Green Grid hires PN to expand its global scope

AUSTIN, TX: The Green Grid selected Porter Novelli as its global AOR as the organization expands its international scope and focuses on internal communications.

AUSTIN, TX: The Green Grid selected Porter Novelli as its global AOR as the organization expands its international scope and focuses on internal communications.

The Green Grid, whose members include Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, VMWare, AMD, and IBM, is a nonprofit group that works at developing industry-wide recommendations to advance energy-efficiency in data centers and business-computing ecosystems. It marked its one-year anniversary in February, prompting members to reassess how to meet its communications goals going forward, added Andrew Fox, senior manager of global communications at AMD and a member of The Green Grid's communications committee.

"In 2008 and beyond, our goal is to work more collaboratively with our existing members and help
them see the value in being active and participating in [The Green Grid]," Fox said. Last year, the organization focused its communications strategy on growing its membership, and it gained more than 180 companies in one year.

Rather than pursuing a broad media strategy, the group will develop a targeted media outreach effort that emphasizes energy efficiency more than sustainability issues.

"I like to point out that we are not Greenpeace," he said. "We recognize the fact that our efforts will hopefully have a positive environmental impact... but the bottom line is you have AMD and Intel, HP and Dell, IBM and Sun, working together because our joint customers need to address the costs associated with energy consumption."

The media targets for the organization will remain technology trades, business publications, and online news outlets, rather than green-focused media or features.

Because The Green Grid is a volunteer organization and its spokespeople and board members hold full-time jobs outside the group, the communications team has to be selective on how it uses its resources, Fox noted.

The group is launching a members-only community forum on its site to create ongoing dialogue about data center energy-efficiency.

"Our hope, from a communications perspective, is that we'll be able to mine that and pull out and share some of these discussions with the media," Fox said.

Laura Beck, GM of PN Austin, said that the agency will focus on developing an internal message that resonates with its member companies across many industries and countries.

"We want to showcase that The Green Grid is really about these end-user companies, and show the benefits that the consortium can bring to them," Beck said. "There is so much more we need to bring to the current members about why they're participating."

Owen Media, The Green Grid's former AOR, was invited to pitch for the business, but the agency declined to do so.

"Owen Media resigned The Green Grid account," said Paul Owen, president of Owen Media. "We produced spectacular results with limited timeline and budget, but couldn't connect with the client."

Fox praised the agency's ability to deliver consistent messaging. "We were not at all unhappy with Owen Media," he said. PN ultimately won the account because of its deep technology clients, its ability to scale to global and regional audiences, and previous consortium experience, he added.

PN won the contract following a competitive bid with three other firms that answered an RFP issued in March, Fox said.

The account will be based in PN's Austin office with additional support from its Boston team. Beck estimated the budget at $300,000.*

*Fox had previously estimated the budget at $30,000 annually but the budget will actually be around $300,000.

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