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Publicity that Spurs a New Business

Arthur D. Little: Technology Breakthrough

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During my tenure at Arthur D. Little, our technology division completed a multi-year Department of Energy-funded program on fuel cell technology. The program demonstrated our ability to convert gasoline to hydrogen under the hood of a car. The resulting hydrogen could power a fuel cell, replacing the internal combustion engine of a car, and produce clean fuel for the future.

The massive press coverage we generated from this breakthrough helped spawn the creation of a new business in fuel cell technology.

With Outlook Marketing, our public relations agency, we won an exclusive in the New York Times. The day before the article was published, I completed a full internal backgrounder as well as a Frequently Asked Questions document with technology contacts in both our US and European offices. These materials were distributed to my colleagues across the globe.  My parting sentence:  “We do not have a preview of the article. Be prepared.” I worked with our spokespeople on messaging, focused on our key mission statements, and waited for the story to run in  the morning.

The next few days were a blur. The media latched on with steel talons to this clean energy success story. I triaged and entertained media crew after media crew as they interviewed our scientists and toured our labs. We were on drive time radio, the 6, 10 and 11 o’clock television news reports, and in national and international newspapers.  The trade journals carried the story for months. TV coverage continued for two days and included national media such as Good Morning America and nightly news programs. President Clinton mentioned Arthur D. Little and our work in one of his speeches on government funding to help green technologies.

My international colleagues were also barraged with reporters.  The backgrounder and FAQs were excellent resources. My only criticism—I should have added a bit more common language examples to some of the background information.

Shortly after the story hit the press, Arthur D. Little spun this technology and science team to form a new company.  The new company then merged with an Italian fuel cell maker and Nuvera Fuel Cells was born.  My second in command was hired as the Marketing Director for the new company and I felt gratified that not only did I contribute to the creation of this new entity, but that I also trained my team well as my former Marketing Manager moved on to his new role.

Watch selected broadcast coverage or read selected print coverage is in the PDF document (below).