Tamarindo Communications, a strategic communications advisory for the renewable energy industry, has launched the second, North American, edition of its Renewables Reputation Index, a comprehensive overview of companies’ market profile and reputation within the U.S. market.
Companies with the strongest reputation in North America include large European developers and manufacturers, but the list is topped by U.S. developer Invenergy. To assess the market profile and reputation of American renewable energy companies, Tamarindo Communications’ research team ranked the top 100 companies according to three core profiles: Online and search, news media, and social media.
A process of peer validation trimmed the list further, to find the companies with the most effective brand-building strategies in the market.
Developers make themselves known
Among developers, the most notable entry is Invenergy (1), which has generated high-profile PPA deals with the likes of Microsoft and benefited from speaking publicly about work with a client with a strong household brand name.
In the 10 ten, it is followed by EDF (3), Enel (6) and GE Renewable energy (10), and further down, emerging developers Geronimo (13), Lincoln (15) and Clearway (22).
The rankings of these are likely boosted by the increasing number of PPA deals signed with large corporates, such as Budweiser, with a strong media presence and inclination to promote their activity in clean energy, as shown by this year’s Super Bowl spot. However, it also shows developers taking care of their profile in an increasingly competitive industry where securing corporate buyers is all-important.
Banks consider a clean energy image Wells Fargo (7), Morgan Stanley (19) and JP Morgan (29) also made the top 30. As the U.S. market matures, banks and financiers have a bigger role as part of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity, and funding large-scale projects and ventures such as offshore wind. This also reveals, however, that Wall Street is thinking about reputation. With new business opportunities opening up from wind and solar, it is vital for banks to tidy up their image and boost visibility among the renewable energy audience.
Companies leverage niche in renewables
In advance of the PTC and ITC reductions, there has been a drive to get projects built. For companies such as 3M (11), this has meant a drive to show the unique, specialized value they bring to renewables. This is as much the case for industry stalwarts as DNV GL (14) as specialists like microgrid software provider Homer Energy (18), and non-profit solar installer GRID Alternatives (21).
These are, arguably, the most notable entrants, who have made their way up the list as a result of consistent media outreach across the news media, social and their websites. Building up a brand that ensures companies get recognized when needed most can be challenging for niche service providers, and commitment by the likes of Homer Energy shows a real understanding of what drives new business.
“Reputation is obviously essential to commercial success, but too often the business case of investing in and protecting company reputation is overlooked,” said Roland Godfrey-Davies, Managing Director, Tamarindo Communications. “Renewable energy often rides on an environmental message, but that isn’t enough to win work in an industry showing strong growth and unprecedented levels of competition.”
The research into the reputation of firms in the North American renewable markets highlights the latest trends among developers, investors, consultants, and supply chain businesses in how and where they invest in their reputations, and to what extent this investment is successful.
“While the index sees a number of the larger market players near the top, there are also a number of smaller firms actively enhancing their reputation through clear investments in profile raising and brand building,” added Godfrey-Davies. “So while it’s clear that company size isn’t essential to a strong reputation, what is essential is a desire to take the reputation of your business seriously, and to invest in it appropriately.”