BP Solar had been in business for 30 years, but by 2006, they’d realized the solar market – and their competition – was changing. They called on Shelton Group to help them become the number one choice for residential solar buyers.
To understand how consumers thought about solar energy and BP Solar in particular, we surveyed three sets of people: past BP Solar buyers, “lost” customers (leads who lost touch before purchasing), and the general population (with an oversample in states that offered incentives for solar).
To our surprise, we found that the most likely future solar buyers weren’t who we (or other solar manufacturers at the time) had imagined. They weren’t tree huggers; they were conservative, executive-level men driven almost equally by two desires: empowerment and affordability. Past buyers, we discovered, had made their purchases with similar motivations and now felt fulfilled, even smug, at the notion of being CEOs of their own solar power plants. Appealing to these desires would give BP Solar a powerful angle no competitors had yet claimed.
We then developed a new strategic plan for BP Solar focused on three goals: getting the right message to the right consumers; putting BP Solar in front of consumers at retail; and getting the best solar panel dealers on board to sell the brand.
Our creative campaign, “Today I will,” put empowerment and affordability front and center in all communications. The fresh, vivid world of the ads – and the contented solar buyers who lived in it – invited our target audience to feel smart and in control by purchasing solar.
BP Solar had rolled out a direct-to-consumer retail program with Home Depot – a perfect fit with the affordability messaging – so we provided sales scripts and point-of-purchase materials for Home Depot staff to help them close sales, plus created a host of ads, mailers, truck signs, yard signs, and other digital and print collateral to use in sales efforts. Consumer communications struck a chord. Brand recall increased, and even the “lost” customers took significant notice of our email campaign.
We also helped build a Certified Installer Program and a two-day training course to create a loyal fan base of solar dealers. Forty dealers in key markets joined the program.