Here in California we face unprecedented drought. In the east, it is unprecedented cold. Increasing super storms and weather anomalies abound worldwide. More than half of all Americans are worried about climate change according to the study released last week from Yale on “Climate Change Communication.” And according a recent poll, conducted by New York Times and Stanford University, an overwhelming majority of Americans back government action to mitigate global warming (regardless of party affiliation) and are “more likely” to vote for a candidate who addresses that issue.
Tom Steyer, billionaire, climate activist, and NextGen Climate Super PAC supporter, says he will spend “what it takes” to put climate change on top of the agenda for the 2016 presidential election. He envisions a high tech information campaign to counter candidates and their promoters who still deny climate change.
Ryan Popple, former senior finance director of Tesla Motors, has founded Proterra, a rechargeable electric bus company. Seeing the potential with municipal purchasers and state pollution reduction mandates, he has attracted many of the early Tesla backers. He is backlogged with orders.
The Bay Area Pollution Control District is considering a ban on open fireplaces and outlawing wood fires for heating and ambiance. They want to prevent the sale of private homes that have not been retrofitted to air quality compliance regulations. This means a big demand for natural gas, electric, and imitation fire inserts.
As every year passes, the market for climate friendly brands increases for several reasons:
- States and Local Municipalities are beginning to mandate non-polluting vehicles for their fleets, boosting electric cars sales and soon battery operated busses. Further they are systematically banning gas powered leaf blowers and other polluting garden equipment. This is also opening the door for rechargeable electric garden tractors.
- The aging population has an accelerating dynamic. On the one hand, the older segment, that figures they won’t live to see the worst aspects of climate change, is shrinking, while the next generation, that knows they will have to live with it, is expanding with increasing power at the ballot and in the market place.
- More evidence of man-made climate change is becoming available, making this matter more obvious to the average person. We are beginning to see the negative (and expensive) effects of climate change personally. Now, there is no more true scientific debate. The effects of climate change are real and measurable.
So given this emerging mega trend, what are the prospects for brands and political platforms that promise relief from, and mitigation of, the increasing cost of climate change? We think plenty! Today’s 18 through 30 year olds will be voting with their dollars and ballots to save their future even if the last generation does not. Their own physical survival depends on it!
The “climate” brand will be in demand sooner rather than later. Government requirements will create a much bigger demand than the early adopters and conservation-minded buyers of today. We think it’s going to be mainstream, accelerated by the increasing negative effects of the weather.
Those brand builders, influencers, and investors who take the risk now will be in a dominant position in the very near future. People ask us often, “What kind of a business should I go into?” How about products and services that mitigate climate change? The Climate Change Brand is here!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders