With stories of cities and towns ravaged by natural disasters permeating the news, many companies are working on solutions to problems such as the lack of clean drinking water. One such company is EcoloBlue, which is based in Pacheco, California. The company has developed technology that converts water vapor in the air into liquid water, which can serve many purposes, including drinking water and water for daily uses, such as bathing and washing. The company primarily manufactures smaller units for homes and offices, but its technology could offer a solution in situations where clean water is scarce. Heather Jepsen, Vice President of Operations, shares the company’s story, including how its products have been marketed and how it is gaining recognition in an industry that doesn’t always immediately embrace newer technology.
Filling a global need
EcoloBlue was founded by two men who noticed a global need that they felt they could help fill. Jepsen states, “Co-founders Wayne Ferreira and Henri-James Tieleman started EcoloBlue back in 2007. At that time, they saw the great global need for clean potable water, water that could be created from the air, free from contamination. Their other major concern was plastic bottle waste. Plastic does not decompose, so what could they do to help prevent this problem? Again, the answer was water taken from the air in small to large volumes where people could fill reusable containers and stop plastic bottle use. Also, this process could save people a lot of money by not having to buy bottled water all year long.”
Spreading the word
Selling new technologies can be difficult, because regardless of how much that technology can save you in the long run, many potential customers don’t see beyond the initial costs. To combat this, Jepsen says that the founders of EcoloBlue worked hard to build the company’s reputation by word of mouth. “Social media and word of mouth played a big part in the marketing of the product. In the early days of the company, advertising in the form of direct industry, specific radio show advertising made a large impact in brand recognition and sales.” Word of mouth and direct marketing is especially effective in fields where educating the clientele is necessary.
When a need is not a need
Jepsen states, “One of the largest hurdles has been the recognition of the atmospheric water generation technology itself. This I believe is an industry-wide problem, as many consumers have not yet been educated on the technology and its benefits. This also results from the fact that many government and regulatory organizations do not even have a category for this technology yet. As a result, it can be difficult to get recognized as a potable water source and have the water quality officially compared to municipal water. This has been an obstacle in getting the technology recognized as a comparable water source.”
Other startup businesses can learn from EcoloBlue by tailoring the business’s message to the audience. By knowing your target market, you can build your word of mouth and start educating people on how your company can help them.
This article was written by Alaina Brandenburger for Small Business Pulse