The sustainable construction industry needs a branding shake-up

February 22 2023

I’m on a mission to make the sustainable and ethical consumer choice, the fun and desirable one too.

Why do we choose Who Gives A Crap toilet paper, even though it’s more expensive? Hint: it’s not just because it’s better for the environment. It’s because the branding and messaging tickles our funny bone, by acknowledging toileting doesn’t have to be so serious!

I think a similar idea could be applied to other sustainable businesses that are traditionally serious, like the construction industry.

When looking at, say, options for solar panels, the branding for most companies uses yellow and is fairly predictable looking. I did spot a couple who are doing better than average, but none that made me (a woman in my 30’s who is looking forward to investing in solar panels) actually connect with the branding.

I see a massive gap in the branding of some industries, where the product or service itself appeals to the home owners who are buying interiors magazines, reading Design Files and dream of a stylish home that is carbon neutral or even off-grid.

The power of branding can be utilised to mobilise a couple of generations who are perhaps travelling less over the next couple of years, but are primed to make changes to their homes to benefit the environment for their kids and grandkids.

Here are 3 examples of industries that have juicy opportunities ripe for picking:

1. Solar panels

As already mentioned, there is an opportunity to romanticise harnessing the sun’s power to feed your children, or power a dance party. People are already feeling climate guilt, but the facts and fear aren’t enough to connect with people, especially those who are more motivated by emotional factors.

Currently a lot of businesses in this industry use either yellow or blue as the main brand colours, and there are a lot of logos with little dots in a circle. This opens SO much room to be different and exciting!

2. Double glazed windows

When I think of windows, I think of natural light, feeling more immersed in the outside world, framing the outside in a beautiful way. And double glazed windows, while yes you save money on heating and cooling. But what about that inner feeling of calm when you’re in a well-insulated room, with big windows and no heating is needed?!

Again, the logos and branding in this industry tend to feel very masculine, not particularly design-oriented and a lot of the copy focuses on facts and data. Instead it could give a nod to the sensory feeling in addition to the facts and data (which are also important!). Builders and renovators aspiring to architectural homes value the overall branding experience of a business. 

3. Passive House consulting

This is surely an industry that is booming or set to grow rapidly over the next 10 years. As it’s probably home-owners researching passive houses and philosophy, making your branding and messaging connect with the end result for the home-owner is really important. And, again, the end result is more than the facts of less bills or climate guilt! 

How could you stand out and add humour or a sense that passive equals luxury, or thinking less about heating/cooling and bills means more time and money for fun?

Questions to help apply these branding opportunities to your business

  1. Think about who the buyer is: the end-user or a trade, or a mix of both?
  2. What brands do these buyers love in other contexts? Bright, funny, no-nonsense, straight-talking, minimal, or decorative and lush?
  3. Are they likely to be a repeat buyer, or is it a one-off purchase? How can you enhance the customer experience and branded touchpoints to make it memorable and delightful in some way?
  4. If you sell to the end-user, think about how your product or service makes their life better, once the product is installed. What feelings do they have when the job is complete?
  5. Bonus question for your brand designer: how can all of the above be communicated in the logo, branding, website and messaging?!

Let’s make buying things like solar panels a fun and feel-good experience!

Ready to pick the branding fruit?

Photo of Candice leaning against a textured white wall in the sunshine and smiling. She has long curly hair and a colourful jacket on.

Candice is the founder of Design Salad, a strategy loving design studio helping climate-consious women business owners shine brighter than ever before.

Design Salad specialises in thoughtful brand strategy and unique brand identities infused with artistry. 

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