Unconventional Reality of Press & Public Opinion

Joanna Schroeder

They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery and if this is true, than the biofuels industry should be flattered that their communication messages have been hijacked: biofuels are good for the country, good for our economy and good for the environment. But the industry having its messages hijacked by others – natural gas, coal, the petroleum industry, propane to name a few-  creates confusion in the marketplace among consumers. How does a consumer know to choose ethanol or biodiesel at the pump if all the fuels have the same benefits? (And we know they don’t.)

So what do we do? We must learn to tell our story better. I recently presented a free webinar, Back to Basics,” sponsored by Biofuels Journal and you can listen to the archive here that touched on this very issue.

This was also the topic of a the panel discussion, “Unconventional Reality of Press and Public Opinion,” during Advance: 2011 Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Phoenix last week. I sat on this panel with my esteemed colleague and fellow journalist Jim Lane, the editor of Biofuels Digest, as well as Karen Coble-Edwards with KICE Public Affairs Associates and Craig Sutherland with Dewey Square Group. Shannon Shea, with the U.S. Department of Energy moderated the panel discussion.

While those of us on the panel agreed that the biofuels industry needs to update its messages and tell a better story, we didn’t agree on how that should be done. But one thing I’ve found in my personal research, is that our opponents REALLY know how to tell a story. It’s time our industry learned how to do the same and just last week, this very thing began to happen.

Propel Fuels along with Biofuels Digest, launched a Faces of Biofuels campaign that features the people who use biofuels. Propel is based in California and sells ethanol and biodiesel in the Northwest. This is a really great grassroots campaign that should be stolen by biofuel friendly retailers across the U.S. In this case, imitation will definitely be welcome form of flattery.

There is definitely a movement within the biodiesel and ethanol industries to work more effectively together and at the upcoming Advanced Biofuels Leadership Conference being held in Washington, D.C. on April 19-21 will discuss just how to do this. So if you want to be a part of this movement, and get connected to others who have also joined this movement, consider attending this conference.

Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference, Ethanol, Opinion