Regardless of what prompts your energy company to rebrand, one thing is certain: doing so will be both complicated and costly. Key stakeholders at your company (and the market) will watch closely to see if the rebrand is carried out on budget and on time. Chances are, they will also be looking for early indicators that the rebrand investment seems to have been money well spent. Of course, a thoughtful rebrand should yield long-term growth that won’t be fully realized for years to come. (Those long-tail gains likely played a big role in the decision to rebrand in the first place.) But it’s still possible to measure the early success of a rebrand in terms of its initial return on investment (ROI).
Maximizing the ROI of your energy company’s rebrand has everything to do with how economically you implement the rebrand — and the broader operational efficiencies you gain in the process. Your marketing leadership team has the ability to steer the rebrand in a way that facilitates full ROI. To do it, your team will need to step up as operational leaders of change and form a centralized and strategic hub for all rebranding activities.
What is rebrand ROI?
When we talk about measuring the ROI of a rebrand, we typically think of it in terms of this simple equation:
Market return + operational efficiencies – cost = ROI.
Market return refers to all the ways your rebrand might generate growth for your company. It could be to control a bigger base of regulated utility revenue, or to diversify/better compete in emerging energy sectors, such as wind, solar, or distributed energy management, or other drivers. This piece of the puzzle can be challenging to predict with accuracy. However, if you’ve made the decision to rebrand, then you likely have some compelling indicators that there is sufficient market opportunity to merit the investment. The analysis of market return is outside of BrandActive’s purview. Your brand strategy firm will likely provide you with an educated point of view on this part of the equation.
The cost of the rebrand, on the other hand, can be predicted. Developing an accurate, optimized rebrand budget is, of course, key to keeping costs in check and maximizing impact. There are also specialized strategies and thoughtful ways to decrease this investment without sacrificing time or impact.
But that’s not all. Thoughtful rebrand planning also allows you to identify bigger-picture synergies and operational efficiencies that can be realized across your organization as part of the rebrand or integration.
These two pieces of the equation, costs and operational efficiencies, are the ones you can measure and control. The more skillfully you manage costs and identify new efficiencies, the more likely you are to realize the full ROI of your rebrand. Optimization is the name of the game.
Energy company branding: maximize the ROI of your rebrand
To begin, you will need to make a business case for how and why marketing will lead the rebrand (and that depends on your energy company’s structure as well as the specific catalyst for rebranding). Your goal should be to act as the center point for rebrand activities, bridging all operational areas with the goal of minimizing internal impact, streamlining the implementation process, and being as cost-effective as possible. Remember, far from simply overseeing the shift in brand guidelines, your role is proactive and distinctly operational in nature.
The following 5 actions are critical to realizing the full ROI of your rebrand:
- 1. Plan early and thoroughly. Ideally, implementation planning begins as soon as your energy company starts considering a rebrand. Cost analysis and scenario modeling should help guide your early decision making and set the stage for creating an optimized budget and aligning expectations.
- 2. Get a handle on branded assets. Energy companies own and deploy an enormous number of branded assets, from heavy equipment and fleets of vehicles to uniforms and digital assets. Get a handle on all your organization’s branded assets and develop a customized plan for transitioning them. Use these guidelines to assist your initial audit:
- Depending on your budgetary constraints, consider starting by rebranding the roughly 20% of assets that make up 80% of overall impact. In the case of energy companies, that might mean starting with vehicles, signage, digital properties, uniforms, and any other public-facing assets. (At some energy companies, there may be relatively few externally facing branded assets.)
- Take advantage of existing operational and maintenance cycles when rebranding. For example, you can save money by waiting to rebrand your trucks or other heavy equipment during regularly scheduled maintenance intervals.
- Save money by neutralizing branding in low-priority, low-impact assets. Start by assessing which assets truly need to be rebranded; neutralize or rationalize the rest. For example, do you really need to rebrand a piece of equipment that spends the majority of its time inside a drill shaft?
- Take some time to reconsider any major assets that aren’t already branded. Those with high impact potential should be branded.
- 3. Create an optimized budget. An optimized budget isn’t just being thorough in identifying line items and accurate in forecasting overall costs. It allocates rebrand dollars wisely, maximizing impact and minimizing costs. In addition, optimized budgets:
- Include specific decisions around resourcing and processes to implement the rebrand. For example, you should dictate exactly what your new signage will look like, including a timeline for completion and which vendors to use. Internal confusion around the nuts and bolts of a rebrand’s implementation leads to wasted resources. An optimized budget leads to clarity and internal alignment.
- View process efficiency as an element of budget efficiency. Optimized budgets don’t just identify costs. They actively seek to cut costs without sacrificing quality.
- Make room for calculated upgrades. For assets with the highest visibility and impact, it may make sense to spend a little more for better quality. Signage is an example of where companies may choose to invest more.
- 4. Assess your vendor strategy with an eye to efficiency. Depending on the size and organization of your company, you may now work with several dozen vendors for signage alone. Achieve higher consistency and greater economies of scale by rationalizing your branded assets and consolidating your vendor network. Plan to get multiple bids as part of this process, and don’t forget to take both cost and timeliness into consideration.
- 5. Reduce operational and maintenance costs. Rebranding represents a unique opportunity to reassess the way your energy company handles all its operations. Take advantage of this opportunity by identifying ways your processes can be streamlined or made more efficient. Where can you reduce costs? Where can you gain synergies and efficiencies?
When you think both strategically and operationally, create a good plan, and then implement it diligently, your rebrand work can provide signficant returns well into the future.