Brand Director of Brand and Public Relations Department
Can you tell us a little bit more about ENN and what you do?
Founded in 1989, ENN started early to promote the utilization of natural gas in Chinese cities and families and to help Chinese enterprises and families to reduce the use of resources with heavy emissions like coal and wood. This 20-year old corporation holds true to its mission to innovate on clean energy and to improve living environment and living quality.
We firmly believe that the production and utilization of energy in the future is sustainable and recyclable, that the linear producing and utilizing of energy will change into something more recyclable and that ordered and smart energy will be widely applied, relying on a smart energy system supported by the fusion of information and power.
The department I am in is brand and public relations. I’m mainly in charge of three business functions as follows:
Brand administration and promotion
Public relations, including the relationship with governments, media and other related aspects.
- Cultural broadcasting, mainly broadcasting our business culture among more than 20,000 staff and over 100 branches.
ENN owns a charitable foundation. Would you please introduce its main functions and what kind of work your department cooperates with it?
The foundation does lots of work for public welfare, especially when it comes to donation. My department is responsible for the broadcasting part.
You have a partnership with Duke Energy in the U.S. Can you talk about some of your collaborations? How did the partnership come about?
As early as 2009, ENN and Duke Energy have initiated cooperation in the photovoltaic (PV) energy area. Both sides seek to make full use of ENN’s technology and Duke’s power in the market to develop the American market. The cooperation has created a new commercial model, in that China exploits products with its own technology while the U.S. sells them, which breaks the original model.
In January 2011, we used the opportunity of mutual visits between two countries’ top leaders and Sino-U.S. Bilateral Trade Summit, for the two companies to develop even wider and more intensive cooperation. In this second round, both parties committed to constructive assignments in terms of constructing the model platform of energy technology in the future.
During the third round of the Sino-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue in May 2011, ENN and Duke Energy solidified further cooperation, this time involving the local governments where the two headquarters are located based on the extension and perfection of the original version signed early in the year.
According to the agreement, four parties would cooperate in the production and storage of clean energy, intelligent grid technology, and highly effective energy solutions. In the agreement, ENN and Duke programmed a complete set of action plans, covering five types of technologies which will deal with solar power and new distribution spots, the construction and optimization of smart grids and a smart energy network, administration and service of residential electricity, tests on the competence of community power storage, sys-energy efficiency, and integrated energy solutions.
What did ENN do in terms of brand communication for this partnership?
We didn't do a huge amount to communicate this, but we have done some work at home and abroad. The first effort coincided with President Hu’s visit to America; in May, the third round of Sino-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue was held and we also did some work around that. These were very good opportunities for the broadcasting. Our cooperation with Duke has been reported both by domestic and foreign media, which has regarded the cooperation as not only between companies, but between nations.
How did the nature of these reports impact the brand?
Before these, the brand development has always followed the business. Against the global background of low-carbon economy, ENN and Duke, as two famous companies, joined hands for better development. Now ENN has successfully gained more influence and a stronger brand reputation on the international stage, while Duke also strengthened its power in China.
How does the cooperation work at the brand level?
Based on technological innovations, this cooperation is different from the past model. Traditionally, companies will concentrate on investment and energy exploitation. However, ENN and Duke Energy have made concerted efforts in several areas – for example, their smart energy network and new energy technology. Overall, on a brand level, this proves that Chinese companies can achieve global status when it comes to clean energy and technological innovation.
One of your most high profile initiatives is Eco Cities – the first of which is a small city in Langfang. What are some of the lessons already coming out of the project?
Planned in December 2009, the first stage of ENN eco-city is being built at present and will be finished around August 2011. The eco-city will cover an area of 100,000 m2. Its designing idea is guided by the theory of ENN sys-energy efficiency aimed at outputting well-organized and smart energy.
With the support of IT technology, the process will integrate the power and information of four links which are energy production, storage, utilization, and recycling, and maximize the utilization of clean energy including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and bio-energy instead of using traditional fuels to reduce the carbon emission
ENN’s first-generation technology of sys-energy efficiency enables the energy utilization rate to reach 57 percent, marking quite great progress compared with the average rate 30 percent in most cities in China. The promotion of efficient energy use plays a key role in energy conservation and emission reduction.
We are upgrading the first-generation technology in order to make greater contributions in regards to the harmonious coexistence of environment, economy, and energy.
Which groups are you targeting in your public relations and brand building efforts for eco-cities?
Three groups are mainly within our consideration:
- Principals in charge of urban constructions and industrial zones. Their influence will facilitate the marketing of technology and the promotion of energy efficiency.
- Leaders of Companies and organizations. It’s a popular trend for companies to pursue green development with kinds of new energy including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, and bio-energy.
- Scholars and experts in related fields. They will pay much attention to energy conservation, emission reduction, and energy utilization rate.
Except for the above groups, children are also the target of our broadcasting. They could come and see the eco-city and the production, utilization, and recycling of energy, which would in turn cultivate their environmental awareness.
What kinds of core associations with the brand do you expect to see through these efforts?
- Energy Innovation. From the cooperation with Duke Energy to the construction of eco-city, we have been moving forward persistently in regards to energy innovation, including technology, utilization, and a commercial model. This is vital to us.
- Low-carbon and environmentally-friendly. They are the key words in our brand idea. We hope to practice this continually through our products, services, and energy solutions. We also hope to continually participate with governments, industrial zones, companies, and cities to achieve the purpose of energy conservation and emission reduction.
ENN orients its brand commitment on the harmonious coexistence of energy and environment. Guided by this notion, ENN is built on the concept of independent technological innovation and takes an active role in energy conservation, emission reduction, the clean and highly effective renovation of traditional resources, and the development of renewable energy. ENN makes great contributions to promoting the harmonious coexistence of energy, economy, and environment through the business of natural gas supply, clean energy solutions, solar energy, clean use of coals, and oil production with microalgae.<
What industries are most interested in going green in China?
I have noticed several industries:
- Real Estate. This industry wants to provide the clients with green, low-carbon, environmentally friendly products. It has become a popular trend and a new commercial model. Some companies make use of their unique green constructions to expand their market.
- Transportation. This industry embraces the green idea and seriously practices it. In Beijing and Shanghai, many buses use natural gas instead of oil for the former only emits 10 percent-20 percent carbon of the latter; meanwhile, China is making active exploration in the electric vehicles like electric motors and electric cars.
In other industries, many companies are also making “green” efforts.
Green is still a bit new in China. Do you think the public is ready to embrace it and do you predict that more companies are likely to go green in the future?
Green is not only a commitment but the responsibility of all enterprises. The Chinese public has already had this awareness in mind and started the green practices by various innovative means.
GDP does not simply mean burning. Energy utilization can be greener and more conservative. Going green is not an impossible dream, but what we are actually doing now. The fulfillment of all the missions requires our innovation and time.
What books, magazines, or blogs focused on green and sustainability are on your night table or RSS reader? For those interested in learning more on these topics, what resources would you recommend that they look to?
In China, many books are concerned with this issue. Two known magazines also discuss the topic: Green Herald and Energy. Initiated by Chinese entrepreneur club, Green Herald is concerned with how to develop a green business model, which is low-carbon, environmentally-friendly, and highly-effective. Energy focuses both on the traditional energy pattern and on the exploitation and use of new energy.
The topic of energy, environmental protection, and green is very complex. I suggest that everyone read books on the exploitation and utilization of traditional energy, because it is impossible to envision a future without knowing the history of energy.
What are some of the exciting innovations we can expect to see from ENN in the next year? Where do you see the brand going next?
Interbrand has projected the brand’s growing path to imagine the new world of energy and to display more advanced sys-energy efficiency. Next year we will orient our main direction: continuously bringing economic and environment values to our clients. With this as our focus, more activities on exhibitions, public relations, and advertisements will be held.
Is there any planned big event next year?
Not yet. ENN plans to exert activities based on business development to contribute cleaner energy solutions. ENN’s actions will focus on two aspects: innovation and the creation of more value for our clients.
Mr. Zhang Xudong, Brand Director of ENN Group. ENN Group is the leading new energy group in China. Mr. Zhang is in charge of brand planning, management, and implementation for the ENN Group.Before joining ENN, Mr. Zhang was brand communication director of Ufida which is a listed company and one of thelargest ERP providers in China. Mr. Zhang Xudong graduated from ChinaJournalism University and has many years of experience in the media industry.