As I sit in the Opening Session of the Geothermal Rising Conference, I’m among hundreds of my industry colleagues. Some new, some old, optimistic thought leaders, stakeholders, or new entrants looking to capitalize on the momentum is geothermal industry.
As a marketing professional, I was excited to see the powerful new Geothermal Rising brand in person. The former Geothermal Resources Council hit a home run with their long-overdue investment with a new brand, new name, and cultural refresh. Everything from the name, Geothermal Rising, the website and the messaging was finally something to be proud. Geothermal Risinng could finally be effective in growing more brand awareness and generating a renewed sense of urgency and action amidst this energy transition.
So here we are in San Diego, one of the first in-person events for the industry in close to 2 years. We’re finally able to shake hands, share some drinks, and network at the new Geothermal Rising Conference.
With some forgivable technical difficulties that come from simulcasting a live event on Zoom, WiFi issues, and budget restraints, we sit in a ballroom, appropriately social distanced, most wearing the required masks, and I’m staring at a vast, blank, hotel-bland gray wall, with 4 giant screens [two pictured below] that equally underutilize the “brandable” canvas.
Image: A photo from the center of the room at the Geothermal Rising Opening Session in San Diego, October 4th
I’m uniquely aware of the struggle the GRC went through. The resistance to change, and if it’s not broke, why fix it? mentality…as I served on the GRC board for 3 terms, many of those years as the only member with a marketing background. I led a small group on the board that shared my passion, understood the need for and insisted on change. The change the Resources Council finally made in 2020 to Geothermal Rising.
But talk about a missed opportunity! The Opening Session was underwhelming at best. A clunky transition of in-person speakers, pre-recorded videos, live Zoom presentations with NO visual appeal, brand imagery, or even a logo on the podium!
In disbelief, I gave it 45 minutes before exiting left!
Look, the missed branding opportunities probably won’t shift the needle much on whether this event is considered a success or not. In fact, numbers surpassed conservative estimates for attendance, even with international travel restrictions. The conversations we had on the Expo floor, the networking, the in-person interaction, and the shared vision to see geothermal succeed will be remembered more than the boring, gray backdrop of the opening session.
But first impressions leave lasting impressions. Without a doubt, there were 1st timers (new to geothermal) at this conference. There were C-level decision-makers from the O&G industry looking for the right opportunities to enter this market (which I believe is critical to address the energy transition) and even some clean-tech investors in the house…
…and we just didn’t deliver. The brand manager in me definitely squirmed.
Visit the Geothermal Rising website to get a taste of what could have been.
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