How do you position an
energy company as an ally to
their customers and a rival
to their competitors?
How do you position an energy company as an ally to their customers and a rival to their competitors?
Four Ontario utility distribution companies were coming together to create a new player in the North American energy arena. This was not another round of consolidation; it was a glimpse into the future of Ontario’s energy sector in a fundamentally fragmented category. To help establish a foothold and ensure success in a highly saturated energy sector, Ove needed to develop a brand strategy, name and visual identity system for this new entity.
Ove delivered a new brand identity including the name, Alectra, that reflected the bold, leadership nature of this new energy player. One year after the brand launched, the City of Guelph voted to merge Guelph Hydro with Alectra. The decision speaks to the early successes and strength of the new brand, proving to rival the very best energy companies globally. The merger brings Alectra one step closer to reaching its goal to be “Canada’s leading integrated and innovative energy solutions provider by 2025.”
Transitioning to be a global player
The way power gets generated, transmitted, distributed and consumed is changing and is attracting new global players to the energy sector. To act on opportunities in a disrupted industry, the brand needed to support the organization’s growth strategy and evolution of its portfolios, both locally and beyond borders.
Transitioning from services to solutions
Collaborating closely with representatives from the four legacy companies, a newly formed board, and key stakeholders, we developed a brand strategy, new name and visual identity system to transition the company from one that offers energy services to one that delivers energy solutions.
The process of developing the brand strategy was an opportunity to galvanize and engage the organization’s senior leadership team around a new raison d’être and corporate purpose. It also allowed us to get direct input from employees through an online brand and values survey. Building off of the purpose, vision and values, we developed a brand framework that included a brand promise, positioning statement and personality.
Always an ally
The in-depth discovery process led to the insight that customers wanted an ally to partner with as the world of energy transformed, and that they placed a great deal of trust in their current utility providers. This insight was the foundation for the brand promise, which is to help all stakeholders benefit from new energy sources with an emphasis on value, service and simplicity, while building confidence in the face of change. This promise manifested in the customer-centric tagline “Discover the possibilities.”
Brand expression that says it all
To be a true ally, the newly created brand had to humanize what is generally seen as a faceless sector. It needed to earn its customers’ trust and confidence and also project an image of a future of possibilities. Alectra, the Greek word for “brilliant”, did just that. Alectra said it all, human, electricity and future-focused. The name was unanimously approved by internal stakeholders, and it passed cultural linguistic testing with flying colours.
To build on the name, an equally powerful identity system was required to deliver the brand promise. Alectra was leading the way to a friendlier future in energy. The logo, a flag, became the symbol for this advancement. The name, the flag motif and the decision to use a brilliant green, all culminated in a visual brand expression that celebrated the future of possibilities. The final step was establishing Alectra’s tone of voice. Alectra had to be an ally in every interaction through all circumstances, with all stakeholders. To ensure all communications were guided by the same principles, in collaboration with the Alectra team, Ove developed a communication guide outlining what each audience should think, feel and do as a result of interacting with Alectra.
One year after the brand launched, the City of Guelph voted to merge Guelph Hydro with Alectra, folding under the Alectra brand. The decision by the City of Guelph was based on a year of industry research, financial analysis and community engagement.
The resulting company, Alectra, is now the largest municipally-owned electric utility in Canada by customer base, and the second largest of its type in North America after Los Angeles. The strategic intent of being Canada’s leading integrated and innovative energy solutions provider by 2025 was supported and brought to life through a new brand strategy, name and visual identity system.
- Internal and External Audience Research
- Brand Strategy and Positioning
- Brand Portfolio and Architecture
- Brand Identity Design
- Naming and Nomenclature System
- Visual Expression and Design Systems
- Co-branding Applications
- Marketing Communications
- Signage and Wayfinding
- Fleet and Uniform Brand Conversion