February 9, 2015

Tips for maintaining brand compliance in energy utilities branding

Energy utilities branding has been a hot topic over the past few years because of M&A activity and the need to increase operating efficiencies. The energy utilities industry covers a wide array of products and services, ranging from exploration and drilling to wholesale, midstream, distribution, retail and energy related services.

What’s interesting about energy utilities branding is how complicated brand architectures can be. Due to the brand equity of each company being acquired, the new parent company will often combine the subsidiary name with the parent company name. We’ve even seen new logos developed for acquired businesses that incorporate visual elements from both companies. This makes brand compliance difficult in energy utilities branding.

Whether M&A activity leads to the marriage of two brands or a completely new brand, the following are tips to maintain brand compliance for energy utilities branding after a merger or acquisition:

  • Have a plan in place before the energy utilities branding process begins, spearheaded by the brand management team
  • Automate the process of purchasing energy utilities branding materials to minimize or eliminate human errors using brand management software designed for the types of branded assets you have (e.g., vehicles, signs)
  • Insist on proper security so that brand management software is only available for use by approved personnel
  • Use strict version control to ensure that only the latest brand compliant materials are available for energy utilities branding
  • Make sure the brand management software has both color and black & white versions of each brand treatment and graphics kit to avoid confusion

I strongly recommend automating the process for energy utilities branding because our clients rave about how much easier their jobs have become after online purchasing portals were put into place. The automated systems eliminated key pain points. For one client, it freed up two employees solely responsible for manually ordering materials to do other work. By automating the ordering of brand compliant materials, employees in several departments who were trained on the software could hop onto the system and quickly place orders for their departments as needed. The client was able to streamline the process by allowing employees in need of branded materials to place their own orders, drive purchases to the appropriate budget, and maintain brand compliance. During the next acquisition, the brand management software allowed our client to focus on other aspects of the acquisition without putting unnecessary time and effort into ordering brand compliant materials. Why waste the energy?

Screen shot AGL Nicor page blurred

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