One of my Solar Fred marketing wishes for 2013 was for solar marketers to be more visual. In that post, I was narrowly referring to internet related marketing, but that’s my mistake. I meant be more visual with everything, including your vehicles.
I was reminded of how important vehicle marketing is over the holidays when I came across this marketing-vehicle parked outside a restaurant in Manhattan. It's for a Mexican restaurant called the Caliente Cab Co Mexican Cafe.
It makes you stop, doesn’t it? Made me. In fact, it made me cross the street to look at the car, and then check out the menu. Had I not had an agenda for that day, I probably would have gone in. What about this little vehicle?
Or this one?
Or this one:
You don’t have to be this extreme (or expensive). The larger company solar trucks have a fleet of uniform painted trucks and painted Prius vehicles. They’re usually bold and bright colors that stand out and get noticed, yet still clean looking. When you see those trucks drive by your neighborhood a few times, turning heads, it makes you curious. Perhaps you notice the truck’s brand, or even its website. The point is that it's not good enough to have a generic truck or car. If no one notices your vehicle, you're just blending in with any industry's truck on the road.
I think this counts for the B to B solar companies too. Just because the public doesn't know what an inverter is or racking, that doesn't mean you can't somehow find a way to communicate about your part (literally) in a solar system.
So, whether you have one pick-up or a fleet of trucks, this visual vehicle marketing is smart and relatively inexpensive with car wrapping services today. Plus, if it doesn’t work, you can always take it off and redesign.
Regardless, keep in mind a few guerrilla solar marketing vehicle tips:
1. If it’s not a practical construction vehicle (like a Smart Car on an antique), you can still use it for sales visits and for attracting attention parked in front of your office.
2. If you or the driver don’t like the initial design, don’t do it. You have to be proud to be driving around in a guerrilla-marketing vehicle. If you’re not, you’ll hide the car or find excuses not to use it, and that defeats the purpose. Wrapping services will allow you to see mocked up photos first.
3. Have at least a website address in the design, if not a phone number. Doors, trunks, and tail-gaits are the most visible.
4. Don’t let the design be too “busy.” If you can’t immediately identify a key solar image or logo, it’s too busy.
5. If you do something customized, like building in a real solar panel, make it functional. People will ask questions about the panel powering something. Don’t disappoint them.
6. Oh, and if you do something customized, like building in a real solar panel into the design, make it look good and not….ugly. Because they’re square, solar panels are best suited to vans and pickups than cars. If you can find flexible BIPV solar, once again, make it look sleek and part of the vehicle.
7. Bright solid colors are memorable. If you’ve ever seen a green SolarCity van, you’ll know what I mean.
8. Your choice of vehicle should be functional. I think Mini Coopers and Smart Cars are cute and they do stand out. So do Monster Trucks, Chevy Volts, and Teslas. But if you’re really going to use these things for hauling panels, inverters, and ladders, don’t. Just don’t.
9. It goes without saying that you should have plenty of brochures and business cards in your guerilla marketing car, but I’m going to say it anyway because it’s the obvious things that we sometimes forget. You might even want to have an outside-the-car window pouch with brochures. Fil it up every time you park.
10. Park on the street as much as possible, even if a garage is more convenient. You want to be seen, don't you?
Finally, remember that the point of solar guerilla marketing is to always stand out AND educate about your solar product or service. You need both to truly… UnThink Solar.
Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” advises solar companies on marketing, communications, and branding. Want more solar marketing info? Sign up for the Solar Fred Marketing Newsletter, or contact Solar Fred through UnThink Solar. You can also follow @SolarFred on Twitter.
The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of RenewableEnergyWorld.com or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.