Jennifer Sanchis caught up with Adam Barber, Managing Director at Tamarindo Communications, a commercially-focused PR and communications agency, to talk about sector specialism in PR.
How was Tamarindo born?
After a ten-year stint working in corporate communications and investor relations in the City it was time for a change. I was on gardening leave so I did what any sane person would do and headed out to Costa Rica, to see out the non-compete clause and chew things over.
The place I settled into – and where the real idea for the business was born – was a town called Tamarindo.
And so The Tamarindo Group was born, which includes the PR business Tamarindo Communications and an exclusive finance and investor community focused on the wind energy market known as A Word About Wind.
What is at the core of Tamarindo’s activity?
First and foremost, we focus on outcomes, not output. We want to build meaningful, long-term relationships with our clients, get to know them and help them grow their businesses.
Second, is curiosity. We never stop asking questions. We know there is no off-the-shelf solution – we want to learn what makes each business tick and create a tailor-made solution to solve their challenges.
And finally, we are passionate about what we do and why we do it. We want to empower people and businesses to build a cleaner and fairer world. That’s why we’re committed to informing and helping the people who work in the renewable energy industry.
Why specialise in renewable energy?
I had some early experience of working with a number of businesses in the renewable energy space. The market was young (and, relatively speaking, still is) and the potential for development – in every sense – was huge.
I believe specialist PR companies are the most effective in terms of securing the largest impact for the least time and effort. At Tamarindo Communications, we are passionate about renewable energy and make sure we know our market, and our clients.
Is there a campaign you are particularly proud of?
There are too many to mention, but what really excites me is being able to take an issue that most people would call ‘niche’ and elevate it to the point that it becomes a major talking point in the industry.
For example, in late 2017, we undertook a campaign for Vaisala, a Finnish environmental measurement expert, to promote their Triton remote sensing product. This device uses sound wave technology (SoDAR) to remotely collect data on wind speed and direction, which is then used by developers to make decisions about how and where to build wind farms.
It may sound like a basic requirement, but there are some pretty major limitations in the way the industry has collected its data for building wind farms to date. Specifically, this has always meant putting up large towers with an anemometer on the top. Unfortunately, this is expensive, requires a lot of planning, and, as wind turbines get taller, is becoming less accurate. Our brief was to show how remote sensing devices like Triton are solving all these problems for the wind industry, and to make the case for their adoption worldwide.
For Vaisala, we developed a report from start to finish, which explores the advantages and disadvantages of both remote sensing technology and fixed towers for measuring wind resource – and looks at how obstacles to remote sensing adoption can be overcome.
The report, Remote Sensing Revolution, picked up some great, targeted coverage in the core industry media when it was launched in November last year. Over the following months, we continued to promote the different themes explored in the report, and saw sustained media interest continue for several months – including a memorable cover feature in Windpower Monthly that really helped to set the agenda.
More importantly, the report has reached senior decision-makers at all of the major wind energy asset owners and developers – and continues to create leads and opportunities for the sales team 6 months on.
According to you, what makes a PR campaign successful?
Aside from reputation management and the ability to build and shape their profile in the market, companies invest in PR for one primary reason: to create inbound leads and generate commercial interest.
However, this is often overlooked in the pitch, where focus slips to getting media hits ‘on the board’ without stopping to question the real value of results gained. Too often, this results in a campaign that generates reams of irrelevant coverage, none of which is commercially valuable for the client.
The real value of sector specialism in PR is that it can ensure a laser focus on the key commercial priorities at the heart of a campaign. Truly successful campaigns are based on an in-depth understanding of a client’s market and its media. They deliver the right opportunities, at the right time, rather than coverage for the sake of it. And, crucially, they speak the language of the audience you need to engage in order to drive new business.