The energy landscape is shifting rapidly. And consumers sense it. A changing climate. Deregulation. Smarter energy. And competitive threats from new technologically savvy companies. Smart thermostats, residential solar panels and voice-controlled energy management systems and technologies are grabbing public attention and leaving the traditional energy companies behind.
American Electric Power wanted to shift public perception from a faceless utility to an innovative energy provider their customers can trust. This challenge gets even larger when you consider AEP provides electricity to more than five million customers, through seven regional operating companies in eleven states. It’s a broad market.
It was time to illuminate the human part of AEP’s story and rebuild relationships with their consumers and communities by showcasing the “Boundless Energy” AEP has for improving the lives and livelihoods of the people they serve.
We started the process by listening all across the country. In each of AEP’s operating regions, we interviewed dozens of stakeholders and consumers. We conducted a broad segmentation study and analyzed data from all of AEP’s digital channels.
Our primary insight? The future of energy means something different to every individual. Those differences are tied to their geography, their culture and local economies. One national ad couldn’t possibly speak to all of AEP’s customers. For AEP to truly connect, it would be critical to focus on the ways they were improving people’s lives in each of their communities.
Our strategy was to leverage these local stories to reposition the brand.
This was the spark for AEP’s Boundless Energy campaign: a fleet of micro-campaigns bound by one cohesive purpose: to provide a brighter future for customers and their communities.
Stories of empowerment came directly from employees, generating a wealth of personalized content: four 30-second spots for each of the seven regional operating companies.
From building hydropower on the Roanoke River to supporting Native American healthcare in Tulsa, Oklahoma, each spot shows how AEP is making a measurable difference. And each spot was delivered to the audiences that cared most – the local ones.
We auditioned hundreds of people to find the most authentic storytellers and traveled directly to their towns and cities to capture their stories. The result? The unique voices of AEP’s customers and employees shine through in each ad.
And with our content and media team involved since day 1, we delivered major cost savings. That meant executing and serving up 45 unique spots in 2 languages – along with thousands of still images from each of their markets. A highly efficient use of AEP’s budget.
A 37% increase in overall brand perception. A 32% increase in purchase interest. And a 36% increase in their likelihood to recommend AEP.
Sometimes the best way to energize your brand is to speak directly – to all of your customers.