The clean energy team within our Strategic Communications Practice has assisted a broad range of organisations and companies, from start-ups to multinationals. Clients benefit from the team’s relationships with key influencers to provide a comprehensive suite of integrated communications services, including corporate and employee communications, financial communications, public affairs, creative engagement, strategy consulting and research, and crisis communications.
Our Service Offerings
The clean energy sector’s extraordinary development worldwide has been one of innovation, determination and entrepreneurship. However, success has brought its own challenges as questions over economics, reliability and public acceptance have often dominated stakeholder perceptions and media headlines. Many early industry pioneers lacked the resources and expertise to address these issues effectively, leaving the field open to sceptics and opponents. As the competition to define the world’s energy future becomes more intense, companies need to tell their stories on a proactive, ongoing basis to communicate what they are doing, why, and that they can be trusted. Effective corporate communications is the everyday “heartbeat” outreach necessary to build, sustain and defend an organisation’s reputation. FTI Consulting strategic communications professionals have unrivalled experience in championing the clean energy sector, frequently working alongside our economic and industry specialists. They are well equipped to assist our clients in defending their licence to operate by highlighting innovation, sustainability, corporate responsibility and the enormous economic contributions they make to society as employers, providers of essential services and pathfinders for the world’s energy future.
Financial communications tend to be either defensive or offensive. On the defensive side, for example, companies may be experiencing a declining share price or a rising bond price. FTI Consulting strategic communications professionals are highly experienced at reaching and communicating with individuals who influence financial performance — stakeholders, institutions, mutual and hedge funds and security analysts. It is critical that these audiences understand a company’s key messages about corporate strengths, management strengths, corporate strategies and steps being taken to improve corporate performance. On the offensive side, financial communications should proactively reinforce these messages, particularly in the context of an IPO or acquisition.
FTI Consulting has represented clients in the clean energy sector that are targets of a hostile takeovers, as well as private equity firms and hedge funds seeking to acquire clean energy companies. Our strategic communications professionals provide unparalleled business intelligence/privileged insight for client management and counsel; develop possible representational outcomes; and apply our expertise in transaction communications, investor relations, public affairs, digital media and employee engagement.
Issues & Crisis Management
Our clients in the clean energy sector typically face two types of challenges: (1) reputational crises, in which important constituencies may question the company’s strategy, performance, or leadership; and (2) issues around the public acceptability, performance, efficiency or economic viability of their existing and planned operations. To support clients in these circumstances, FTI Consulting professionals take a campaign-like approach, closely coordinating with management teams, legal, financial and other advisers to provide strategic counsel on all aspects of internal and external communications. We help identify, prioritise and track relevant economic, financial, political, industrial, or technical issues that can potentially affect the client’s performance, its reputation and its value, and devise tactics for addressing them proactively.
Clients must consider each stakeholder group separately in order to engage with them most effectively. FTI Consulting strategic communications specialists help identify all critical stakeholder groups, determining what they want, what they need to know and what can be shared with them. Just as importantly, we help our clients listen objectively to each stakeholder group so that relevant messages can be crafted and addressed in a targeted and effective manner. FTI Consulting helps clients develop audience-specific messaging, designed to enhance the dialogue with groups and individuals who have the greatest influence on the client’s business.
Public Affairs & Policy
Legislation and regulation have an enormous impact on the clean energy industry. As a result, political stakeholders, elected representatives at local and national levels, civil servants, people who work in executive branches of governments, advisers, policy think tanks, commentators, and academics, all play an important part in the public debate on clean energy issues. It is critical that a clean energy company’s communications help it be better known among these groups, and help it communicate most effectively. FTI Consulting works with individual companies and their trade associations to seek to influence government policy on issues such as permitting and licencing for new clean energy technologies, state aid, patent discounts, etc. We also conduct surveys and raw campaigns in local communities to overcome resistance to a client’s new installation.
Planning & Public Consultation
Starting a clean energy project in the UK and throughout Europe is a very complex undertaking. Its requirements range from developing construction plans and applying for permits to satisfying all the requirements of government/regulatory agencies during construction, and meeting the needs of the public who may not want your project in its backyard. FTI Consulting clean energy professionals have extensive experience guiding companies through the full life cycle of this process — from the actual application and construction through to public consultations, holding meetings with local communities, and talking to local elected representatives. It is important that all audiences understand that our client is a responsible company in a responsible industry, providing meaningful employment and an essential energy service.
Legislative and regulatory pressures are becoming more prevalent in the clean energy sector, which increase a company’s compliance obligations and can jeopardise its licence to operate. Managing political risk is a growing imperative for effective corporate governance and business planning. FTI Consulting combines public policy, capital markets and sector-specific expertise to assist our clean energy clients, operating at the critical intersection between business and government. Our involvement can extend from specific clean energy issues (such as construction of a new wind farm), to on-going government campaigning in support of client positions on tax, environmental and public policy issues.
From time to time, participants in clean energy markets may find themselves involved in some way in competition investigations relating to alleged antitrust violations, regulatory scrutiny of an M&A transaction, claims of state aid, or sector inquiries. Communicating effectively to the press, to relevant regulatory and legislative stakeholders, and to a firm’s investors and employees is a key component of protecting the firm’s reputation, allowing the business to function normally while the investigation is ongoing, and securing a rationale outcome. In these situations, FTI Consulting Strategic Communications professionals specialise in helping clients to interact constructively with political and regulatory audiences in articulating the larger business and political contexts in which the company operates, and the ways in which the public benefits as a result.
Rebranding & New Message Development
Rebranding can be a defensive or offensive strategy for a clean energy company. The company may need to distance itself from a negative perception that exists in the minds of consumers, investors, competitors, and other stakeholders. On the other hand, the company may want to communicate a new corporate strategy and messaging that the previous brand does not support. In either case, rebranding usually involves radical change. To smooth this transition, FTI Strategic Communications specialists take a structured, research-based approach to identify, map and prioritise stakeholders in order to create a consistent message and framework that will strengthen stakeholder support. If required, we can also assist in developing the new brand's logo, name, legal names, image, marketing strategy, and advertising and public relations themes.