The Solar Brand Connection Challenge
In a world where most solar companies are in their early stages, where solar is a relatively new industry and struggling as a whole to break mainstream market barriers, how does one overcome the “brand recognition challenge”? Is branding essential and instrumental to the realization of your business goals? Yes!
At EcoOutfitters.net, we take these matters close to heart. It’s our goal to merge together our driving purpose — to make information about saving with solar accessible to the masses — with our business initiatives. One way we are doing that is by hosting bi-monthly #SolarChat sessions on Twitter.com, which are designed to be a “think tank” among solar professionals and solar-curious consumers. It’s our intention to provide a forum to discuss the issues surrounding solar — how to build our companies, share our value propositions, and increase the awareness of solar in the mainstream.
In the 12/21/11 #SolarChat discussion, we feel we made some headway toward that goal. Here are some of our thoughts on the topics discussed in “Building Your Solar Brand.”
How can solar companies “shine”?
Be known for something unique and compelling and then deliver on your promise. Solar companies usually don’t have years of history to put forth so every installation counts. Make good on your promise and then use your client testimonials to grow your brand.
How can solar companies counter consumers’ fear of change?
Becoming a “familiar” company with a trusted brand helps tremendously. Credibility is a major factor to success. Familiarity and trust are key elements in making a solar sale. The consumer doesn’t have the luxury of asking a trustworthy neighbor his or her opinion. The solar company has to present a trustworthy and comfortable environment. But how do you accomplish this without years of past experience?
Opt for a “comfortable” pitch. In other words, keep it simple. Less complicated makes it less scary. If dealing with a residential buyer, speak the language, keep it short, and educate them. If dealing with commercial buyer, do all of the above but you can increase the technical level some.
When it comes to countering consumer concerns about solar, it all comes down to these five connection elements: Empathy, simplicity, approachability, helpfulness, plain-speak.
Realize that consumer want more information to make a good decision and they want to feel smart. Focus on incorporating “early-adopter” messaging!
How can you clearly define your solar company’s value statement?
At EcoOutfitters.net, we value our position as “the source for sensible energy information.” We do that through all of our education outreach — our free solar savings report, our daily blogs, our social media connections, etc.
How do you use social media to boost your solar company’s brand recognition?
- Remember your employees: Let them identify themselves as part of your company professionally and personally; they are a huge branding opportunity for your company so encourage them to tweet and message. They are a great voice.
- Use social media enthusiasm to your advantage, build a strong online presence
- Leverage PR opportunities to continue to “tell your story…”
- Branding recognition really is branding connection — social media outlets allow you do do just that – connect!
In a recent blog post written up on a previous #SolarChat, Chris Williams from HeatSpring concluded that we, the solar tribe, are good at getting attention:
“The solar crowd is loud! The people that love solar REALLY LOVE solar and they’re not afraid to show it, talk about, invest their own time in finding and organizing solar lovers. I’ve found a lot of people who work in the geothermal or energy efficiency but even they do not promote the technology as hard core as an amateur who does it because they love the technology, not because they’re getting paid.”
We need to learn how to build on this “energy” and broadcast our brand connection so the world can hear!
While we may not all be “brandoligists”, if we continue to band together we can build a solid “solar brand” and by doing so build our own brands too.