Market leader SunPower, the oldest solar energy company, needed to revitalize its image and increase brand awareness among stakeholders including the investment community. Bateman was hired by SunPower in 2020 to modernize its PR program and that included financial communications. The company had a very traditional approach to announcing its quarterly earnings, where only the financial results were reported, instead of using the opportunity to tell a broader narrative about the company’s vision and industry thought leadership. Furthermore, the company only briefed a handful of reporters including Bloomberg, Fox Business and Motley Fool on the news, limiting the breadth of overall earnings coverage for the company. Finally, Bateman’s counsel was needed to help SunPower manage communications with the street on several corporate events such an executive change at the CEO level, several acquisitions, supply chain issues, and the spin off of a significant business unit.
Bateman took a multi-pronged approach to increase visibility for the company and its vision for the fast-growing solar market through financial communications. For starters, the agency worked closely with the C-Suite and the IR team to use quarterly earnings to tell a broader corporate narrative, deepen relationships with key business and broadcast media and raise the CEO and CFO’s profile.
On Bateman’s counsel, press releases were redesigned to not only include financial data but to use this communications vehicle to reinforce key corporate messages, provide perspectives on macro trends such as climate change and advocate for stronger federal policies that benefited consumers.
Bateman expanded the scope of media the company briefed on earnings to include Barrons, CNBC, CNN Business, Investor’s Business Daily and Reuters in addition to Bloomberg, Fox Business and Motley Fool. The team crafted specific pitches that resonated with individual reporters and used timely news hooks that warranted a conversation that went beyond the numbers. For example, Reuter’s Nichola Gromm’s article, “SunPower backs view on strong rooftop solar demand, Biden policy support.”
Bateman’s role included prepping the CEO (both Tom Werner and Peter Faricy) and CFO (Manu Sial) prior to the earnings call with financial analysts to ensure they were ready to address any controversial topics that were taking shape in the media. To help establish Manu as a bonafide resource, Bateman worked with him in between earnings cycles to raise his profile with higher-tier business outlets, which resulted in coverage in publications such as Kristin Broughton’s article in The Wall Street Journal, “Green energy companies hope for renewal of tax credit national plan after election”
Overall, Bateman secured 4-6 in-depth articles per earnings announcement, including multiple appearances on CNBC’s Closing Bell in which the overall solar industry, federal policy and trends such as climate change were discussed. Specifically, SunPower CEO discusses Texas power outage and its impact on his business and SunPower CEO says the future is bright for renewable energy during Biden's administration.
Additionally, the team used breaking news like the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act and the election of Biden to secure opportunities to comment on the impact of these historical events on the solar market, securing coverage in outlets including CNN Business, Solar CEO is relieved next president isn’t a climate denier.