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Public Utilities System Brand Positioning

Key concepts: Energy • Branding • Telephone Surveys (CATI)

A public utilities system in the South wanted to determine its brand positioning among residential customers and needed to measure residents’ level of knowledge and awareness of deregulation issues. The company turned to Saurage Research to recommend and develop the market research plan.

Over a two-year period, Saurage Research conducted telephone surveys tracking the company’s positioning and performance of key service lines—electrical, water, and sewage—on several attributes, such as reliability, cost, and customer service.

RESULTS: It was determined that, customers’ familiarity with deregulation was very low and did not affect their perceptions of the utilities system. Furthermore, the research revealed that consumers use different criteria to evaluate electrical, water, and sewage service showing the need for different message strategies for each service line. The research findings were used in developing an ad campaign to help residents better understand the complex utility franchise fee proposal and its impact on utility costs.

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