PRWeek Awards 2011: Business Marketing Communications

Solar power is still a relatively new idea in the UK, and most people look at the weather and automatically assume that wind power is the only realistic source of renewable energy in the UK.

Marketing Communications: Business Award winner: Sharp Solar ‘Solar: A Renewable Power That’s FIT for Purpose’ with Brands2Life
Marketing Communications: Business Award winner: Sharp Solar ‘Solar: A Renewable Power That’s FIT for Purpose’ with Brands2Life

Sharp Solar has been making more than 5,000 solar panels a day in Wrexham since 2005, but only one per cent were being installed in the UK. Sharp was keen to clear up confused thinking on its energy source. So when the Government launched a scheme on 1 April 2010 to encourage investment in renewable technology, the manufacturer asked Brands2Life to kick off a year-long campaign to make the case for solar power in the UK, position Sharp as the leading industry voice and drive sales of solar technology to UK business.

 

A very strong campaign that delivered excellent media and stand-out sales performance.

Greg Dawson, director of corporate comms, Virgin Atlantic Airways

Brands2Life's campaign used both public affairs and PR. The agency targeted influential ministers in one-to-one briefings and helped drive the formation of the Associate Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group.

It also started a news blitz, making sure all stories about solar power mentioned Sharp, and other relevant stories made the case for solar power. Those stories included Prince Charles seeking planning permission to install solar panels at Clarence House and Glastonbury Festival kicking off a renewable energy drive.

The agency commissioned research to highlight the business benefits of installing solar and developed a competition to find five people who wanted to start renewable energy businesses to win places at the Sharp Installer Academy.

These efforts resulted in more than 220 pieces of coverage in 12 months. This included 46 UK national newspaper stories, 25 of which used Sharp as the only solar commentator.

The news coverage may have led to Prince Charles' decision to install Sharp panels at Clarence House and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's visit to Sharp's factory in Wrexham.

The campaign definitely prompted an extra 10,000 customer enquiries and a 200 per cent rise in sales, or 300,000 panels. This increased the annual turnover of Sharp's UK solar division from €13m to nearly €90m.

The Awards 2011 book will be available in this week's issue of PRWeek

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