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:

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