Solis

Rethinking solar

Solis's founders originally wanted to build solar-based consumer products, to boost health and socioeconomic development in frontier markets from the bottom-up. We worked with Solis from their founding to build a narrative and product base that could give them relevance in Africa and across the world.

Work Type

/ Ideation

Idea

The Solis founders' initial idea was to build solar-based products for the then 1.3 billion people living off-grid in Africa and South Asia, for which they built their first solar lantern prototype that utilised USB charging. Despite its USB versatility, health and medium-term economic benefits, Solis struggled to get the right price point for their low income audience who lacked access to credit and had already built a distrusted for solar lanterns from experiences with poor quality East Asian imports.

Evidence

We based our work with Solis on two assumptions: that there were popular industries and activities in more developed markets, for which sustainably powered products would be relevant; and that there was a burgeoning interest among Western millennials in products, stories and brands from the 'majority world'.

What We Did

We identified the European outdoor and festivals markets as another target audience, and identified those in the latter, alongside those in the Solis' original market, as being particularly likely to resonate with a 'globally connecting' brand mission. We worked with Solis to overhaul their early narrative, visual identity and product design language, to reposition them as an aspirational brand aiming to transcend regional and socioeconomic borders. We created industrial designs for three new products, which were robust enough for specific scenarios that included camping, hiking, cycling, and muddy music festivals, as well as more rural settings in frontier markets. We also rebranded Solis and built messaging that aligned with their new purpose, mission and audiences.

Solis’ mission to globally connect resonates with the more socially conscious, globally aware millennial generation, and their products are distinctly designed to appeal both to the urban thrill seeker and un-electrified rural consumer.

More Work

My Future Africa

Made in Africa Foundation

My Future Africa

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