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Going Solar Can Strengthen Your Brand
By: Cindy Wendland
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Solyndra Solar, backed by huge government grants, left a bad taste in people’s mouths towards solar when it went bankrupt. Unfortunately, bankruptcy happens in many industries, but it does not represent the significance of what is happening in solar today or how it can expand a company’s sustainability efforts. First Solar is helping to change all that.

First Solar is based out of Tempe, Arizona and is run by a Texan who spent many years at Enron. His company is backed by the Walton Family (John Walton at first and now the Sam Walton family of Walmart). First Solar sold solar panels to Germany, which has one of the highest concentrations of solar markets in the world. Then, they branched off into the utility market. More recently, they focused on California, where there were fewer government subsidies but increased interest. They also bought a company called TetraSun, which allows them to compete with SolarCity. Since John Walton's passing, the Walton family has continued to support First Solar in tribute to him. So, First Solar has a strong balance sheet and will continue to do so. Their brand is strong.

Other companies can strengthen their brands by going solar. In the Midwest, Johnson Controls and Kohl's department stores are two companies most actively installing solar. This allows them to better control their utility costs and reduce their footprint. For them, going solar is all about branding to the customer. Many companies have sustainability efforts. Companies understand their customers expect them to have social consciousness, and one way they can demonstrate that is through solar. Macy’s, for example, pledges to reduce their impact on the environment, from reducing energy use to recycling more of the waste generated by their operations. Their program is called Turning Over a New Leaf. Adding a solar component would further enhance it.

Just like First Solar prepares for the future by being cash positive and having a strong balance sheet, companies of all shapes and sizes can prepare for the future and strengthen their brands by going solar.

   

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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