case study:

Can sustainable energy fuel corporate sympathy?


Ørsted (formally DONG energy) struggled with a public image of being a heavy, bureaucratic organisation, detached from the realities and needs of real people’s lives. Ørsted was now on a mission to get to know the Danes, and asked IS IT A BIRD to help.


We went out into the world and talked to people about The Good Life. We spent time in people’s homes and even went fishing and gardening with them.


We helped Ørsted challenge their product blindness and disrupt their tunnel vision by changing the internal conversation. We gave them a way of understanding and talking about the Danes on a deeper level.

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We gave Denmarks largest energy company new clues on how to communicate their story

the challenge

Ørsted’s communication strategy had disconnected them from their customers, the very people they work to create value for. This type of challenge is not unusual for our clients, but Ørsted’s approach to solving the challenge was different.

They were not on a mission to make the Danish population interested in them as an organisation – rather, they were on a mission to get to know the Danes. They were not focusing on their customers’ relationship to their services or products, but rather, on the everyday lives of real people.

In order for this to happen, they had to figure out what the Danish people are interested in. What drives them? What makes them tick? What are their concerns and hopes for the future? What do they see as The Good Life? And not least: how can Ørsted’s journey from black to green energy become relevant for people’s everyday lives?

the approach

We conducted a qualitative study, and through digital self-documentation, observation and ethnographic interviews we achieved deep insights into what Danes think about the good everyday life, sustainability, the environment and the future.

“IS IT A BIRDs work has given us an outside-in perspective on our organisation. When we communicate to customers, we now know what is important to them, which is extremely valuable to us."
Filip Engel, Director – Sustainability, Public Affairs & Branding, Ørsted
The Result

By going out into the real world and talking to people about the good life, we found that there is one thing that connects us as modern human beings today: the overwhelming feeling that the world is changing at an ever more rapid pace, and that we need to navigate a world that grows more complex every day.

We saw very clearly that this was a shared frame of reference for many different people, but we also saw that people have widely different strategies for navigating this complexity. We saw three distinct worldviews, which greatly affect people’s attitudes towards, for instance, environmental issues, and identified how they should be approached. This provided Ørsted with a new and deeper understanding of the role that environmental issues play in people’s minds and lives, and who they think holds the responsibility for creating a positive change.

Ørsted’s focus on real people’s worldviews gave them new clues on how to tell their story in a way that resonates with the public. Some feel that Ørsted should be the energy company for the Danish people, giving families advice on how to cut electricity costs in the home. For others, Ørsted needs to enter the scene as a global player, who can affect international agendas and make a positive difference in the world.

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