Brand Transformation project: case study on First Utility by Big Hat Marketing


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The brand transformation journey of First Utility (independent energy provider) reviewed as a case study

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Brand Transformation project: case study on First Utility by Big Hat Marketing

  1. 1. First Utility: Transforming the brand to create stand out and a clear call to action The Client: Headquartered in Warwick, First Utility is the UK’s largest independent energy company. Positioned as a challenger brand to the “the big six” competition, it launched in 2008 with a competitive price point and a smart meter offering. The Challenge: Working as the Head of Digital and Customer Marketing, I led a number of initiatives for the business including a project designed to transform the brand in keeping with changes to the energy market. This ran in parallel with updating the website design, site architecture and content. Engagement of the consumer in the energy market is still largely driven by price and is shortly followed by corporate reputation or brand credentials. Whilst First Utility was able to compete on price, this was becoming increasingly costly as the brand was not as well-known as its competition. Sustainable cut through in a cluttered market was urgently required to help First Utility meet with its growth ambitions. The challenge was to reposition First Utility and create a unique and believable brand proposition that would deliver cut through. The Result: Originally, First Utility was started by a team of business entrepreneurs who wanted to empower consumers through the utilisation of technology in the energy space. They felt strongly that the energy market was archaic and had outdated practices that resulted in consumers getting an unfair deal. Their goal was to challenge the status quo and offer a fairer, cheaper, and smarter way forward – “Smarter Services for Life.” After immersing myself in the business and reviewing the energy landscape I determined that the desire for an energy supplier who did things differently was even more relevant in today’s economic climate. "I’m fed up with hearing about energy suppliers and their big profits but feel stuck with mine Switching is T. 07904972864 | E. | W. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved (Page 1)
  2. 2. such a hassle and I’m not convinced that there is an alternative. They’re all the same aren't they?" With this insight and the development of the First Utility brand essence as being consumer champions and technology visionaries I began to set the strategic path for a brand transformation that would impact the website and content, social media platforms, display advertising, third parties, customer comms, internal/external branding and collateral. In collaboration with our marketing agency (OTB) I defined the unique territory for the First Utility brand by creating the simple, bold positioning statement ‘First Utility. There is a better way’. This represented a confident brand keen to show consumers that there really was an alternative to the “big six” - one that would campaign on their behalf for speedier switching, increased competition and would give a “Price Promise”. To solidify this position and truly own the space a full colour palette review was also conducted to visually create a stand out from other energy suppliers. After consulting with the Executive team I proposed that we drop the blue and adopt a contemporary purple and grey palette for the logo and introduced a powerful suite of consumer centric images that would be used for the website, customer communication and advertising. The new look First Utility brand launched internally on time and to budget with a bang one week before the website which went live on June 25th 2013. From this date onwards the old branding was gradually retracted and guidelines for internal and external direction were provided to keep the transformation on track. Employees who were key to the transformation received branded give-aways and the new colour palette and imagery was reinforced by giving the Headquarters and London office a vibrant facelift. The brand now has a very clear, single-minded proposition founded in a true consumer need which was born from First Utility’s vision to be a genuine alternative to the dominant “big six”. The transformation vision I provided for the brand continues to grow today and as it has deep routed foundations which have been bought into by the entire organisation will no doubt continue to go from strength to strength. T. 07904972864 | E. | W. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved (Page 2)
  3. 3. Images before and after: Identity evolution – Colour palette and logo Old and new website Employee internal launch T. 07904972864 | E. | W. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved (Page 3)