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Marketing Myopia in the Green Tech Sector

Interesting ‘re-branding’ or even re-positioning last week within the biofuels sector. Aurora Biofuels has changed its name to Aurora Algae, and now will leverage its proprietary strain of algae to produce pharmaceuticals, protein bars and oils that can be used in hand creams. As the company’s website states “Aurora Algae Introduces the Industry’s First photosynthetic Algae-Based Platform for Pharmaceutical, Food, Fuel and Aquaculture Products.” So why the change over?

I don’t know if the classic ‘Marketing Myopia’ Harvard Business Review journal article written by Theodore Levitt, way back in 1960, is still taught in Business Schools or not, but this smacks of widening the field of potential down the road for Aurora. Aurora has obviously decided to re-examine their corporate vision, which has led to the redefining of their markets in terms of wider views for future potential. Applications include:

  • Pharmaceuticals — Aurora Algae will produce high-concentration Omega-3 fatty acids in commercial quantities for use in pharmaceutical and health supplement products.
  • Health Foods & Beverages — Aurora Algae’s rich protein extracts will be added to health shakes, protein bars and other food and beverage products.
  • Fish Meal — Aurora Algae’s high-quality and low-cost fish meal will provide a natural feed source for aquaculture.
  • Renewable Energy/Fuels—Aurora Algae’s high-performance biodiesel can be produced in low-cost commercial quantities to address a variety of energy applications, including transportation.

The company’s key leverage is the algae-based platform it has developed, it’s core competence, but biofuels limits its markets (and market potential) and therefore taking a wider view, which includes several large sectors, is not too surprising. Once the company doesn’t try to become ‘all things to all men.’

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