March 17th, 2010
The philosophy and relevance behind brand development has proven to have utility across a wide and diverse range of interests. Brands distinguish organizations, churches, teams, industries, destinations, associations, events, museums, causes, institutions, politics, clusters, professions, movements, buildings, and the arts, one from another, when services offered don’t.
It should come as no surprise that the utilities sector – electric, water, and fuel are utilizing the power of brand to humanize the service, build trust, attract employees, educate consumers, establish value, reveal what has been perceived as hidden, and define a new engagement with consumers. Utility Companies must embrace brand or risk ceding their long established position to competitors or alternative solutions.
A utility brand is not a new method of spin, a mere communications roll-out, or another dangling carrot incentives program. A brand is a competitive advantage that defines, differentiates and strategically aligns and positions the utility to clarify credibility, reliability and value in a meaningful and powerful demonstration, one corporate decision, and one customer touch point at a time. The utility brand does not live in the marketing department but rather serves as a strategic infrastructure throughout the organization, guiding all C-level, departmental, operational, and customer service judgments, consistently delivering the promised purpose and values. A dynamic utility brand is only as powerful as it is accountable to deliver.
Thriving brands focus on innovating solutions and connections that attest to their significant relevance and sincere commitment. A non-traditional pilot program in Canada provoked awareness and engaged consumers by allowing energy users to fit their consumption to peak and non-peak times. In the end, customers were empowered to shift their patterns of consumption, impacting their carbon footprint, benefiting the utility, and reducing consumer costs. This win-win approach spurred 78 percent of the consumers to vote the pilot program into stable existence, less than 20 percent wanted to revert back to the traditional pricing plan.1
When was the last time that you aligned your decision making values with the shared concerns and interests of your customers for mutual utility?
1 Ontario Energy Board Smart Price Pilot “Backgrounder: Ontario Energy Board Smart
Price Pilot.” Ontario Energy Board. July 26,2007.