Hydrogen: Hope & Hype - 9 tasks for marketing and communication

9 Tasks for marketing and communication

The production of hydrogen is on everyone’s lips. Few topics currently excite governments, companies, researchers, analysts and journalists as much as the small molecule. Few dispute that hydrogen can make a decisive contribution to climate protection, but how great the potential really is cannot yet be estimated. McKinsey presented a study this week. The experts’ assessment: Hydrogen will be competitive in the various fields of application sooner rather than later, also from an economic point of view.

And the list of players involved in building a new hydrogen economy is also growing. For a long time now, this has included companies from the renewable energy sectors, start-ups, SMEs, but also mineral oil companies, aircraft and vehicle manufacturers, and shipbuilders such as steel producers. But what does it mean for marketing and communications when a new hydrogen economy establishes itself? 10 theses on which communication disciplines are now becoming important and what companies, networks, initiatives, experts and governments should pay attention to.

#1 The battle for the pots: who gets the funding?

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.

#2 Infrastructure projects need communication managemet Hamburg

Hamburg gets the mega-electrolyzer. The four partners Shell, Vattenfall Innovation, Mitsubishi and Hamburg Energie want to build a superlative hydrogen power plant in the coming years. Clearly, this announcement is generating interest worldwide. But after the announcement, the communicative work is just beginning. Internal partner management, communication with the city, updates with journalists, the interested city public and, of course, at the site itself: Keyword neighborhood communication. Dialog-oriented communication management is in demand. And also issue management in case there are delays in the project of this magnitude.

#3 Putting a face to shark projects

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.

#4 Hydrogen experts: Who has what it takes to be a corporate influencer?

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.

#5 Avoid Political Ash Wednesday

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.

#6 Population, Big Boss and Treasurer inspire

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.

#7 Hydrogen technology "made in Germany

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.

#8 Establish a site in Germany

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.

#9 LinkedIn: The world's largest hydrogen network

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.



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Klubfaktor – Agentur für Kommunikation GmbH
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+49 40 70 56 83
Klubfaktor – Agency for Communication Ltd.
Great Elbe Street 38
D-22767 Hamburg