BRANDING of solar energy products and services; why bother? Branding done right can double or triple revenue. The ultimate goal of branding is to disable selling and enable buying. Customers hate being sold. Customers love buying.
In this brief article we will focus on the top 3 branding strategies to transform a solar energy company into a powerful BRAND. We will explore how to enable a brand to continuously attract loyal high-paying customers; without running expensive advertising campaigns.
BRANDING STRATEGY #1: Stop Selling to Everyone
As the saying goes, “less is more”. Instead of trying to design a solar energy brand that will appeal to everyone, design a brand that will appeal to only a few. If you get this strategy alone right, your revenue will double or triple. The math is simple: first, you reduce your audience size, but then you significantly increase conversion through branding. Sounds too optimistic? Here is how it works.
The only reason you’re reading this article is because the title includes the word “SOLAR”. Otherwise, you would’ve ignored it, just like you ignored the other dozen branding articles in your newsfeed today. Likewise, your customers receive a dozen solar energy offerings every day, and have no motivation to pay special attention to your brand. Unless, your brand is so narrow and focused that it is relevant to them; and then hopefully they like what your brand is offering them.
Branding is defining the core value of your company. Then, implementing that value through corporate, operations, and points of sale. Values engage your customers’ emotions. Customers who share the same values as your brand will be able to FEEL your brand. At that point, you no longer need to sell; you just enable a convenient buying process. Every sale is an emotional decision, and branding is the fuel to your customers emotions. This means your brand value cannot be “solar energy”, but rather a truly believable value, a human value: genius, social status, happiness, justice, etc.
In reality, not every customer is going to agree with your brand value. And that’s OK. You don’t need everyone. You just need a group of true believers. These perfect matches will not only spend every dollar on your brand, but will promote your brand to everyone they know for free. Because they’re not doing it for you, but rather, for themselves and the value they believe in.
Disclaimer: if your brand value is not genuine, then branding fails. If the branding is not implemented through corporate, operations, and points of sale, then branding fails. If marketing and advertising do not communicate the brand value, then branding fails.
BRANDING STRATEGY #2: Stop Competing with Everyone
In 1997, “Think Different” has arguably become one of the most successful branding campaigns ever. It positioned Apple as a value based movement, rather than a computer company. Since then, Apple had no longer the need to compete on pricing, since its loyal customers were not buying Apple products because of their features, but rather based on how those products made them FEEL.
You cannot compete on pricing. There is always someone out there who can provide a cheaper product or service. However, to win the competition you should seek differentiation. Don’t be less or more, but be different. To be clear, being different does not require you to be the only company providing a specific solar energy product or service. Your differentiation should be embedded in the uniqueness of your brand value, not in the product or service. There are many shoe retailers, but NIKE is different. There are many car manufacturers, but Volvo is different. And there are many soft drinks, but Coca Cola is different.
As a solar energy product or service your brand value must become your differentiation from your competition. Being different makes it more difficult for your competition to “copy” your offerings. Your customers will buy your product or service not because of the price point, but rather because how your brand uniqueness makes them feel. You are connecting with your customers at a much meaningful level than transacting a commodity.
Being different doesn’t only set you apart from the solar companies competition, but it also sets the customer expectations when interacting with your brand. For example, when a customer shops at Walmart, they’re not expecting great customer service, but rather to find the cheapest price. However, when the same customer shops at Nordstrom, they’re not expecting cheap pricing, but rather to receive the best customer service. Setting the expectations through being different than the competition eliminates friction from the buying process; thus doubling or tripling sales.
BRANDING STRATEGY #3: Stop pre-2010 Marketing and Advertising
Before 2010, companies launched their brands through deploying expensive marketing and advertising campaigns. Basically, traditional marketing and advertising happened at the end of the development of a new product or service. Traditional marketing and advertising was product based, instead of brand based. After 2010, through social media and tech advancement, employees and customers took control of the brands. Companies could still plant the seed of the brand; but only employees and customers could grow it into an actual plant. And the message has been clear, employees and customers wanted a brand that they can be proud to share with the world; they wanted a meaningful human value.
If branding is defining the core value of your solar energy company; then marketing is communicating your brand to the public; while advertising is marketing through paid channels. This means, the only benefit of marketing and advertising is to communicate your brand to the public whether through organic or paid channels. In other words, branding enables your customers to FEEL your brand. Marketing enables them to SEE your brand. And advertising enables them to ACT on your brand. Next time your team is launching a new solar energy product or service, make sure they include branding in the very beginning of the design and development of the product or service. Once branding is implemented through corporate, operations and point of sale; marketing and advertising become intuitive.
Remember, competition can easily copy your product or service offerings; but it would be difficult for them to copy your brand value. And customers will engage with your marketing and advertising because of the way your brand makes them feel. We have worked and witnessed many companies, from startups to large organizations, double or triple revenues through branding. It is time to submit to the power of your employees and customers, and build a value based mutually-beneficial relationship with them through branding. The end results will amaze you.
Interested in how to transform your solar energy company into a powerful brand, and double or triple revenue? Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation: [email protected]