UnThink Solar Blog has moved….

Hello fellow solar UnThink-ees. As you may have seen from this website, UnThink Solar has joined with Impress Labs. Since then, we’ve created a brand new solar marketing thought leadership community and blog that we’re calling the Solar Marketing Think Tank. From now on, please follow Solar Fred and the rest of the Impress Labs solar team there. We’ve created several new channels to keep you informed about the Solar Marketing Think Tank activities: Join our new LinkedIn Group Follow us on Twitter at @Solar_ThinkTank Get the Solar Marketing Think Tank newsletter Check on the latest posts published at SolarMarketingThinkTank.com Contribute your original solar marketing and communications posts to solarthinktank@impresslabs.com, or feel free to ask us any questions. Thanks for UnThinking Solar! Now it’s time to use that Unthinking for our Solar Marketing Think Tank. Cheers, Tor “Solar Fred” Valenza is the chief marketing officer of Impress Labs’ Solar Lab. Follow him on Twitter at @SolarFred and @ImpressTweets....

Case Study: The Making of SEIA’s Solar ITC Video for SPI in 10 Days

If you attended Solar Power International this year, you might have seen SEIA’s call-to-action video to extend the 30% solar investment tax credit (ITC). If you missed it, here it is: We’re very proud of this video for several reasons. First, it supports SEIA and its ITC extension efforts. Beyond that, we’re also very proud that we were tasked with creating this video <em>in 10 days—</em>and completed it on time. Normally, a motion graphics video of this scope and length would take two months. 6 Key Questions to Ask Before Creating a Motion Graphics Video 1. Who is the client? Before we start any project, we need to get to know the client. As solar industry veterans, Impress Lab team members were very familiar with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the main trade organization for the U.S. solar industry, but we hadn’t worked with SEIA until this video project. In general, learning as much as we can about the client helps Impress create a video that closely reflects its existing brand. 2. What is the video’s goal(s)? This is the most important question for any project. The Impress team needs to understand the client’s goals, whether that’s brand recognition, customer education or a specific call-to-action. For this project, SEIA’s main goal was to inspire the solar industry to join SEIA and support its efforts to extend the 30% Solar Investment Tax Credit, commonly known as the ITC. 3. Does the client have a visual style in mind? Some clients know what they want when they contact us, while others will leave the visual style up to us. If clients have...

To Tagline or Not to Tagline, That Is the Question … for SPI Booth Walls

Every year at SPI, I like to walk the halls and see the latest trends in solar event marketing, but nothing jumped out at me this year until I started noticing the extremely varied messaging strategies on the booth walls. As marketers, every word we display should count—especially when those words are set in large type on a booth wall. Naturally, the event marketer’s main goal is to motivate distracted conference-goers to stop by their booth. But as we’ll see, a booth’s messaging can say much more about a solar company than identifying the name of the solar company. As I walked around the show floor, I noted three basic wall-messaging strategies: 1. Name + Tagline: “Stop by because we’re different.” With the name + tagline strategy, the event marketer is trying to attract conference attendees through reflecting their customers’ concerns. The subtext of having a tagline says, “This is what we care about, and we think you should care too.” With mounting company IronRidge, “Make Solar Stronger” may be three words, but if racking durability is your top priority, those three words may be just the message to make you stop and check out IronRidge’s spec sheets. Similarly, Array believes that conference-goers value a tracking technology with experience, a big part of its brand’s messaging, and it wants to make sure this message is front and center for all to see. 2. Name + Parent Company: “Stop by because we’re bankable.” With the Name + Parent Company strategy, the messaging informs conference attendees that this solar brand is a part of a much larger conglomerate.   While being part...

A Solar on the Street Survey: “Solar Energy Is … ”

As we noted in our last Solar Marketing Think Tank post, we here at Impress Labs strongly believe that solar’s brand has yet to be truly defined for the public—or the industry. What does someone think of when they think of solar? PV? Clean energy? Solar hot water? CSP? CPV? Portable solar chargers? A waste of taxpayer dollars? Obviously, solar means different things to different people, but how do we capture all of the positive meaning into one solar energy brand? To move toward that definition, we decided to go outside the door of our San Francisco office and ask nonsolar industry people some very unscientific questions about their immediate thoughts about solar. Yes, we know that these random questions and answers aren’t the kind of scientific market research that we’d normally do for clients, but we were curious. So we put a camera inside our office door and invited anyone who passed by to come inside and answer some brief questions about solar. Surprisingly, 37 San Francisco business district pedestrians actually stopped. We didn’t pay them a dime, but once again, that really doesn’t matter. We know this spontaneous street survey isn’t scientific. And yet … I must tell you that we received some very interesting answers. Read more on Impress...

Beginnings: Solar Fred, Impress Labs and our New Solar Marketing Think Tank

I’ll tell you the awful truth about why I began my solar marketing career—and it wasn’t to make money. Making money is a result of doing great work, not a goal. In 2007, I was bored with the blockbuster movies at my local theater, so I walked into a double feature of “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Who Killed the Electric Car?” What I saw in the theater that night was both inspiring and depressing. Read...