Category Archives: CHARGE Energy Branding

Winners of the 2018 CHARGE Awards

EON, Powershop, Ekwatuer, Fingrid and Virta announced as World‘s best energy brands

Reykjavik 25 September 2018 – The world’s best energy brands were announced last night in Reykjavík as part of the CHARGE Energy Branding conference – the only event in the world dedicated to brand building and communications for the energy space.

Best Established Brand: EON
Best Challenger Brand: Powershop
Best Green Brand: ekWateur
Best Transmission brand: Fingrid
Best Product Brand: Virta

Each brand won their respected category after being shortlisted by an international panel of professionals working in and around the energy sector. The winners in the retail categories were the brands with the best-combined score from a customer research as well as a score from the panel. Winners of Transmission and Product categories were chosen by the panel.

What the panel had to say about the winners

EON: “A Bold Energy Giant – massive investments into business transformation. Seem to be living the brand/business/technology transformation happily and successfully, both inside the organisation and outside communicating and launching new products/services.”

Powershop: “An innovative, disruptive and incredibly well-executed brand. The brand is highly engaging, innovative and is very cohesive as a challenger brand. The brand is very clever and transcends electricity as a low involvement commodity into a highly engaged consumer brand.”

Ekwateur: “… built a very sensitive customer care strategy. Community management, testimonials, communication tools are important parts of the global company strategy. Their segmentation is very precise and well executed”

Fingrid: “Very good brand, with good core messages, innovation and customer-centric, a national monopoly with exceptional consumer focus and outward vision.  Logo and signature are clean and smart. ”

Virta: “Brand has a very clear direction and a strong presence in a way that is accessible to consumers while giving a strong sense of reliability and trustworthiness. A clear effort made to communicate with consumers is a carefree way that develops high engagement and great user experiences. ”

Dr. Fridrik Larsen, founder of CHARGE Energy Branding: “It was an even competition this year with strong cases from the finalists. But the winners delivered excellent case studies and there were some strong indications of the excellence of the finalists when we reviewed the customer surveys for the retail energy categories in the EBBI benchmarking tool. It’s great to see that the energy space is fully aware of the benefits of branding and the finalists and especially the winners set the bar for the rest of the industry.”

About the Charge Energy Branding Conference 

The annual CHARGE Energy Branding Conference is the world’s first knowledge and networking platform on energy branding. As an international event strategically located between North America and Europe, CHARGE aims at leading the global conversation on communications in the energy and utility sectors while drawing attention to issues of sustainability, innovation, and the consumer-centric experience. The conference is a hub for decision-making, networking and researching about energy branding as an emerging field.

What to expect at the CHARGE Energy Branding Conference

It’s hard to find many conferences which offer inspiring keynotes from executives about branding in the energy industry, professionals giving insightful presentations on energy industry branding case studies or conferences which focus on how branding will determine the future of the industry and which companies will survive the changing times. It’s hard because CHARGE Energy Branding is the only venue in the world with a focus on branding in the energy sector. A hub of new ideas for energy where people from all over the world meet and discuss best practices.

The summer is here and CHARGE Energy Branding is just under 4 months away. We have already announced a majority of the speakers that will give invaluable insights at the Harpa Conference hall in September. We have been able to recruit visionaries, thought leaders and successful professionals from electric utilities, energy retailers, established incumbents, venture funds, non-profits, design, advertising, branding, marketing and communication.

Click the player below to hear testimonials from some of last year’s participants and have a glimpse of what was going on and what to expect from the CHARGE Energy Branding experience.

A shared language for smart energy

We focus on helping the energy industry to communicate efficiently with the tools of branding. An obstacle for the energy industry and the clean energy industry is to translate highly technical terms into a relatable language. It is a challenge for an industry focused on engineering and innovation to communicate to people outside the sector but it can also be a challenge for people within the industry to communicate with people in other sectors of the industry and for different systems to speak a common language.

“If smart integrated energy infrastructures should make sense, it is necessary to find a standard language […] used in residential installations so that different systems can seamlessly communicate together to exploit any surplus or loss of energy throughout the smart energy system between energy producers and distributors.” Benny Hansen, ABB

Smart Energy and the Smart City are not only the concern of vendors and city officials but require the participation of regular people, the end customer. The democratisation of energy with distributed generation and prosumers are only an example of how Smart Energy is much more than smart lighting and smart thermostats. The Clean Energy Industry is becoming aware of the interplay between marketing and energy in general and energy company branding in particular.

A CHARGE Energy Branding event will take place in Copenhagen on the 25th of May, focusing on how we can create a shared language to communicate smart energy. A smart language that is easily understood by stakeholders within the industry and outside of the industry. The event is one of many utilities and energy events related to the Nordic Clean Energy Week and is one of the events that take place in the Energy Experience in Nordhavn.

Speakers

Dr. Fridrik Larsen brings a theoretical angle and practical experience on how a common understanding of simple words is important and why branding energy creates value for all stakeholders.

Jane Mortensen, City & Port – Copenhagen Municipality brings the perspective of the owners/ municipality on effective communication.

“In collaboration with City, Suppliers, Technicians and Development, the Energy Lab Nordhavn demo platform has succeed in creating synergy between the diverse partners and testing new technology in new city areas”. – Jane Mortensen

Kristian Honoré from HOFOR has the perspective of the Energy Planner. He has the experience on how different energy forms play together, the challenges and how a common understanding can be important for integration.

”In the EnergyLab Nordhavn project SMART energy services and innovation is deliberately challenged by daily operations, legislation and resilience – and vice versa – to pave the way for new and realistic solutions and products”. – Kristian Honoré

Rune Kirt from KIRTxTHOMSEN brings examples of how to create a common language in complex energy tech and clean tech projects in research and development.

“Innovation circles in energy are long and costly. High technical complexity and many stakeholders/partners in early R&D often lead to a lack of shared understanding. Customized visualizations can make everyone on the same page fast, thus bridging the gap between technology and business, engineering and management, ideas and money. Aligning key stakeholders from early stage and throughout the process”. – Rune Kirt

Martin Gammeltoft from Activity Stream is experienced in working with clear and accessible communication. He will share stories on what works in communicating technical language to many different external stakeholders.

Where: Energy.Hub Nordhavn (Directions)
When: Friday, May 25th at 9:00 – 10:30

Attendance is free but registration is required through the form here.

 

 

 

A Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Imagine that in 30 years, sales of energy will become a small part of the value created by energy and the image created by energy production would create just as much or even more value.

Energy can become a valuable ingredient in nation branding. Nation- or place branding is a difficult task since it is about finding something that is unique for a country and millions of people can align themselves with. This brand essence is something that visitors to the country should experience and products originating from the country can use as a frame of reference in their branding.

CHARGE Energy Branding held an event recently in Reykjavik regarding Iceland as a country brand and a country of origin for brands. The subject of the event was Sustainable energy and Competitive advantage. It was the first of smaller events related to CHARGE Energy Branding. These events are meant for local business communities and energy clusters to discuss specific topics related to their operations. The next event will take place in Copenhagen on the 25th of May. The subject of the event is Creating a shared language for Smart Energy – to accelerate Green Transition. Further information and registration can be found by following this link.

The aim of the event in Reykjavik was to bring together people from different corners of the Icelandic economy to discuss energy branding and how the image of Iceland as a country of clean, renewable energy can increase the value of products and services in Iceland. Could the sustainable image of Iceland be a competitive advantage for Icelandic companies?

What is a Competitive Advantage?

Michael Porter coined the term Competitive Advantage in 1980’s. The term refers to what it is that makes goods or services superior to all other choices customers have. Porter considered there to be three determinants of Competitive Advantage, Benefit, Target Market and Competition. Success is determined by how good you are in articulating the benefit to the target market and convince them that the benefit is better than the competition.

For a company to succeed, it must create clear goals, strategies and operations to build a sustainable competitive advantage. Corporate culture and the values of employees must align with the goals.

For a nation to create a sustainable competitive advantage, it would require a push from every stakeholder and unite them under the same values and goals. To discuss the potential were representatives from the office responsible for the image of Iceland abroad, a branding expert from an advertising agency, aluminium CEO and a seafood CEO.

The event was presented and moderated by Dr. Friðrik Larsen, CEO of LarsEn Energy Branding and the Chairman of CHARGE. He opened up by saying that nation branding is a choice but by choosing not to brand, people are choosing to waste one of the most valuable naturals resources.

First to present was Inga Hlín Pálsdóttir from Visit Iceland. She talked about the strategy of building the country brand Iceland. Visit Iceland was initially focused on building the nation brand in relations to tourism but then started to include Iceland as a country-of-origin-brand in their marketing message. Energy is a large factor in the image of Iceland with 97% of foreign visitors agree that they are positive towards the use of renewables in Iceland.

Viggó Örn Jónsson, creative director of Jónsson & Le’macks looked at the possibilities of leveraging Iceland’s renewables in the nation’s image even further in the story-telling of the nation brand of Iceland. He stated that products that use terms such as Organic, Fair Trade and Sustainable have become the luxury products of the Western World. International household brands are starting to look more closely at every aspect of their value chain to make sure that every link can meet the demands of consumers today. Iceland has a unique opportunity to become a luxury brand through storytelling. “We have this magic island where everything is powered by 100% clean energy people use volcanoes to heat their homes and power their kitchens”. But the challenge is to create a simple, clear story that everyone, cross-sectors, can tell. In Viggó’s opinion, everyone is selling the same product – the image of the country.

Next up was Ragnar Guðmundsson, CEO of Norðurál which is part of Century Aluminium. Ragnar’s company proudly states that they make the World’s Greenest aluminium. Just as Viggó pointed out – big global brands are looking at every way to green their value chain. While he makes the greenest aluminium in the world – it is hard for large global brands to make such claims since there is not yet a branded gold (or aluminium) standard for green aluminium. A green stamp of origin for aluminium is being developed and Ragnar hopes that within two years, aluminium producers will be able to differentiate their product and create a competitive advantage with the source of energy as a branded ingredient.

Guðmundur Kristjánsson gave the last presentation. Guðmundur is the CEO of Brim Seafood, the largest seafood company in Iceland. Guðmundur pointed out that there are many things that other sectors could learn from the Icelandic seafood sector. And indeed, he is correct. Iceland is one of the few countries in the world with sustainable fishing stocks – due to the transferable quota system. As Guðmundur pointed out – 30 years ago the country would fish twice the amount of today. Today, however, the revenue of the fisheries is twice the amount it was 30 years ago when the quota system was implemented. Instead of throwing away by-products and just keeping the fillets, the fishing industry is utilising every part of the fish caught and is not focusing only on fish as a food product. Fishing in Iceland has become an innovative high-tech industry that is not only focusing on the core commodity.

For energy, it might be put this way: Iceland is today throwing away an image that energy production produces just like it did with various parts of the fish 30 years ago.