“I want to go solar, but what in the world are all these acronyms???” – Confused Potential Solar Customer
As industries go, renewable energy has more than its fair share of lingo, acronyms, and potentially misleading statements. In an effort to establish credibility and “smartness”, I’ve witnessed a trend among clean energy pros to talk over the heads of potential customers, leading with impressive headlines and soundbites and failing to provide full explanations. This trend leads to over-promising, under-delivering, and, in the end, dissatisfied customers who have been taken advantage of, or people who chose to not buy because they see through the marketing. The resulting lack of understanding in the general public also opens the door for the unfortunate practice of “greenwashing”; if nobody really comprehends how this whole industry works, it becomes very hard to prevent “me-too” companies from tagging along with the green revolution.
Successful marketing and communication is about creating mutual understanding about what is actually going on, not impressing a customer with big words that they don’t fully grasp to close a deal. A mature industry is built on educated consumers; it is our responsibility as professionals to provide that education and then deliver products and services that live up to the marketing.