This article first appeared on the CHARGE website.
As we approach CHARGE Energy Branding Week North America (March 22-26), we’ve been asking our top speakers and partners to reveal their approach to branding in energy.
In this article, we speak to Philip Guiliano, Partner at BrandActive. Philip has over 20 years of experience defining and delivering complex solutions for global clients and is a speaker, facilitator, writer, and board committee member for multiple organizations.
Philip will be joined by representatives from Lippencott, Green Mountain Power and Rhythm for a panel “Rethink energy brands to supercharge growth” on Monday (3/22) at 10:20-11:05 Central, before leading a workshop at 2pm. The workshop “Drive better business outcomes and save on budget through marketing and operations efficiency gains” promises to help marketing leaders globally boost efficiency to save money, maximize impact and strengthen business performance.
The interviewer, Dr Fridrik Larsen, is the founder of CHARGE Energy Branding.
What do you think are the main challenges for energy companies when it comes to branding and communication?
The answer to this depends on what type of energy company you are and where you sit in the energy supply chain. Generally, making the case that brand matters is a trend we still see with many of our clients. The reasons why vary for different kinds of companies. If you are an up-stream, mid-stream, or services related B2B company – many of whom get the largest amount of their revenue from a small set of key customers – executive management places more focus on customer satisfaction and retention than they do on brand. If you are a utility company or another direct-t- customer entity, many of those customers don’t have a choice but to use you. So – why does brand matter? Energy marketers need to think outside of traditional brand metrics, although if presented well, things like enterprise value, brand equity, and other traditional metrics can be highly meaningful. Regardless, brand plays an important role inside and outside of the marketing function in terms of cost effectiveness, operational efficiency, trust, employee attraction and retention, and call center volume. Clearly, effective branding produces real, measurable business outcomes.
We still see a lot of companies spending too much money to manage multiple brands in a decentralized way. They may have grown through acquisition, or their internal organic growth didn’t include a cohesive brand strategy. Many disparate brands were created, and now all of need to be managed and marketed. Many companies facing these situations have strategic, cultural, and ownership challenges related to brand and communications. Central brand management, if it even exists, lacks a centralized management and control model to reduce direct costs, improve resource efficiency, and speed up time to market. This holds true even in situations where those brands remain separate from the corporate brand. The business case for centralizing certain things (processes, systems, vendors, agencies, etc.) is very compelling – and actually empowers decentralized brand execution.