We’ve all heard the term and probably passed it off as little more than another marketing phrase designed to divest part of our budgets.
It’s actually a crucial part of developing a company, especially if you’re really wanting to play in the big leagues.If you’re looking into seriously bringing your company up to its true potential you’ll need to learn the why and how behind building up awareness. Read on, and we’ll show you exactly that.
What is Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is just the recognition of your business. What people think of when they see your logo or an advertisement, how well you’re known through the right circles, and generally how your company is considered in the public eye.
For the most part, we use it as a positive term. Once in a while a brand will make a nearly fatal faux-pas, but brands tend to be pretty neutral for those who aren’t interested in the product or service.
Branding is usually quite simple in the solar industry: people know what you do and it’s whether or not your logo is recognizable or if you’re at the top of the list when people think of solar companies in the area that really matters.
After all, you’re selling a valuable service… not t-shirts with logos.
Isn’t Branding Just for Big Players?
Branding sometimes gets passed off as irrelevant to smaller businesses which can cause the company owners to stand back and wait for the moment to make their “big break” in publicity.
The truth is that a branding strategy should be implemented from the start of your company. Deciding to pick it up when you’re bigger does you no good because brand awareness is a key to long-term growth.
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are two great examples of a global brand. We all know they’re not standing simply on the quality of their products but instead they’ve achieved such a market saturation that they’re the names that come to mind when we hear “hamburger” or “soda.”
And a large part of their success is owed to branding.
Chances are there’s at least one thing you purchase that you buy from only a single brand. Might be your favorite type of pens, the shirts you buy, or even the tires on your car. Not all of those brands have worldwide recognition either.
But you know the difference. That’s what branding is all about in the end.Check out and see what kind of results we might get by working together.
The Basic Building Block: Your Mission Statement
The core of any branding is figuring out what sets your solar company apart from your competitors.
This is your value proposition.
Everyone in your industry is selling solar panels… but what else are you selling?
It doesn’t have to be a physical thing or some gimmick. You can focus on independence from the tyrannical energy grid, saving the planet, or just saving money on electric bills depending on how you personally feel about it.
The important thing is to develop a simple mission statement that ties to your company’s brand. Logically, everything else in your brand will follow this simple statement and it should inform everything from color choices in your logo to sales tactics.
How Can I Work On Increasing Brand Awareness?
Brand awareness is often a natural process, especially for companies which don’t begin with a strategy. It’s just a natural result of good work and people seeing your logo in the area.
This is problematic for start-up solar companies in areas which have competitive markets. If everyone sees the bigger brand around town, guess who they’ll think to call when the time comes for their installation?
A definitive logo and good work is just the start, however. To really kick-start your growth you’ll need to get a little bit more advanced.
In addition to providing excellent work and great customer service, a good brand has the following:
- A distinctive logo
- A consistent message across platforms
- An online presence in the relevant channels
If you’re still in the design phase then picking a logo is a good starting point. Simple logos tend to perform better, so limit the color palette to just a few bold colors and make sure that there’s a distinctive shape that it can be boiled down to.
Inconsistent messaging usually comes from gaps in the marketing department. You might not think you have much to say, that you just install solar panels, but you do more than that.
You provide a green energy service. You help people become more self-reliant. You’re paving the way with advanced technology.
Show that in your marketing and keep it consistent.
Lastly, you’ll need to be where your customers are. For most solar contractors, the following are relevant:
- Google Business
In addition to making sure you’ve claimed or created your business pages, you should engage customers. Thank those who bring in return business, address any complaints, answer questions that might pop up in the comments.
These three steps are huge for someone who hasn’t come up with a complete branding strategy and can skyrocket recognition of your business in the areas you’re working in.
Common Pitfalls in Branding
Branding can be a double-edged sword, however, since anything that happens involving your work and marketing will trace back to your business.
Some of the common pitfalls include the following:
- Breaking the Aesthetic-The look and feel of your advertisements and logo are the big thing behind your branding. If you’re changing fonts, logos, and other recognizable pieces of your brand in between platforms you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
- Lack of Clear Goals-Marketing feels nebulous to some people. It’s not and while raising brand awareness is great, having quantitative goals behind your campaign is important. Raising brand awareness is a means, not an end goal in and of itself.
- No Social Media Policies-More than one company has stuffed their foot in their mouth with a major, viral faux-pas. If you’re spreading the marketing duties across multiple people it’s important to have policies in place to prevent things from getting out of hand.
- Overly Complicated Advertisements-Sometimes people take things a bit too far when they’re branding. Everything should remain simple enough to explain your company’s mission statement in less than a couple of minutes and be easily transferable across different mediums.
Avoiding these problems isn’t hard. The reason that most people fall into this trap is simply a lack of forethought.
One other thing to consider when building a brand is content marketing. Even just a blog that comes in with updates on the industry and deals you offer once a week can make a big difference.
If you commit to a full content marketing campaign you might just find your brand associated with things like being a great source of information, in addition to being the best solar contracting company in the area.
Are you a social media user?
If so, you probably have a few advertisements for something which pop up regularly. You might have clicked on the site once in the past and decided not to make a purchase at the time and you find yourself being reminded that the company is still there.
You might even associate them with the product you were planning on buying.
Retargeting advertisements isn’t just great for conversion rates, it keeps you in front of eyes that are interested in your solar company’s services.
Successful retargeting is an amazing boost for your brand but be careful… you don’t want to be that guy who shows up to everyone who’s ever searched anything remotely related to your niche. Oversaturation will also be traced back to your brand and no one likes constant attempts at hard sells.
Building Local Brand Awareness
For most contractors being known outside of the local area isn’t a big concern. It’s nice that people know you’re doing a good job but people two states over aren’t going to be beating down your door looking for an installation bid.
Instead, you need to build your brand locally in the areas that you operate in.
If everything else is on point, there’s one more key factor: integrating your business into the community.
Sponsoring local sports teams, donating to notable charities and institutions, and getting involved with the local Chamber of Commerce aren’t just advertising: they show that your business considers themselves part of the community as a whole.
So, not only does your name get out there, the community you’re working in also understands that you’re invested in them. That goes a long way towards building trust, particularly for those companies which are new.
Even something as simple as a sign in someone’s yard for a few weeks after completing a job puts more eyes on your company.
Getting the Right Help
While brand awareness can seem like a subjective goal, we’ve found that it’s a crucial part in the success of any company that really wants to grow. It needs to be approached deliberately, however, and with quantitative goals in mind for you to take advantage of it.
Most contractors want some help when it comes to their marketing efforts. We specialize in helping solar contractors reach new heights with their business by reducing lead costs, bringing in qualified leads, and helping to increase the awareness of brands through our predictable advertising system.
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