For renewable energy companies, DIFFERENTIATION is a critical asset in an increasingly competitive market. To differentiate effectively, you need a powerful BRAND IDENTITY.
But what is a brand identity, exactly? How is it important for your overall strategy and your marketing and branding activities? And what are the essential elements that help your renewable energy company stand out in a sea of competition?
This article reveals essential tips!
Your brand identity’s value lies in the way your audience perceives your business. It is comprised of both your clients’ knowledge about your brand and their emotional connection to the brand’s symbols and meaning. A good brand unleashes emotions and it is easily recognizable.
Having a strong brand identity will empower your business and make it grow by attracting new clients, helping you gain loyal followers, and increasing your company’s profit margin. Moreover, a well-structured brand identity will deliver the following benefits:
- Making your customers the ambassadors of your brand which means they will be willing to promote your services through word-of-mouth referrals;
- More effective and engaging messaging through your digital media channels;
- An increased chance that your clients will also purchase ancillary goods and services;
- Loyal employees who adhere to your business’ organizational culture and who are more engaged and productive. This kind of workers represent a valuable asset that leads to lower turnover costs;
- Significantly improved efficiency of your renewable energy company’s procedures and policy which helps you cut costs;
- Opening new doors of opportunity when it comes to PR-related initiatives, which helps create a positive brand image;
- An impressive increase in your business’ value within your community;
- Numerous business development and company growth possibilities;
- An increase in the company’s profit margin along with higher revenues;
In order to deliver on the promise of the above points, we have some highly effective guidelines when it comes to creating or strengthening your renewable energy company's brand identity.
1. Establish A Messianic Sense of Purpose and "Why"
People love to be inspired. Inspired people would much rather buy your product or service over that of a company that is not inspired, or inspiring. This is where establishing a messianic sense of purpose is critical to setting your renewable energy brand apart in a sea of competition.
Let's use a couple of Steve Jobs' personal mission statements as examples where it regarded Apple's growth:
- "To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance humankind."
- "We're here to put a dent in the universe."
A fantastic messianic sense of purpose will give your audience a sense of wonder that you can tie to your brand. And the great thing is, you are already in the renewable energy business! You are, by your very nature, helping to wean mankind off of dirty energy, which we all know opens up huge possibilities for our advancement as a species!
Once you have your messianic sense of purpose defined, the next thing to tie on to it is why it is important in the first place, and why your renewable energy company does what it does. This is simply because people want to know about others and what drives them, especially if the story is compelling.
If you can come up with a moving, messianic sense of purpose, and then tell people why your do what you do, you will open vast marketing, branding and storytelling potentials for your renewable energy business.
2. Rely on How Your Brand Makes Your Clients Feel
In creating a powerful brand identity, one that gets and sustains the engaged attention of your target market, clients and even employees, you need to focus on three crucial needs of your customers. The following are elemental needs of most humans. Your customers will have needs that are more strongly based in one element over another. Your brand should represent all three of the following to make sure you can adjust your sales messaging to meet the needs of individuals, and therefore increase your conversions from prospects to customers.
Level #1: Practical
This is the first place to start in building/strengthening your brand identity. This primary level is all about creating a sense of consistency, safety and practical return on investment dollars. There are no emotions or thrills tied to this element. It is black and white, and just the facts.
To illustrate, here are a few key questions that need affirmative answers in your messaging:
- Do your products/services do what they say they will do?
- Is there a high level of quality?
- Will the products or services last a long time?
- Is there ease of usage?
- What savings can they expect (immediate and over time)?
- What are the stories/testimonials from existing customers that represent the above points?
The above kinds of questions establish a very firm ground upon which you can stand. They create trust and a sense of safety with your brand through your marketing and communications activities.
Once you are very clear on the practical benefits that your renewable energy product or service can/will deliver, you can then focus on the Emotional element of your brand.
Level #2: Emotional
People want to feel as though their decision to convert or remain with renewable energy is not only good for them on a practical level, but on an emotional level as well. What is very clear now-a-days is that climate change is real and only getting worse. In addition, conventional power can be harmful for both personal health and the health of the natural environment.
Many of your clients want to feel as though they are contributing towards the reduction of CO2 emissions, or creating a cleaner natural environment through the direct action of switching to renewable energy. In other words, people want to feel good through their decision to switch and remain. They want to know that they are making a difference. Your brand identity needs to reinforce this notion.
A very simple way to reinforce this need is to clearly illustrate what impact your customers' decision to use renewable energy will have on the reduction of CO2 and/or the improvement of the natural environment. Where it concerns the environment, and depending on the conventional established grid from where your target audience gets their power, this could include contributing to cleaner air, less CO2, cleaner water, less pollution etc.
Once you have the above established, look for ways to augment this messaging through impactful stories and testimonials from existing customers.
Level #3: Aspirational
Another very strong need people have is the need to leave a positive legacy or to serve the long-term greater good (e.g. for our children and our children's children). This makes the use of the Aspirational imperative for your brand identity.
To illuminate the Aspirational element of your brand identity, ask and provide affirmative answers to the following:
- What are the concrete ways that your renewable energy company contributes to the greater good?
- What kind of emerging future are your customers contributing to through the use of your particular renewable energy?
- How does this sense of greater purpose make your existing customers feel (represented through stories/testimonials)?
Once you have a very clear idea of how you want to build or strengthen your brand identity through a healthy mix of the Practical, Emotional and Aspirational elements, you are move on to Step #2.
3. Telling Stories
People are typically highly engaged with compelling stories. Once you have established the Practical, Emotional and Aspirational elements of your brand identity, you will be able to focus the stories you tell through a these lenses. When telling the story of your renewable energy company, keep the following in mind.
Who’s the Main Character of Your Brand?
Who do you want to feature in your brand story and represent your brand image? Many companies develop their own cartoon characters or mascots and use them like you would in a fairytale. Other businesses place their marketing director in the spotlight and he or she speaks about their personal life and experience in the first person. The important thing is for your character to be relatable.
The Power of Symbols, Imagery, Metaphor and Other Positive Associations
Compelling stories are communicated with more than just written and spoken words. The use of symbols, imagery, metaphor and any other direct or indirect positive associations that you can attach with your brand identity deepens its your storytelling impact.
Establish Your Brand’s Story
An enticing brand story will make your clients feel something. This is where the Practical, Emotional and Aspirational elements that we highlighted above, as well as the character of your brand and the symbols, imagery, metaphor and other positive associations come into play. Once you have a clear idea of what all of these are, you can tie them into the stories and messaging you produce for maximum effect.
Remain Consistent throughout Your Business
Once you’ve established a story, stick to it and communicate it as well as possible with every social media post and all the aspects of your marketing campaign. Incoherence is the worst nightmare for every brand manager. Therefore, it is best to create a set of brand guidelines to make sure all your employees send out the right message.
4. Methods For Strengthening Your Brand Identity
- Optimize your content – good content must provide a great value to your clients. You can foster client engagement through actionable tips, compelling details, and comprehensive guides. Your website should also offer a memorable experience;
- Use visual devices – these tools will help you gain awareness, visibility, more followers, and remarkable brand identity. When you design the brand’s visuals such as logo, shapes, colors, fonts, remember to include your business’ core values into those elements;
- Focus on affinity marketing – this represents the use of valuable brand assets in order to create lasting relationships and alliances with other brands as well as with the clients. All you have to do is to be real and honest and use a friendly tone of voice with your customers.
In a competitive renewable energy market, the differentiation of your brand is crucial. This is where the development of a compelling brand identity will help you stand out in the crowd.
To create or strengthen your brand identity, start first with a messianic sense of purpose, and then a "why" to describe that purpose.
The next step is to solidify how you want your target audience to feel on Practical, Emotional and Aspirational levels.
The third step is to tell your stories with a viable persona, as well as with symbols, imagery, metaphor and other positive associations that create deep and lasting impact on the minds of your target market. The main key here is to remain consistent with all of these elements.
Finally, you can use a variety of methods to strengthen your brand identity, which include optimizing your content, using visual devices and making use of affinity marketing.
With all of the above established concretely, you will be able to transmit a highly impactful renewable energy brand through conventional and digital media communications channels. This will create the most compelling marketing messaging possible and set you light years ahead of a competitive landscape.
About Arrow Northwest
You will love how your communications feel. You will be thrilled with the results. Begin the journey today!