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What is energy communication?

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Communication is not equal to communication.

In marketing, the crux is finding the right approach for a company's particular industry, niche, target audience, and specialization. "Right" means that the messages selected and deployed lead to action. Ideally, to those that were planned and desired in advance. This is often not easy, because some industries require specialized expertise, in others the products are less complex but the competition is felt to be endless. 

Sometimes the two coincide. And sometimes it's an industry where the product is complex, the target audience is demanding, and the issue is almost "dicey" for the company. Drum roll for: Communication in the energy industry.

Energy communication - an overview 

What does the energy sector actually include? And what are energy sources? What are renewable energies and what is the value chain? These and many, many other questions fall thematically within the scope of energy communication. They must be answered as simply as possible and at the same time as precisely as necessary. In the energy industry, there are many different target groups for this, a situation that does not make planning any less complex. 

Ideally, energy providers also have to report on the latest information from politics and the economy.

Here are a few explanations of energy types from EnBW

  • Primary energy is that energy which is directly available in an energy source. A distinction is made here between inexhaustible and exhaustible energy. 

  • Inexhaustible energy or regenerative energy are e.g. wind, solar or water energy. 

  • Exhaustible energy - fossil fuels - are coal, natural gas, crude oil and also tor. 

  • Then there are nuclear fuels like uranium and thorium. 

  • Primary energy sources are partly not directly usable for the consumer, which is why they are processed and made usable for the consumer through several transformations. Then we speak of secondary energy (briquettes, heating oil, diesel, gasoline, electricity, heat, hydrogen, ...). 

Now we know the distinction between the different terms and types of energy. In energy communication, it is now also important to put the different types of energy into context, so that consumers can understand which type has which advantage, what costs how much, how good or bad something is for the environment, and so on.

The current energy crisis has taught us all how quickly energy can become very expensive and that gas and oil are in short supply. In the same way, we know that coal not only harms the climate and the earth, but also us humans. 

In Germany, there are around 1,000 companies that fall into the category of energy suppliers, a very important industry that provides many jobs. And these companies are not only in competition with each other, they are also the point of contact for consumers and have a responsibility to society and the environment. So energy communication has to be educational, while at the same time achieving corporate goals. Probably quite a tightrope walk.

Complex? But why? 

Why is the topic so complex? Can't simple messages be used to convince consumers? No, unfortunately it's not that simple. 

In marketing, the basic rule is that using any message will probably not be of much use. This is because the message not only has to be geared to the target group with its respective expectations, wishes and needs, it also has to be appealing, short and concise, but not too short, it has to invite people to click on it or read on, and so on. A message should be well thought out, formulated and placed.

And now this does not concern one target group - in the energy industry, energy suppliers have many different target groups and these also have different expectations. We'll take a closer look at what these are in the next section. 

Basically, it is a challenge in marketing to identify which information is desired by the target group, in which form and via which channel. In the energy industry, no distinction is made here. 

In addition to the diversity of target groups and their expectations of information, the energy transition is a subject area that requires a great deal of sensitivity. Not least because of the different views, opinions and the discussion in the public. 

Not to be neglected is the two-sided responsibility that energy suppliers have. On the one hand, they have a responsibility to the environment and their decisions have a significant influence on climate change. The second aspect of the responsibility of energy suppliers concerns the formation of opinion and the possible influencing of consumers*. Not only is there a lot of terminology, the creation and/or conversion of energy is an expert field that is sometimes not so easy to understand. It is not without reason that there are many professions in this field that have to act hand in hand. And the way in which energy suppliers communicate and report will ultimately influence the opinions and decisions of consumers. And these in turn have an impact on the climate. Thus, the consumer's perspective must also be taken into account.

Energy Target Group in BW 

The consumer's glasses - what do people really want? 

The University of Hohenheim has conducted a study on this question, which we are now taking a closer look at. The study investigated "what expectations citizens in Baden-Württemberg have of communication and participation in energy projects, to what extent they want to be actively involved, and what decision-makers think about this. The focus is on the view of the people, whose acceptance is considered a central prerequisite for successful projects."

The result of the study is 4 different types of expectation: 

  • The demanding information type (1)

  • The active dialog type (2)

  • The benefit-oriented conversation type (3)

  • The closed home type (4)

What does type 1 want? Type 1 expects demanding information to be given to him and is mainly interested in aspects concerning his place of residence and the benefits, consequences and justification of an energy project. He is only willing to exchange information to a limited extent and consistently rejects online sources. 

And type 2? This candidate also attaches great importance to receiving sophisticated information, but unlike Type 1, he wants to be actively involved and participate. He seeks exchange with decision-makers, wants to be informed via many channels, and for him it is crucial that he be heard. 

Type 3 is not averse to exchange, but wants the counterpart to actively approach him. He wants personal communication on the spot and individual advice and help for his own decisions. The benefits and consequences of a project are important to him. 

Finally, Type 4? The last in the group attaches particular importance to his own place of residence and wants to know how projects are related to his place. This also relates to the benefits and consequences. Details are very important to him, but at the same time he shies away from exchange. He wants to be fully informed, but not actively involved. 

So these 4 types exist in Baden-Württemberg, all of whom have different expectations of energy providers and decision-makers. This does not make external communication any less complex.


Energy communication is complex. Not least because of the different target groups and consumer expectations. The study of the University of Hohenheim can probably not be transferred 1:1 to the whole of Germany. However, we assume here that these four types are also represented in the other federal states. How and to what extent, of course, cannot be said. 

Energy communication is important - because it is always about the responsibility towards people and the planet and about our future. 

You can find more articles in our blog - once through this door. Are you interested in greenwashing or why sustainability can be a success factor? Wonderful - we have prepared both in the form of articles for you. Feel free to have a look around.

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