By Philip Wilson, MTC Creative Director
Phil writes about his experience tackling a tough marketing challenge for a large utilities company when he worked on the Ramey Agency’s creative team.
One of America’s largest energy companies, a utilities company with 15,000 employees that mainly services southern states, recognized they needed to address the burgeoning negative sensitivities of their customers. This is not a unique problem. Most utilities companies are not beloved by their customers. After all, energy is an unavoidable mandatory need, they have to pay an energy bill every month and energy costs keep going up. So as far as customers are concerned this is just one more opportunity for a huge corporation to regularly rip them off.
So how did we help our large energy client persuade their customers they weren’t the “bad guys” when the trust factor was low – and how did we do it for them with a limited budget? Our proposed solution was to create a social media campaign which would require very little media spend.
Our client recognized that having a non-functioning facebook page that would be there just for the sake of existing would not achieve their goal. They understood they needed to actively engage their customers if they wanted to change their hearts and minds.
The solution we proposed was to have a facebook charity contest since the company was actively involved in charity work through its entire territory but very few of their customers knew this.
The campaign we created promoted charities in each of the states in which the company operated by awarding grants based on votes from customers on the company facebook page.
The results were outstanding. Not only did this top utilities provider create a new facebook fan base but the number of fans grew astronomically. Plus, based on customer comments and postings, this campaign worked to make everyone feel much more positive about the company.
In conclusion, utilities and other energy companies would be smart to be active social media marketers. Used creatively and strategically this type of online rapport-buidling can help turn around even the most hardened negative perceptions.