Yes, energy companies must care about their brand • Guest Blog
By Anthony Capkun
September 9, 2020 – We know that the turbulence of our times is unprecedented. We know that the pandemic has upended every single facet of our daily lives; not least our jobs, our health, our society and our hopes for the future.
We also know that in these craziest of times, there is nothing—and I truly mean nothing—more critical than being able to communicate effectively with the major actors in our lives. Finally, we know the same applies to business.
Without effective communication, we cannot develop proper relationships; whether with peers, employees or critically, our customers.
History has shown us, time and again, that the most successful brands are the ones that seize the opportunity to tell powerful stories that delight, motivate and challenge their audiences. What’s more, they strive to inspire them to trust in the brand.
A miraculous achievement, don’t you think?
That a consumer, stakeholder or peer can form a strong opinion of a company and develop loyalty to them based purely on their perceptions of the brand’s image? But why doesn’t this happen in energy? Why shouldn’t it?
Critically, Covid-19 has provided a lens through which the challenge of branding, marketing strategies, consumer engagement and stakeholder management has become more focused than ever before. Companies must engage in storytelling to build brands but sensitively manage their tone to ensure that they engage but do not alienate their customers. But how does an industry market when its products are seen as commodities?
Some question why energy companies should even care about branding in the first place!
I appreciate that marketing energy is different from marketing Coca-Cola. Firstly, we cannot leverage the same emotional triggers that mass consumer products rely upon to sell soda cans at scale. What we can do, however (and what I have been working with energy companies through the Charge conference to achieve), is build an understanding that we can apply traditional brand theories and established marketing principles to shape perceptions, behaviours and attitudes.
The key difference in energy lies mainly in the complexity of the system between generator and user.
We take the accessibility of energy for granted, much like the air we breathe. Still, we know that the intricate connections that allow electricity to pass from a power station, to the grid and on to the consumer are vastly more complex than nearly all over the supply chains.
The incredible challenges of demand management, not counting digitization, deregulation and decarbonization, can only be overcome if energy companies communicate effectively with all their stakeholders. Brands are the starting point for all communication, for all marketing, for all lobbying and end-user sales. But, indeed, energy companies are only just waking up to this!
That’s why Charge exists. We have so much to learn, and so little time to learn it in. We know that without active brands, energy companies cannot serve their stakeholders, so there couldn’t be a better time to join us and be part of the awakening of the energy industry. Join us to build better, more successful companies. Join us to engage your customers. Join us to tell stories, to learn lessons and takeaway essential best practices.
Just, join us. I hope to see you at Charge Virtual 2020.