Since June 2020 is clear. The German government plans to invest 7 billion euros in the expansion of the hydrogen economy in Germany alone. 2 billion will go additionally to foreign regions and corporations that are important in the development of the national hydrogen supply. Those who want to get the subsidies have to participate in tenders. Certainly, these are primarily about the content aspects. But it’s also about the right presentation, the right arguments, stories, visions, videos. Anyone with an insight into how Germany’s cities are now vying for leading international trade fairs will get an idea of where the journey is headed in terms of self-expression.
HY-5 and Hy2mobility are good examples when it comes to good names adding value. Hy5 is about five states and a message that is understood abroad, while H2mobility is about expanding the refueling station infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles. But many hydrogen projects have names that may not be obvious. And if you pay attention to the visual language and design of the projects, you will see little light and a lot of shadow. With good naming, branding and photo design, companies and projects can position themselves clearly to outsiders.
One thing is clear: The hydrogen boom is currently being hyped by media coverage. If Corona didn’t dominate TV coverage, the issue would probably be even more visible on TV. But it is still unclear which experts will explain the developments in the hydrogen world in the various channels: Who will become a TV expert, who a YouTube star and who a LinkedIn influencer. The potential is there. The debate in the various communication channels is still a fairly technical one. But the discussions will come out of the specialist niche, as other agenda topics have shown us – whether it’s digitalization, the Internet of Things, climate protection or Corona. And then good explanations, clear messages, strong images and videos are needed. And a language that the different target groups understand.
When it comes to climate protection and economic growth, hydrogen is high on the agenda of government officials. But developing a hydrogen economy takes staying power. It is good to accompany the topic in the long term with studies, analyses and scientific research findings. So that the hype does not quickly come to a standstill.
Does anyone still remember the time when Tesla was a pure status symbol: actually too expensive, with little range, but cool to drive and ideal for the driver’s conscience to also do something for the climate? After all, that time was not so long ago. Automotive brands can already show which hydrogen vehicles are their next big thing. But perhaps private drivers are the wrong target group. Because trucks, commercial vehicles, buses or trains will be seen more quickly on Germany’s roads and rails. But there is nothing to stop city decision-makers from feeling cool with the good conscience of doing something for the climate. Because the next generation of vehicles will still be expensive. And marketing and communications must explain that this is nevertheless right and important.
Renewables led the way many years ago. Germany is one of the pioneers when it comes to developing new technologies. It is to be expected that German researchers and companies (start-ups, SMEs, corporations and consortia) will once again play a major role in the development of new products. Products Made in Germany are also mega-in when it comes to wateroff. But the step into new markets also requires other requirements for B2B sales, digital marketing, trade fair presence and corporate design.
Google, Microsoft and Samsung have long been behind it. All have successfully established themselves as corporate players in Germany – with their own marketing, sales, PR and corporate affairs teams. Even if they did it very differently. Foreign companies still have all this ahead of them as they enter the nascent hydrogen market. And the peculiarities and unwritten rules should not be underestimated by anyone who comes to Germany as a newcomer. About it, the three players mentioned at the beginning can tell old story.
One final observation. LinkedIn offers huge potential when it comes to positioning, networking and marketing when it comes to the hype topic of hydrogen. The various players are still showing themselves to be sympathetically reserved. But especially in a topic that thrives so strongly on international cooperation as the development of a new energy economy, the network offers a lot of potential – for individuals and companies.