Much has been written about the cost of customer acquisition for the solar industry. I’ve seen some estimates that put the average cost to acquire a new customer at $350. A lot of the discussion has focused on how to use digital marketing to bring that number down – and rightfully so. Digital marketing is a proven, cost effective technique. This isn’t one of those articles. Instead, I’m going to provide another sales driver to consider: branding.
A brand is much more than a logo.
Branding is the process of shaping your organization’s reputation – and it will happen with or without your input. The best way to approach the branding process is to cultivate a relationship between your organization and its customers. Beyond selling them your product or service, what are you doing to help your customers? That could translate into community service, incredible customer service, or any number of creative ideas. A glowing reputation (a.k.a. your brand) makes it easy for people to remember who you are, what you do, and why they should care about your organization. It creates an enduring preference for your product or service.
For the solar energy industry, I think this is vitally important. Unless solar energy organizations pay attention to their brands, they will quickly find themselves lumped into other commodity markets where cost becomes the only distinction. After all, the electricity coming into a building will turn on the lights, regardless of where it came from. The challenge, then, is for each organization to provide customers with additional benefits to consider.
Start branding your organization.
For starters, an organization needs to clearly define what it stands for. Answering these three questions is a good way to begin:
- Who are your core customers?
- What do they value?
- What can your organization do to align with those values?
Once answered, one of the most valuable things an organization can do is makes sure every employee understands the vision. Align your team with the organization’s principles and empower them to act as brand ambassadors, sharing your brand with every customer interaction they have.
The foundations of a successful brand.
A great brand name will provide people with an intuitive understanding of the product or service your organization provides. It helps potential customers understand how you can help them.
A successful brand mark (aka, your logo) is akin to a mnemonic device, helping customers better encode and recall critical information - your value proposition.
Working in concert with the company name, a tagline further defines the company by further evoking its value proposition.
Keep your brand healthy – and valuable.
Brand building is an organic process that only becomes real when it's experienced. Every interaction with the public, whether in an ad; on a website; on a sales call; or at a hosted event, builds your brand. And as any salesperson will tell you, selling a well known and respected brand is much easier than selling an unknown entity.