Category: Industrials

A perfect partnership: My love affair with AI

By Alastair Turner, Global CEO

Exploring the transformative partnership between AI and humans, this blog highlights how AI enhances creativity and business innovation. It underscores the importance of ethical collaboration and envisions AI’s role in future achievements.

Eighteen years into a marriage that still sparks joy, laughter and the occasional electric touch, I’ve come to a realization: Partnerships, in their myriad forms, are the bedrock of human achievement. Whether it’s the love that binds my wife and me, or the amazing partnership that we cheer on the sports pitch, dance to at festivals and laugh with en masse at gigs, the essence of collaboration is unmistakable. But there is a new partnership in town and it’s unlike any other: my burgeoning romance with generative artificial intelligence (AI), aka ChatGPT.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill dalliance. No, this is the kind of transformative union that could only be rivaled by the legendary synergies of yesteryear — think Edwards and John lighting up the rugby field, Torvill and Dean gliding to Olympic glory, or Jordan and Pippen dominating the hardwood. Each duo, in their respective arenas, while not always friends or even getting on, showcased the exponential power of collaboration. I have not a smidgen of their talents, but my relationship with AI is certainly helping me be better at my job and it doesn’t seem to mind if I steal the limelight.

AI and humans: A symphony of differences

The beauty of human partnerships often lies in the harmonious interplay of contrasts. Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting genius, the comedic timing of Laurel and Hardy, the strategic masterminds of Montana and Rice when the 49ers won Super Bowls — each partnership thrived on the unique contributions of its members. In the realm of AI, however, the dynamic shifts. Here, the partnership is inherently asymmetrical, with the scales tipped decidedly in my favor. AI doesn’t vie for the spotlight or seek recognition. Not yet anyway. There are no artistic differences and it’s never passive aggressive (not a refence to my wife!). Instead, it amplifies my capabilities, quietly transforming me into, I like to think, a more effective, innovative leader.

The unseen muse: How AI Enhances Human Creativity and Innovation

In the creative industries, the quest for the next “aha!” moment is relentless. AI, with its ability to sift through data and identify patterns invisible to the human eye, has become an indispensable ally. It’s not about replacing the human touch but enriching it, offering a palette of possibilities that were previously unimaginable. This isn’t just about making processes more efficient; it’s about elevating creativity to new heights, guiding us toward ideas that resonate more deeply and connect more authentically. Check out this Harvard Business Review piece for more fascinating insights into how generative AI boosts human creativity.

Building bridges, not replacing them

In the business of marketing and communications, relationships are currency. While AI excels at decoding trends and managing data, it’s the human element — our ability to empathize, to share a laugh, to forge connections — that turns these insights into meaningful strategies. This partnership doesn’t dilute the personal touch; it sets the stage for more impactful human interactions, ensuring that every handshake or shared joke is as potent as it can be.

A dance of complexity and ethics

Facing the labyrinth of modern challenges, the alliance between human ingenuity and AI’s computational prowess is our best bet. Together, we navigate the unpredictable, blending AI’s efficiency with human adaptability and ethical judgment. This is not about relegating AI to the role of a sidekick; it’s about recognizing it as a force multiplier, a catalyst that propels us toward a future we’re only beginning to imagine.

I find it compelling how many of our clients are flirting with AI, using generative AI tools, developing their own GPTs, or speculating about AI’s future in their thought leadership in the media. We hear our clients across our sectors discuss it, from financial services and capital markets to energy, industrials, and technology. Recently our client, a cloud solutions tech provider called Searce, posited that generative AI tools are going to change compliance functions. Fintech provider Clearwater Analytics predicted the proliferation of generative AI use cases in investment accounting and the broader financial services sector. And, global commodities intelligence provider ICIS launched its own generative AI commodities assistant called Ask ICIS.

To infinity and beyond

So, as I reflect on my love affair with AI, I’m reminded of the fictional dynamic duo of Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. AI is not merely a dependable friend like Woody or a simple gadget on Buzz’s utility belt. It’s far more transformative. Imagine AI as Buzz Lightyear’s wings — it doesn’t just add to our capabilities; it propels us to new realms of possibility.

This partnership with AI is about embarking on a journey to uncharted territories, reaching for ‘infinity and beyond’. It’s not merely about solving problems or enhancing the way we do things; it’s a catalyst that launches us into a future brimming with unexplored potential.

In this perfect partnership, AI doesn’t just add wings to our aspirations — it fuels our flight toward a future ripe with possibilities, ensuring that together, we soar higher, reach further, and dream bigger… It must be love.

Related News

21 E-E-A-T Strategies To Supercharge Your SEO And Boost Brand Trust

By Oliver Wells, SEO Director

Estimated read time: 12 minutes 

Blog summary: In this blog I breakdown the importance of Google’s EEAT framework to modern SEO and business growth. I’ll focus on how to implement experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on your website. Read on to learn how utilizing EEAT strategies not only enhances your organic search performance but also builds long lasting customer loyalty and trust; positioning your business for success in a digital-first world. 

EEAT as a measure of enduring quality

In this dynamic and now AI-influenced landscape of digital content production, Google’s E-E-A-T framework stands as a beacon of unwavering credibility. Born into the 2014 edition of the Quality Rater Guidelines as 3 simple letters: “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) they have since been incorporated into updates both core and micro for as long as I can remember, and now also include a further “E” for “Experience”. We can now see and track the direct and wholly positive impacts of EEAT strategies in organic campaigns, but why is this the case?

“E-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It’s pervasive throughout every single thing we do.”

Hyung-Jin Kim, Vice President of Search at Google, speaking at SMX Next

The value of lived experience

EAT was introduced as a quality concept in response to the growing need for authoritative and trustworthy online information. Fast forward to 2022, and the concept expanded to include ‘Experience’. This represents the value of firsthand, lived experience(s). This evolution wasn’t just an update; it was a statement. Google was championing content not just rich in expertise but also steeped in honest, genuine input. For users, it meant a more relatable, trustworthy and reliable online world, where information comes from those who don’t just know but truly understand the industry because they have lived it – and they aren’t simply writing content in order to sell you a dream. They want to help or guide you towards something, they’re willing to prove themselves to you, and they are happy to be patient.

EEAT as an influencing force

As goes modern SEO, Google’s E-E-A-T has emerged as a powerhouse. Its utilization in the March 2024 update is telling. It’s not just a framework; it’s how you connect with potential customers and website users. It’s how you show them why you’re the best option in a noisy and incoherent grey space of endless choice. By blending experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness Google is able to nudge content creators, business owners and marketing directors (sometimes forcefully and with some degree of resistance) towards excellence. Engaging with EEAT frameworks as they become even more essential, is now a case of when, not if; and there is some degree of urgency.

The focus revolves around rewarding those who know their stuff with resonance that is achieved through genuine experience and transparency – honesty with a dash of true and forthright passion for a craft and a business that wants to thrive. For SEO strategists, myself included, mastering E-E-A-T is not just about playing by the rules; it’s about crafting content that connects with audiences and converts because it is a natural full stop rather than a wrestling match.

Why you need to be using EEAT frameworks sooner, rather than later

So why should you care about SEO and EEAT and what does success look like for your business following continued engagement with these frameworks? The short answer is: online trust = increased business but garnered the right way, consistently and honestly, over time. In our challenging digital world it can seem like every blog and every site is designed to splice attention into consumable chunks, robbing businesses of feeling and websites of humanity.

Therefore, SEOs and Google know and understand that those who genuinely want to engage and talk about a topic are the ones who cultivate the greatest loyalties. Customer loyalty and brand trust being possibly the two greatest pillars upon which strong businesses are built. EEAT is a big thing. I won’t pretend like I am able to discuss it all in one blog post. It encompasses a lot of SEO with crossover into design, digital marketing generally, as well as brand positioning and content creation. But we are passionate about this. We believe strongly that EEAT is the best way to improve organic presence, but we also have an extremely strong feeling that these frameworks are formative to AI and LLM performance. Google may rely heavily on how trustworthy you are, how much authority you have; therefore success in EEAT may very well mean success in AI when AI becomes a major, dominant player in SEO and search.

So, lofty goals we may set, but attainable they are. We have compiled for you below, our top 21 EEAT elements that you must engage with as soon as you can if you want to become a trustworthy organic performance powerhouse.

Unlocking the potential of Google’s EEAT to achieve SEO excellence

Showcase Experience

  1. Use “I” and personal pronouns in your content. Address your audience and readers naturally. We’ve touched on this above but be personable. Talk about yourself as the writer and your experiences relative to the topic at hand and add value with your input. Don’t be afraid of anecdotes. Make your content relatable and authentic. De-mask the featureless writing machine and be “you”. 
  2. For reviews and UGC, try to promote and encourage your customers and users and partners to talk directly about their experience with you as a brand and a business. How did they find an onboarding process? Was their experience with your customer service team positive and why? The value here is in the depth of detail and creating a realistic expectation for others.
  3. Long-form and effusive testimonials are marketing gold-dust. This is a given fact. How you utilize them, once acquired, can be a difference-maker. Make sure you split up a positive review or user-story and inject its influence across your site, content, and marketing channels. You can quote a review snippet into a blog, create an image slider on social media, a testimonial-blast email and so much more. This gives users a great sense of your experience in the industry.
  4. A simple but effective approach is to include dates that relate to your own experiences. If you’re writing a blog, mention your credentials. For me, for example, I have 8 years’ experience in SEO and digital marketing. This one sentence lends credence to my insights and tells Google that my experience can be trusted.
  5. To expand upon the above, when writing meet the team pages or employee information sections on your site (which are a must do but we will get to that!) then include how many years’ experience they each have and where they acquired that experience. What degrees do they have, where did they study, and who are their notable client exposures. If your marketing team of 10, each have between 5- and 10-years’ experience in the industry each, that is a collective (roughly) 50 to 100 years’ worth of knowledge. That is a data point worth shouting about.

Highlight Expertise:

  1. It may seem obvious but one of the best ways to implement the expertise concept is to utilize experts on your site and in your marketing. This can take many forms. You can approach a topic-related industry professional or known quantity to write/author a blog for you. You could also ask for a contribution to a blog piece or you can ask them to provide specific input regarding your service and surface that prominently on your home or service pages. A blend of all is often most effective. Make sure you are displaying the expert’s credentials, qualifications, and experiences as best you can.
  2. Showcase topic experts. When writing content, it is vital that the author is shown. The method of showing also counts here. A one-liner is not enough. We need an author bio of 50-100 words that links the author to the topic. This is an SEO blog. The ‘about the author’ section in this blog talks about my SEO experience. Because I am an SEO expert. Ideally, we need a job title too, and an image of the author (designs coming soon…) You also need to work towards building a bank of content authored by your experts.
  3. Meet the authors. An often-overlooked strategic content piece. A page that showcases all your authors alongside all their subject specialisms and a link to “see content authored by this expert” goes an extremely long way to showing Google and your audience that you are a trustworthy business comprised of topic/industry experts. You can also go one step further and build out author profile pages on a specific URL for each person; allowing a user to deep-dive your experts, their experience, and the content they have written.
  4. Have you written more on the subject matter? Conducted studies, or research? Then link it. You can’t be an expert with a blog count of one. This blends into the final point of consistency. Experts, real ones, write a lot of content. My colleagues know my specialisms, but if I don’t write on the topic consistently then readers, and Google, won’t know or trust that fact. 
  5. Lastly, an expert uses the best sources. So do your research and showcase your findings. The very best blog articles out there link to studies, research, data, reviews and then some. A brilliantly written wall of text just isn’t going to cut it. Google uses these links to cement the content in truth. Utilize the words and insights of other experts to support and formalize your own.

Generate Authority:

  1. Authority can be hard to earn generally and may take some time as a challenger brand or start-up. For established businesses, you might already have authoritative voices in your company. If so, utilize them. You can begin this process with, for example, creating a meet the team page. Who are the people that make up your business and why are they authoritative (you can see here how constituent parts of the EEAT concept are interlinked). Later on, you can engage with actions such as conferences, community events, posting about your presence there on your site and social media channels; develop individual voices with multimedia creation such as podcasts – make the right types of noise in the right kinds of relevant spaces.
  2. Engage with digital PR. DPR is one of the best, quickest, and most effective ways to build your brand authority. We can get your CEO or a HOD listed in newspapers and magazines offering commentary or insight regarding world-events or current affairs. We can get you a full-post placement in an audience/business specific magazine or publication showcasing a new service, entrance into a foreign market or discussing the state of an industry and the potential issues that may (come to) plague it following the announcement of new legislation. DPR builds authority through direct audience recognition. It also may provide a backlink which directly and positively improves your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines. Furthermore, Google is now able to detect un-linked brand mentions and employ that detection as a measure of trust and authority. This identification is getting more and more sophisticated (a trend that will continue) as Google moves away from traditional backlinking as a potent measure of interconnectivity and moves towards more natural ways of testing a brand’s impact in press – especially as media backlink inclusion gets less and less commonplace. Hence the truly vital nature of digital PR.
  3. To be an authority, you need to understand a subject deeply whilst also developing your and others’ understanding of it at the same time. To do this, you need to create and commission studies, research and analysis that is new to market. You can survey your audience and publish your findings. You can engage a specialized agency to undergo rigorous testing on your behalf – utilizing the end product across marketing channels and media. This also goes a long way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your specific space(s).
  4. An authoritative site is trusted by others. It is all well and good writing the best blog in the world but if nobody sees it, does it have authority? Following the publishing of a blog piece it is then important to conduct manual outreach to other sites, brands and businesses. You want those other sites to use your piece in their own insights and analysis as a hyperlink or reference. To go back to the above point, if you have conducted excellent research with fascinating end-product data, chances are, media and relative brands will want to use your findings. Thus, the cycle of authority and thought leadership is oft self-sustaining.

Delivering Trust:

  1. Of all the metrics and approaches, the notion of trust is almost certainly the most important as regards all-round business growth and efficacy of method. The first thing you should do is ask yourself the question “how can I prove myself and create a natural, genuine sense of trust between me, my audience, and Google?” Your first port of call should be to ascertain and/or showcase your industry specific business qualifications, certifications and accreditations. These are vast and varied by nature but can cover things such as health and safety, ISO specifications, quality control (QC) and even badges that show users how you encrypt data or ensure safe payment methods.
  2. Award wins and recognitions. If you have won awards for your excellent business practices, campaigns or for a specific project –shout about them! Winning awards and being recognized for your work is one of the best and quickest ways to build trust between you as a business, search engines and your users. If you haven’t won any awards just yet, start applying for some. If you’re in the tech industry, check out our list of the best tech awards to enter.  If you’re an energy company reading this, we’ve got you covered. Browse our comprehensive list of energy awards to enter.
  3. Case studies are key when it comes to trust building. The more descriptive you can be with your case studies the better. Offer insight and commentary on the work you did, the relationship you created, and the results you achieved. Breakdown data and statistics, be clear, up-front and honest about any challenges you encountered. It is important to include a testimonial from the client, a review snippet or a measure of insight from their side. You should also link to the website in question if applicable – cementing the relationship to search engines. You should also segment your case studies for clear access; utilizing menu grouping, unique URL paths and breadcrumbs. Grouping all of your case studies in a bunch together is hard to interpret but creating “SEO case studies” and “PPC case studies” groups makes life easy for potential SEO and PPC clients respectively. You want these case studies front and center, easy to read; concise and valuable.
  4. Fact check all content and keep it evergreen. Dated content no longer functions in our fast paced environment. I wouldn’t trust an SEO strategy blog dated to 2018, or even 2020, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either! Please also keep dates out of URLs, they don’t belong there! I believe it also goes without saying, but don’t include anything in your content or marketing that you cannot prove to be true.
  5. You can’t trust what you don’t know. An about us page is something that is perhaps arduous to create but is truly worthwhile. Users want to know who you are. Google wants to know who you are. Go further and showcase your history, the people that made your business, your mission statement, values and purpose – provide a timeline, or an interview with the company founders. Do all you can to show the world your business is made of real people with real passions that can be trusted by virtue of their openness and capacity for honesty.
  6. Engage with review sites across the web. EEAT is not just site-specific, its impact escapes and encompasses the entire web. Therefore, it is imperative that you engage with multiple review sites and aggregators. That means having a presence on e.g. Trustpilot, Clutch, Review.io, industry specific reviews sites and more if you can. Google reviews are perhaps the most crucial, but it does not mean that others should be overlooked. When it comes to review harvesting and prompting be sure to encourage (as stated above!) honesty and clarity on process. But also try to secure service specific language and deep insights into a product or experience. You want to create a sense of relativity, allowing your potential new audience to put themselves in the shoes of your current audience. Lastly on this, you must directly address all negative reviews, no matter how time-costly this is. This shows you’re a genuine, trustworthy business that cares about how people perceive it.
  7. A final but interconnected point on testimonials. Where possible, insert these into relative pages. Testimonials that extol the virtues and value of a service, placed onto that service page, will work wonders for your conversion rate and for the right reasons at that.

To conclude

As I said, EEAT is BIG. But it is worth getting your head around. It represents for me, and for Aspectus, the evolution of SEO and the future of AI and LLM performance. Businesses that fail at EEAT, will fail as we transition. But that ought not be a negative. EEAT means building connections with your audience. It represents a freedom and creativity to engage and to be exciting. It’s a celebration of authenticity and expertise; a showcase of your experience. It’s about showing the world who you are, what you do, why you do it and what drives you forward.  EEAT isn’t just the next big thing; it’s the foundation for enduring success on search engines. It’s an invitation to create content that’s as real as it is relevant, as personal as it is powerful. Get in touch with me today to discuss how we can help you achieve SEO success through EEAT implementation.  

Key Takeaways:

What is Google’s E-E-A-T?

Google’s E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, a framework crucial for SEO success, emphasizing credible and quality content.

How does E-E-A-T impact SEO and digital marketing?

E-E-A-T directly influences organic search rankings by rewarding content that demonstrates genuine expertise, authoritative sources, and trustworthiness, along with the author’s personal experience in the subject matter.

Why should businesses focus on E-E-A-T?

Focusing on E-E-A-T ensures that businesses create content that truly resonates with their audience, establishing a strong, trustworthy online presence that drives organic growth and customer loyalty.

How can incorporating E-E-A-T into content strategy benefit a business?

Incorporating E-E-A-T into a content strategy significantly boosts a business’s online credibility and authority, leading to better search rankings, increased trust among users, and ultimately, higher conversion rates.

What role does ‘Experience’ play in the updated E-E-A-T framework?

The addition of ‘Experience’ to the E-E-A-T framework highlights the importance of personal anecdotes and firsthand knowledge in creating relatable, authentic content that resonates with audiences and demonstrates genuine understanding.

Why is E-E-A-T considered foundational for future SEO and AI performance?

E-E-A-T is foundational because it aligns SEO practices with the evolving capabilities of AI and machine learning, ensuring that content not only meets current standards of relevance and quality but is also prepared for future technological advancements in search algorithms.

About the author:

I have been working in SEO and strategic marketing services for over 8 years now. My experience is an even split between in-house roles at start-ups and agency roles at some of the UK’s biggest PR and digital agencies. I am based in East London having moved down from Essex 5 years ago. Professionally, I am a proud advocate for EEAT and SEO and the genuine business benefits of integrated service adoption. Personally, my heart is in the Lake District and nature. Podcasts are my jam and coffee is my addiction.

Bibliography

More from us on SEO, Google, and marketing strategy: 

Related News

Rolling out the red carpet: a comprehensive list of the best B2B energy awards to enter in 2024

By Olivia Greaves, Account Manager

B2B energy awards come in all different shapes and sizes, highlighting regional activity, best-in-class technology, ESG and DEI initiatives and more, but how can you sift through the ever-increasing categories to find those most relevant to you and those you have the strongest chance of winning?

With lots to choose from it can be hard to decide where your efforts are best placed, here are some of our top picks for B2B energy awards to enter in 2024.

ADIPEC Awards

For those operating in the Middle East, it doesn’t get much bigger than ADIPEC. Held annually in Abu Dhabi, ADIPEC runs over four days in mid-November, with the awards ceremony a major element of the overall event.

Last year’s awards centred around companies ‘Leading the Transformation’ and we can expect a similar theme for 2024’s categories, celebrating achievements in the pursuit of net-zero emissions and decarbonisation.

Entry deadline: June (TBC)

Awards ceremony: Mid-November 2024

edie Net-Zero Awards

The inaugural edie Net-Zero Awards were held in November 2023, a sister scheme the established edie Awards, it was created to recognise individuals and organisations who are spearheading the transition towards a net-zero carbon economy.

Categories include Net-Zero Hero, Built Environment Project of the Year, Innovation of the Year and Renewables Energy Project of the Year, amongst others.

Entry deadline: July (TBC)

Awards ceremony: November (TBC)

Global Offshore Wind Awards

The Global Offshore Wind Awards is run by RenewableUK and celebrates the very best in offshore wind across several categories- People, skills and health and safety; Innovation and excellence; and Environmental, social and governance.

Entry deadline: July (TBC)

Awards ceremony: October (TBC)

Hart Energy ESG Awards

An increased spotlight on ESG in recent years has led to an increase in accompanying awards. Hart Energy’s ESG Awards are open to producers, operators, services companies and midstream companies in the oil and gas industry. The awards look to recognise innovations, social efforts and leadership practices.

With a slightly different format to other awards, organisations don’t enter specific categories but instead enter with a ‘summary of achievements’ and one company per ‘type’ is crowned winner.

Entry deadline: April 5

Awards ceremony: August 30-31

Hydrogen Awards

It was only a matter of time until the budding hydrogen sector developed its own awards. Enter The Hydrogen Awards.

There are over 23 categories to enter and win, celebrating the use of hydrogen across many industries including automotive, rail, industrial and construction.

Entry deadline: November (TBC)

Awards ceremony: February (TBC)

Offshore Energy UK (OEUK) Awards

Hosted annually in Aberdeen, the OEUK Awards celebrates outstanding companies and inspirational people working within the energy sector.

The award has several categories for those just starting out in the industry, including Apprentice of the Year and Early Career Professional of the Year as well as others spotlighting energy security and decarbonisation efforts.

Entry deadline: August (TBC)

Awards ceremony: November (TBC)

Offshore Achievement Awards (OAAs)

Another awards ceremony hailing from the Granite City, the OAAs reward innovative technologies, company growth and contributions of individuals within the energy sector.

Entry deadline: Already closed for 2024, expected to reopen November (TBC)

Awards ceremony: March 2025 (TBC)

Platts Global Energy Awards

With over a quarter a century of awards ceremonies under its belt, the Platts Global Energy Awards is one of the more established awards on the B2B energy awards circuit, and with 20 categories, there’s something for almost everyone.

Categories for individuals range from Rising Star Individual Award to Lifetime Achievement Award, and categories for companies include a variety of energy transition awards.

Entry deadline: August (TBC)

Awards ceremony: December (TBC)

Subsea Expo Awards

The Subsea Expo Awards, hosted by Global Underwater Hub, recognise companies and individuals that are leading the way in the UK’s underwater sectors.

There are just seven categories, including a Technology Development Award. 

Entry deadline: Already closed for 2024, expected to reopen September 2024

Awards ceremony: February 2025

Woman in Energy Award

In an industry that is still largely dominated by men, the Woman in Energy Award aims to reward and celebrate women in energy.

Part of European Sustainable Energy Week, it highlights outstanding activities, projects or actions carried out by women. Particular attention is placed on efforts to drive the gender mainstreaming agenda and support equality and equal opportunities.

Entry deadline: February 1

Awards ceremony: June 11

At Aspectus, we’ve won many B2B energy awards for clients. From handling the research through to drafting compelling and creative entries including winning The Offshore Achievement Awards, Green Business Awards and Ground Engineering. Get in touch if you’d like to win more awards in 2024.

At a glance

AwardEntry deadlineCeremony
ADIPEC AwardsJune (TBC)Mid-November (TBC)
edie Net-Zero AwardsJuly (TBC)November (TBC)
The Global Offshore Wind AwardsJuly (TBC)October (TBC)
Hart Energy ESG AwardsApril 5August 30-31
The Hydrogen Awards.November (TBC)February (TBC)
OEUK AwardsAugust (TBC)November (TBC)
Offshore Achievement AwardsNovember (TBC)March 2025
Platts Global Energy AwardsAugust (TBC)December (TBC)
Subsea Expo AwardsSeptember (TBC)February 2025 (TBC)
Woman in Energy AwardFebruary 1June 11

Related News

The nuclear-sized hole at the heart of the green hydrogen vision

By Paul Noonan, Lead Copywriter, Energy and Industrials 

Clean hydrogen has long been hailed as the green lifeblood of the future economy, helping store and circulate renewable energy across sectors and decarbonise hard-to-abate industries and heavy transport. It is at the heart of the energy transition, holding the promise of decarbonising sectors that cannot be easily electrified and even providing the Holy Grail of dispatchable renewable power in the form of hydrogen gas-fired power stations. It is also central to Europe’s energy security with the EU aiming to replace 27 bcm of imported Russian gas with 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen. Yet green hydrogen is currently little more than a pipe dream because Europe’s policymakers have set pie-in-the-sky policy-driven timelines without being honest about the practical steps to achieving them and the enormous energy costs involved.

Few realise that the EU’s target of 10 million tonnes of home-grown hydrogen by 2030 would consume the equivalent of Germany’s entire annual power consumption, which could max out our electric grids. The EU also aims to create hydrogen entirely from new renewable energy capacity to avoid diverting clean power from other applications. This would require a 44% expansion of Europe’s renewable energy capacity at a time of rising renewable supply chain costs and constraints, exacerbating energy bills and worsening our reliance on rare-earth metals from China. In other words, green hydrogen could ironically worsen the very energy cost and energy security crises it was meant to solve.

Time to go nuclear

Nuclear energy could circumvent this entire problem by creating hydrogen electrolytically or even through direct use of heat from nuclear energy thus avoiding excessive new wind or solar construction and electricity use.  Crucially, much more renewable capacity would be needed to cover unpredictable swings in supply whereas nuclear provides a stable power source and thus needs less capacity. This means that producing a million metric tonnes of hydrogen would need just seven gigawatts of installed nuclear capacity compared with 22 gigawatts of onshore wind or 52 gigawatts of onshore solar.

Yet nuclear power is currently caught in a political tug-of-war between Germany and France and the fate of nuclear-produced hydrogen hangs in the balance. Nuclear has been excluded from the EU’s proposed list of renewable hydrogen power sources which is being considered by the European Parliament and Council and will form the investors’ guide to hydrogen. And there is now a major battle looming over whether nuclear can even qualify as “low-carbon hydrogen” with an EU methodology due to be agreed in 2024.

There is an urgent need for communications campaigns to outline the benefits of nuclear and the full implications of sole reliance on renewable electricity for hydrogen. As we transition to new energy, informed communications is vital to ensure that these immensely consequential decisions consider the widest array of technological options and are based on transparent, accurate data.  Otherwise, green hydrogen risks becoming the cure for our energy woes that is worse than the disease.

Related News

The blue economy: don’t fall into the buzzword trap at this year’s Subsea Expo


By Louise Douglas, Senior Account Director, Energy & Industrials 

The term ‘blue economy’ is not new, but it has had a new lease of life in the era of the energy transition. You’ve probably seen it mentioned in many government pledges, industry articles or corporate strategies. And it’s the leading theme at Subsea Expo this year.

But what does it really mean? More importantly, do you know what it means to your business? Questions you’ll need to know the answers to ahead of this year’s largest annual subsea exhibition and conference.

What is the blue economy?

The European Commission defines it as, “all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts, whilst the World Bank describes it as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.” Although the term has been used in different ways, sustainability is the golden thread that runs through it.

And with greenwashing scandals rising like our sea levels, sustainability is not a term that should be used loosely without careful consideration.

What’s the business potential?

In 2021 the European Commission proposed a new approach to the blue economy off the back of the pandemic, ensuring a more sustainable approach as part of the green deal. With a recent report showcasing the blue economy provides 4.5 million direct jobs and generates over 650 billion euro in turnover in Europe alone. So, there’s a lot of pressure on getting it right.

This means investing in innovative technologies such as wave and tidal energy, floating wind, waste management and using ports as crucial greener energy hubs. This opens the door to a range of companies who are already excelling at these technologies and innovations. And discussing at Subsea Expo how these businesses must work together to maximise the blue economic opportunities will be key.

But understanding how your company fits within the blue economy is the easy part. It’s getting your communications right that can prove challenging.

Why getting the marketing right is crucial

A word of warning to event attendees… “Oh no, not another buzzword,” is not what you want your audiences to think when they read your external communications. Many businesses can make the mistake of using terms or claims without any real substance or proof points behind them.

Coca Cola is a good example of this when it launched it’s ‘World Without Waste’ marketing campaign, leaving out that it produces 3 million tons of plastic packaging per year. Needless to say, it was not received well.

This can give a negative preconception of your brand, inserting uncertainty around where you stand on important industry challenges.

Simply put, trust can be easily lost.

This is where messaging comes in. Clear and concise messaging is a must to separate you from your competition and to ensure your target markets know what you stand for. And this doesn’t just mean external messaging. Internal communication is just as important to maintain a strong brand identity. It’s also essential to use this messaging in the right way, targeting the right media and platforms for your brand. Done right, it can attract the right attention from potential recruits to investors and key journalists.

To avoid falling into the buzzword trap and to create meaningful communications, a second pair of eyes and ears can be what’s needed. A specialist partner to challenge your thinking, who isn’t afraid to not be a yes man or woman.

This is where a specialist brand, marketing and communications agency can provide you with a wealth of experience.

The good, the bad and the ugly, we’ve seen it all.

If you’d like to avoid being caught up in the next greenwashing wave or simply would like some advice on communications, get in touch with a member of our energy team.

Meet us at this year’s Subsea Expo to discuss more. Email: louise.douglas@aspectusgroup.com

Related News

3 reasons why an apprenticeship is the perfect steppingstone for a career in PR and digital marketing


By Emilio Koumis, Apprentice

What to do after you leave school is a question that many students consider. Is university the right decision for them? Or is getting hands on experience in the form of an apprenticeship the way forward? Below are three key benefits of why an apprenticeship could be for you.

1) Hands on experience

Hands on experience in a real-world setting is important in any industry you go in to, and an apprenticeship can provide just that! It is invaluable for understanding the fundamentals of PR and developing the skills necessary to succeed within the sector. You are given the opportunity to work alongside experienced professionals, learning how to craft effective press releases, pitch stories to media outlets and communicate efficiently. Similarly, an apprenticeship in digital marketing would provide you with the chance to learn about SEO, PPC, and social media advertising.

Learning happens when you’re doing. Actively performing these tasks will allow you to get an idea on the things you are confident in and enjoy but more importantly, the things you struggle with as well. Hands on experience allows you to identify the sectors in which you may not be as familiar with and quickly receive help from the professionals around you.

2) Building connections

Secondly, building connections is crucial in the corporate world. Although important in any career, it is particularly key in an industry as competitive as PR and digital marketing. Having a network in the industry will open doors for future job opportunities, as well as providing a sounding board for your ideas and a source of feedback on your work – things that may be difficult to obtain in a university setting. Building these relationships early on can give you a massive head start and a greater window for success in the future.

Most apprenticeships allow you to attend industry events, connecting you with other PR and marketing professionals as well as potential clients – this is another way to expand your network and gain valuable knowledge in the field.

3) Earn while you learn

Unlike a traditional degree, an apprenticeship allows you to earn while you learn. This helps eliminate the financial burden of a student loan, which according to the UK Parliament website, is forecasted to be around £43,400 on average, once students complete their course in 23/24. So instead of completing university at the cost of a £40,000 debt, you could be completing your apprenticeship with extra cash in the bank!

Additionally, many apprenticeship programmes also provide training and support that can help you pass any industry-specific qualifications such as the Chartered institute of Public Relations (CIPR) diploma or the hundreds of digital marketing courses online.

An apprenticeship Is an excellent choice for anyone looking to build a career in PR and digital marketing. It allows you to gain hands on experience, build a professional network and is a cost-effective way to enter the industry. With the right mindset and willingness to learn, an apprenticeship can be the perfect steppingstone to a successful career in PR and digital marketing.

Find out more about the scheme here and our application form.

Related News

Emerging trends for 2023 in the B2B marketing space (insights from the B2B Marketing Expo)


By Emi Ikemoto, digital marketing account manager, and Hebe Hughes, digital marketing account executive.

Industry events can be a great opportunity to network and learn but, during the pandemic, they were significantly impacted, with many organisations opting for virtual equivalents instead – even long after the easing of restrictions. However, the B2B Marketing Expo was held in London and the bustle of energy was undeniable. Speakers from a vast range of companies shared their knowledge and insights into emerging trends for 2023 in the B2B marketing space. We attended, and below are our key learnings from the day.

B2B buying

A trend seen across businesses is that many are engaging with potential customers too late. Approximately 70% of the buying process is not visible to the supplier, i.e. you.

We’re all familiar with the term ‘buying group’, but how familiar are you with buying group blindness? Most B2B buying decisions are made by groups rather than individuals, and research has shown that buying group size increases as the deal size increases, as does the number of interactions required.

So, what is buying group blindness? It refers to the situation where marketers and sales teams qualify leads on an individual basis, rather than looking at a group level. For example, a single user that downloads ten pieces of content will be qualified as a ‘hot’ lead and be pursued heavily.

However, having multiple people from the same business downloading one piece of content each is more valuable than a single, highly interested individual from another company; downloads from multiple people represent interest from a larger group within one business.

The issue is that in many cases, they may be qualified individually rather than as a group. Taking a group-centric view of leads will ensure that interest from a prospective business will be assessed by the aggregate value of individual employees’ behaviour.

Brand marketing: leveraging the human memory and situational cues

Continuing on the topic of buying, it should be noted that approximately 95% of a B2B company’s target audiences are not in a state to buy at any given time. With that being said, when a potential customer is ready to buy, they typically already have a brand in mind when it comes to creating RFPs and only consider 1.7 alternative suppliers on average.

These statistics highlight the importance of building and maintaining strong brand awareness so that when the time comes, your company is at the forefront of your target buying centre’s minds. How? Leverage human memory and situational cues in the marketing strategy.

Memories are highly situational. Research into context and state-dependent memory reveals that memory recall is improved when external cues present at the time of memory formation are recreated. Therefore, linking your brand messaging to buying situations through impactful campaigns will help trigger a potential customer’s memory of your brand when they encounter a similar situation. When customers think about you is equally as important as what customers think about you.

Finally, on memory and brand awareness, recency trumps frequency when it comes to marketing activity. When memory corrodes, sales fall: a study that looked at sales compared against advertising activity revealed that all brands were impacted by memory corrosion as sales declined year-on-year after advertising was stopped; with the rate of decline greater for smaller brands. Another interesting finding was the cases where companies took a year break from advertising and then began activity again; this restarting did not reverse the trend of decline in many cases, highlighting the negative impact of losing momentum.

As tempting as it may be to take a step back from marketing when purse strings tighten, these findings evidence the importance of advertising to sales and growth, and that it can be more costly to try to regain sales after a pause in advertising as memory in your target audience has corroded, rather than to maintain them.

How to win more sales and customers from organic LinkedIn

With over 800 million users, LinkedIn is a key platform to help B2B businesses win more sales and help gain customers. To do this, following a formatted process can help to increase wins on LinkedIn and reach your company’s goals.

The first step is setting objectives, which are crucial to increase sales and build brand awareness; this will help to set you up for the journey ahead. It can be useful to work backwards when setting these objectives, thinking about what you want to achieve and what steps you are going to take to get there! In this step, working out your priorities is essential to help you move forward and achieve your goals.

Having a clear understanding of the tools you are going to use to reach these targets is the next step. Having a functional tool to enable the specific execution of a task; a valuable tool using specific content and connections; and a resourceful tool through relationships, joining groups, events, and associations.

Your personal profile is the equivalent of an online landing page. It needs to showcase your credibility and authority and is the perfect way to represent yourself in the market you are targeting. Through this, you can connect with the people who are valuable to you and who will help to leverage your business. Seek out the people who you want to engage with and do just that!

Reviewing what works and doesn’t work is the final step to make sure you reach your goals on LinkedIn. This evaluation process ensures that what you are doing is correct and allows you to make any necessary changes in order to reach your objectives more successfully.

Value drives value

An important element for every company should be marketing with purpose and following a purpose-led decision strategy by placing organisational purpose at the core of everything they do. Hearing from the advertising team at Microsoft, they put purpose at the centre of the company and see glowing results. This helps to create a shared meaning between the customer and the brand. With purpose comes trust and loyalty.

Research by Microsoft has found that having trust in a product can increase sales by a substantial amount, a drive long term success. For example, there is a potential increase in sales by 4.7x in the financial service sector, highlighting the importance of trust and loyalty. From loyalty comes growth in responsibility, value and inclusion. These are all essential to any company and should be prioritised to help increase sales and create a positive environment for both the employees and the customer.

Want support with putting these insights into action? Get in touch with us to help you elevate your B2B marketing and achieve a successful 2023.

Related News

ESG communications: don’t try and keep up with the Joneses… but do keep an eye on them


By Chris Bowman, Strategy & Content Director 

ESG communications can seem a tangled knot of paradoxes at times. Case in point: ESG can only succeed through standardization and comparability of data, yet at the same time it must be accurate and sincere – and sincerity requires specificity.  

Don’t try and keep up with the Joneses…

Credible ESG initiatives are necessarily highly specific to a company’s unique circumstances. There is no one-size-fits all way to decarbonise, for example – each company will have its own mix of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions sources and need to cut accordingly. Social and governance contexts are equally idiosyncratic. ESG communications must reflect this specificity, too. 

Therefore, it is a doomed strategy to simply copy the competition. ESG communications can appear new and fraught with pitfalls, and so it can be tempting to wait and see what the other guys are doing and simply copy and paste. You’ll never be a leader that way, you may reason, but equally you’ll never be left behind or risk poking your head above the parapet. However, the reasoning is flawed. If you cleave too closely to competitors’ ESG communications – which are specific to them – the risk is that the same messages and tactics ring hollow and inauthentic in the context of your brand.  

Again: one size does not fit all, and ESG communications should be as bespoke as possible to the individual brand, while respecting common metrics and language. They should incorporate and reflect the company’s overall brand strategy and messaging, speak to the specifics of their ESG initiatives and why the way Company A designed Initiative X respects the unique situation, resources and ambitions of that company. 

…but do keep an eye on them

That said, don’t swing too far the other way. No brand is big and important enough to get away with being utterly introspective and ignoring the wider world.  

In the context of ESG communications, this can be critical. Rightly or wrongly, your ESG efforts will be evaluated against the competition. Investors, customers and other stakeholders must be convinced that you offer an equal or better option than the competition in terms of the ESG factors they care about.  

In simple terms, this can descend to war of numbers. Company A has cut 30% of its emissions versus Company B’s 22%; Company C has a 50/50 board gender ratio while Company D has only 40/60. This is agreeable enough if you’re winning, but simple numbers can hide complex truths.  

If you are in Company B or D’s shoes, you might benefit from telling a more nuanced narrative that adds context to the numbers. Perhaps Company C already had a 45/55 ratio and improvement is slow, whereas D has invested heavily to improve. Perhaps C is in a country where culture and working practices make it easier for women in the workplace versus D’s. Context is critical – which brings us back to specificity.  

But you can’t introduce that narrative if you’re unaware of the framing that is already out there. Has the competition already established the framing? Or is there still white space for your brand to take the initiative?  

You’ll only know if you’re looking at what the competition is doing. So, while you don’t want to try and keep up with the Joneses, you should keep an eye on them. 

Facing ESG communications challenges? Read our whitepaper or contact the team – we can help. 

Related News