How we created a diversity initiative for Tesla/SolarCity
Birk Creative was invited to create and develop a branding initiative for a new department for San Mateo, California-based, publicly-traded corporation Tesla, Inc.’s SolarCity, one of the largest solar energy services providers in the US. The Tesla/SolarCity Diversity and Inclusion Department was formed to promote inclusiveness and create awareness, both internally and externally, that SolarCity was proactive and dedicated to developing, and maintaining, a diverse workforce.
The task was to create an identity, tagline, value and brand statements, and visuals for the D&I department to serve as a source of information for employees looking for common affinity and as an effective recruiting tool.
To prevent and dispel misperceptions about the purpose behind this effort, the existing level of internal buy-in needed to be determined. Birk Creative conducted an employee survey to measure the appetite for, and understanding of, diversity and inclusion and the need for a dedicated department. A series of questions was circulated among all levels of the organization to create a comprehensive picture of how individuals would define race and diversity, throughout Tesla/SolarCity.
Understanding the business requirements of Tesla/SolarCity, and the benefits of having a diverse workforce were the most critical aspects of the work. Then, segmenting the desired audiences of veterans, women, African Americans, Latinos and LGBQT, and understanding their needs and interests helped guide the department’s messaging around recruitment.
As with many large American publicly-traded companies, and in particular in the tech energy sector, a challenge, and particularly common to construction industry, is recruiting women. As part of an information gathering process, Birk Creative toured Tesla’s SolarCity and worked with management to conduct one-on-one interviews with women employees about their experiences, barriers they faced, how they worked with leadership and why they were committed to SolarCity for their careers.
Information gathered from these company-wide tours was used to form Birk Creative’s recommendations, which included:
- Develop an original tagline “Where Diversity Powers Innovation,” playing off how the sun powers life.
- Branding the new department with its own logo and materials to establish a distinctive visual identity that would be recognized companywide
- Communicating that the department’s purpose was to provide education around diversity and inclusion internally
- Give the Diversity and Inclusion Department top level website authority on SolarCity.com
- Informed recommendations to management for including diversity and inclusion messaging on talent acquisition platforms, such as Glass Door, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc.
- Create job fair posters with robust infographics and information detailing what a female job candidates could expect from a career in solar energy in general, and SolarCity in particular.
- Provide high level training to the marketing department about creating more diverse images in the materials for public outreach
- Brand strategy, statement and values
- Best practices for D&I
- Solar Industry Careers Poster
- Company Wide Marketing Brochure
- Veteran Recruitment Poster
- Glass Door Content Development
- Letter from the Chairman
- Print Ads
- Original copywriting
- Proof of Concept Brief
The Tesla’s SolarCity Diversity and Inclusion Department was given an even higher profile than originally planned. Their presence on SolarCity’s website was raised and included a letter from the chairman with talking points informed by Birk Creative’s survey results.
Employment data around the solar industry, aligned with Tesla’s own impressive data, not only established the Diversity and Inclusion Department’s credibility, but identified them as experts enabled to speak with authority on matters of diversity and inclusion.
Marketing efforts, materials and collateral was originally intended to include information about the Tesla’s SolarCity Diversity and Inclusion Department, but the branding was so positively received that the materials were included as part of the primary sales kit.