Each utility’s PowerBrands Score is made up of four core brand value drivers that positively reinforce each other – brand identity, corporate narrative, customer experience and employee experience. Each brand driver is made up of multiple evaluation criteria that are weighted uniquely to fit the dynamics of the energy sector.
Brand Identity: In general, brand identity consists of the brand’s visual and verbal identities, which together give a brand its unique personality. Evaluation criteria include maintaining branding consistency across channels, as well as owning a differentiated identity that has marketplace appeal, credibility and meaningfulness. In the energy sector, the importance of credible and meaningful branding is greater than for other sectors because the offering itself – electricity – is amorphous.
Corporate Narrative: A strong corporate narrative matters more for energy companies today than for most other businesses, given the sector’s evolving landscape and the need for energy companies to be clear in what they stand for. Evaluation criteria here include the clarity of organizational purpose, key messages, relationship with parent company (if any), and how the brand chooses to connect its business strategy to its customers.
Customer Experience: Customer experience is at the core of utility brand interactions. From outage management experiences to the customer service associated with setting up and terminating service, there are several core experiences that a utility offers its customers through technology, process and people. In addition, utilities often have programmatic services that may be accretive or dilutive to the overall customer experience. Lastly, we live in a digital world. Anyone can see how their utilities are performing, from individual customers providing feedback on Yelp or Google to systematic rating agencies like J.D. Power. Because these scores tend to influence the way in which a utility is perceived, these are among our evaluation criteria.
Employee Experience: The most compelling brands are those that succeed in being both customer- and employee-facing. For the utility sector, we see this brand driver being in a state of flux, as longtime utility employees are retiring in significant numbers and new talent is being sought to not only fill the ranks but also bring new skills to the organization. Evaluation criteria here include employer ratings, employee engagement activities, corporate culture and corporate awards.