Although power companies keep the lights on, they are often in the dark when it comes to the benefits of marketing their brand. That’s because the majority of the time a homeowner can’t control who provides their power—it just depends on the location of their home.
Then why bother putting money into advertising, let alone a fully integrated marketing campaign?
Well, because as customers are becoming more conscientious about energy efficiency, utility companies are beginning to provide products and sustainable services that customers can use regardless of which grid is on their block. Not to mention the importance of positive customer satisfaction when it comes to rate cases. Therefore, brand perception gives as much power to your company as the electricity does.
In 2018, FirstEnergy Solutions (the generation portion of FirstEnergy) declared bankruptcy in order to shift the company to being strictly a deliverer of power, products and services. The goal for FirstEnergy was to reorganize its brand to better support its customers while keeping up with contemporary economic concerns. This shift FirstEnergy’s business model called for messaging that matched. That’s where we came in.
At Mower, we understood the goals that FirstEnergy was pursuing and identified the two main tasks at hand. The first was communicating to customers FirstEnergy’s continued commitment to providing safe, reliable power. The second was to educate customers on the innovative ways FirstEnergy is serving them through new products and services, as well as investing in updating aging infrastructure.
To promote these goals, Mower prescribed and executed a fully integrated marketing campaign where we shifted the brand’s messaging toward a company comprised of people with a passion for serving their community. The campaign educated customers on the products and services that enhance their quality of life while improving the quality of our planet.
Mower’s integrated campaign kept customers’ positive views about their utility company consistent, and it even raised positive perceptions in certain areas where it can be nearly impossible to maintain (let alone increase) these numbers while a company is still bouncing back from bankruptcy and building new brand messaging.
Between 2018 and 2019, three-quarters of customers maintained the feeling the company was trustworthy, responsive and caring. The campaign increased the percentage of customers who think the utility cares about customer safety and provides a range of helpful tools and support like being responsive to requests, questions and power outages, as well as providing information about how to be safe around electricity.
Awareness of the products and services that FirstEnergy provides, and understanding of their purposes, have grown since the campaign was launched, leading to an increase in product purchases—a present struggle for many power companies as they compete with home service stores and other energy marketplaces.
Nearly seven in 10 customers agree that FirstEnergy offers products and services that promote sustainable business practices, and six in 10 agree that FirstEnergy helps customers use electricity more efficiently. Needless to say, the campaign developed First Energy’s reputation for being a responsible corporate citizen and a leader in innovative solutions to protect the environment.
Companies need their customers to have accurate perceptions about the companies’ intentions. Our campaign resulted in a large decline in the perception that profit is FirstEnergy’s main priority and an increased perception that their top concern is their customers. Overall, there have been significant continuous gains in the belief that FirstEnergy is improving customers’ lives, strengthening the community and making the environment better—FirstEnergy’s top intentions.
Keeping the lights on
Mower is proud to be a part of maintaining and increasing positive perceptions and engagement for FirstEnergy. We know there’s power in perception, and we’re here to keep the lights on—for grids around the globe.
This article originally appeared on the Mower blog; reprinted with permission.