Toronto Hydro Exceeding Expectations Under a Tight Timeline

Toronto Hydro

The Situation

The “new” Toronto Hydro was created in response to deregulation in the energy market and the resulting increase in competition. To remain competitive within the expanded playing field, six utilities (one of which was the original Toronto Hydro) amalgamated into a single entity, forming the second-largest utility in North America. The Toronto Hydro name was chosen for the newly formed company, and a corporate identity created to launch the energy giant.

The Challenge

Once the amalgamation deal was completed, the Toronto Hydro leadership team decided it was critical that the new brand be launched quickly. Timing was tight, with the public launch taking place just four weeks after approval of the new brand. Adding to the complexity caused by the time pressure was the existence of six operating companies and unions, all of whom were included in the launch planning and execution.

The Solution

The first priority for BrandActive was to gain maximum visibility for the brand within a brief window of opportunity. For internal audiences, tactics included the execution of new screen savers on all employee computers, as well as new, safer hard hats for all field workers. For an attention-grabbing external launch, we contracted and coordinated eight paint shops to rebrand as many vehicles as possible for the public unveiling of the new identity, showcased in a parade past the provincial parliament buildings. The vehicles were distinctively branded with the green and yellow brand colors—a significant departure from the previous white trucks. The decision to take a more expensive approach to branding the fleet was taken after BrandActive quantified the media value in comparison to the incremental cost involved in the departure from the previous vehicle standard.

Building off the momentum created by the high impact launch, BrandActive formed workgroups with representatives from all six utilities to determine an approach to key branded assets—including templates and printed matter, work wear, and the larger vehicle fleet, taking into account critical union input regarding safety concerns involved.

The Results

The “new” Toronto Hydro brand gained awareness quickly as a result of the high-impact launch. Furthermore, engaging the workgroups and building consensus regarding the rebranding of key assets, helped facilitate operational consolidation.

BrandActive was instrumental in getting a plan in place while working under extreme time constraints. The employee and public unveiling came off with a precision that exceeded the executive team’s expectations.

Former Vice President, Operations, Toronto Hydro
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