Bringing clean, safe power to people in need of hurricane relief

Portable Electric, a Vancouver-based, clean-energy company, has developed a safe, emissions-free alternative to portable generators. The company enlisted the support of Yulu as it set about deploying the technology for the first time in a disaster relief zone, following Hurricane Florence in North Carolina.

THE CHALLENGE

Awareness of the need for clean-energy alternatives to traditional generators is relatively low, despite increasing global warnings around fossil fuels and climate change. When it comes to disaster relief, traditional generators often are not suitable. They emit carbon dioxide which can be toxic, and often the fuel required to power them is hard to obtain. Portable Electric’s new technology offers a safe solution in these instances. As creators of this groundbreaking technology, the company wanted to build awareness of how it can help those in need, by amplifying the story through traditional media and social media coverage.

THE STRATEGY

There were a number of stages to consider as part of the project, from preparation and transit, to partnerships and on-site relief. As with all natural disaster situations, the situation was likely to be unstable and unpredictable and we faced multiple unknowns, so our strategy was nimble and flexible to accommodate these challenges.

Our first step was to call out for transport partners to help Portable Electric get to the destination as quickly as possible, so pitching local BC. media was our first priority. Once the team departed for North Carolina, our strategy moved on to pitching wider Canadian outlets, offering interviews with the company CEO on a Canadian company crossing borders to help Americans in need.

We quickly learned this story was of interest to solutions focused journalists. With this in mind, we pivoted to pitching first-hand editorials illustrating the reality of life in a disaster relief zone.

RESULTS & IMPACT

Within the first 24 hours, City TV News and News 1130 covered the story as Portable Electric began its journey, with Mark Rabin appearing on television and radio news to discuss the initiative and the new technology.
Once on the ground in the Carolinas Portable Electric had a unique insight to offer on the long-term challenges following a natural disaster. These insights were pitched as guest editorials, with coverage secured in Forbes, SEE Change Magazine, NextBillion and The Vancouver Sun, totalling a reach of over 8.6 million in the space of three weeks.