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The Great Solar Migration: How Stronger Brands Can Help Solar Move Out From Under Commoditization

2 min. read

I’m fired up about being a speaker at Solar Power International, now part of North American Smart Energy Week. Our presentation was based on an analysis and set of interviews with industry leaders on what the industry can do about profit pressure from commoditization.

If you’re registered for the show, you can access the talk by clicking here. The
talk runs 9 mins and 48 seconds. For everyone else, here’s a Blinkist-like overview of
our major points:

  1. Practically everyone in the solar OEM world sees commoditization as a challenge
    and a drag on profit margins.

  2. Marketing guru Seth Godin said: “If you are subject to sort by price [e.g., hotel
    rooms, airline seats], then you have no brand.” And, on his blog, Godin goes
    deeper: “A brand’s value is merely the sum total of how much extra people will
    pay, or how often they choose, the expectations, memories, stories and
    relationships of one brand over the alternatives.”

  3. Our presentation is based on the first-ever overlay of how the 13 top solar panel
    makers (OEMs) position their products in the marketplace. It overlays the
    essential language from each OEMs “About Us” web page and its tagline:


  4. All 13 companies are selling themselves on some combination of the same 7

  5. I wouldn’t say no one in the solar sector has a brand, as Seth Godin would define
    it. However, it’s clear that brand distinction as a path out of commoditization
    remains more potential than advantage.

If you want to see all the slides we used for the talk, you can access them here.

Mature sectors use brand development as part of their path out of commoditization.
According to the renewables-skeptical International Energy Agency, solar is “the new
'king of electricity' as renewables make up bigger slice of supply.” If we’re maturing so
quickly, shouldn’t we act that way?

Topics: Inbound Marketing Cleantech Marketing