Saturday, May 18, 2013

Branding Update
May 20, 2013

Simple Concepts, Big Change

Although there are subtleties to branding and it takes experience to implement a competent branding program, the principles are fairly simple. After all, it’s not profound to say that a water utility should provide water reliability and protect public health, or that the utility’s staff needs to be trusted with respect to planning and finances. However, there is a big difference between these ideas being very familiar and successfully building trust with policy makers and the influential public. For example, you won’t build a reputation for efficiency unless you systematically share information about efficiency improvements with target audiences. Similarly, building a strong financial brand requires being transparent with respect to financial motivations, standards, and decision making.

Ultimately, the biggest challenge for utilities is that implementing a branding approach usually involves considerable change, typically with respect to the information they share and the community relationships they strive to create. Success requires an appreciation for the substantial benefits of branding, which in turn fuels a commitment to do things differently. The positive outcome is a sizeable change in how the utility and staff are perceived, and a more dependable process for securing investment and rate increases.

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