Case Study:

Brand and credibility boost for sustainable energy business thanks to creative video content

B Corp certified Sustainable Energy First (SE First) is a Lancashire-based company that helps businesses lower their energy costs, shrink their carbon footprints, and access greener energy on the road to Net Zero. The company wanted new ways to attract attention, connect with and inspire businesses to embrace sustainable thinking. Find out how we’ve helped with the concepts and content for its Sustainably Speaking initiative.

The project

With a legal target for the UK to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050, the race is on for businesses to find ways of lowering their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

But there’s a lot of confusion about what Net Zero means, how to get started, and even some cynicism about the advantages of investing in the changes needed.

Research by the British Business Bank, for instance, estimates that 76% of businesses are yet to implement comprehensive decarbonisation strategies. It reports that nearly 60% of firms have reasonable awareness of key Net Zero concepts, but around half (53%) are not yet ready to prioritise decarbonisation.The same survey identified 20 separate barriers to progress, of which costs were the most significant referenced by respondents (35%) Upfront costs were the most cited component of this at 21%.

SE First is already taking a significant lead when it comes to communicating about Net Zero and sustainability, including through its Energy Advice Hub, a free online resource. It has also developed a unique scheme that allows smaller businesses to benefit from Power Purchase Agreements - a tool used by larger organisations to effectively purchase green energy directly from renewables generation businesses - with its collaborative renewable energy consortiums for businesses that consume up to 30,000 MWh of energy a year.

However, it recognised that in a sea of competing webinars, blogs and downloadable whitepapers, it needed to get more creative with its content.

That’s when it turned to Fifty2M.

We quickly identified that video content was likely to prove a useful addition to its existing arsenal of communication tools, but not just any old video and certainly not footage filmed on mobile phones.

What we did

Video has become increasingly popular in content marketing. It’s more engaging than written content and infographics, and a lot of people report a preference for consuming video content versus other forms.

As more and more businesses start to produce video content, the quicker some formats begin to look tired through overuse, a good example being video explainers that feature a single person on screen, talking directly to camera against a plain coloured background.

We knew that to create something people would want to watch, we needed a format that audiences wouldn’t be as familiar with.

That’s when we came up with the concept of filming a roundtable discussion, with a mixture of participants that would include experts from SE First alongside people from other businesses, all discussing their unique perspectives on, and experiences of, Net Zero and sustainability.

From this, Sustainably Speaking was born - a series of video roundtables on a range of topics, the first three being Net Zero, the advantages of ‘green’ business awards, and the benefits of B Corp certification, along with interviews with key SE First people.

We opted to go with high production values, using multiple camera angles, cutaways to B-roll and other relevant footage, to create engaging content that people will want to watch and that wouldn’t look out of place if seen on BBC1 or Netflix.

During the film shoots, we captured lots of ‘behind the scenes’ photos that have been used for social media posts trailing Sustainably Speaking, and managed to secure a write-up in a business magazine too. Not only that, but we’ve advised on how to really ‘sweat’ the video content we’ve been creating in a bid to help use it for lead generation purposes, drafting suggested copy for a landing page and other assets.

The first in the series of films, with the discussion centred around Net Zero, is now available to watch here.

What the client says

Behind the scenes photograph showing the professional Fifty2M team shooting video with multiple camera angles for a Sustainable Energy First video marketing project

Head of Partnerships at Sustainable Energy First, Ben Beetham, has recently been working closely with Fifty2M:

“Before Sustainably Speaking was a concept we needed someone credible and with a background in our space to host a webinar for us, and Fifty2M founder Lee Petts was put in the frame by our local Chamber of Commerce.

“Not only is Lee a naturally good communicator, but he also has a lengthy background in energy and sustainability and did a great job as host by guiding our contributors to make sure the webinar covered the most important topics and was relevant and engaging to our webinar audience.

Richard Lander, Creative Content Specialist at Sustainable Energy First, is spearheading the project with Ben:

“We were so impressed, we invited Lee and Fifty2M to pitch us some ideas for helping us to produce some video content. The loose brief was about creating something we could use to engage and educate businesses about sustainability and Net Zero.

“They were quick to come up with some really inventive ideas, including filming a series of roundtable discussions featuring a mixture of our experts plus invited guests that could share their experiences.

“We’re very pleased with the results. The format works really well, and it’s great that we’ve been able to include some independent voices from different sized businesses in a range of sectors talking about how they’ve approached going green".

Ben has been particularly impressed by the professionalism and creativity on display:

“When the Fifty2M team turned up for the shoot with multiple cameras and lighting, it was all very professional and like being part of a BBC documentary.

“They’re brilliant at coming up with ideas for how we can maximise the benefits of our Sustainably Speaking investment to make it go further and reach more people, and for other things we can do to expand it into areas like podcasts, workshops, events and lots more. There’s definitely a great connection and our values are also very aligned, so I see this becoming a long-term partnership and would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to up their content marketing game.”

When the Fifty2M team turned up for the shoot with multiple cameras and lighting, it was all very professional and like being part of a BBC documentary. They’re brilliant at coming up with ideas for how we can maximise the benefits of our Sustainably Speaking investment

— Ben Beetham

What this case study demonstrates

When it comes to conveying complex information simply, high quality video is definitely your ally. But it also has to resonate with and engage your audiences to make them want to watch it, and that's what we've done here with the Sustainably Speaking video marketing content we've produced for Sustainable Energy First.

Lee Petts, founder

Ready to take your next step with video in your content marketing? Learn more about our work in this area and how we can help you grow.

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