

In the grip of this attention bottleneck, your digital communication becomes central to telling your transition story. It’s the only place where you can clearly, compellingly and credibly tell this all-important story the way you want to.   

The core challenge to effective energy transition communication is making the future feel certain while recognising the path to it is not. With this in mind, we have six things to help you tell that increasingly important story well online: 

1. Frame the future: Identify the strategic opportunity the transition provides and place yourself as a central player within this future. This needs to be a set piece of ‘hero’ content you will want everyone who matters to you to engage with. 

2. Create certainty: Use logic and rational arguments to show the transition path. This is another core piece of content: a roadmap that provides the practical near and medium term steps needed to get to your future. There may be more than one path on the roadmap, but that should not hold you back. 

3. Make it immediate: Identify the range of topics that influence your energy transition and show the tangible progress you are making on these topics today.

4. Align with beliefs: Connect your story with your stakeholders’ roles in this future and what they will value in it.

5. Be honest and authentic: It is vitally important you are transparent about your progress. It is also vitally important you clearly state alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement. So-called ‘greenwashing’ is very real while also being highly damaging now and as the transition progresses over the longer term. 

6. Remind and repeat: Use regular content updates to build on-going engagement and lead with ‘new norms’ that are needed for the transition. 

If you’d like to discuss using digital to help you tell your transition story, get in touch with George Butler or Carly Mercer.