TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best utilities/communications: Genesis shines bright

The Challenge

The electricity market is a crowded one, with new competitors popping up left, right and centre. This makes it understandably di cult to have customers choose your company, when all power companies sell the same commodity – electricity. Brands tend to compete on price and have had few ways of differentiating themselves in the market.

Genesis was no exception, and had been steadily losing customers for a number of years. And, as the largest electricity retailer in New Zealand, it had been the target of its major competitors as well as smaller challenger brands.

Various campaigns were launched to steady and boost its customer base, but nothing seemed to hit home. The Genesis brand was perceived as old-fashioned, staid and boring. 

The Response

Despite Genesis’s aged perception, behind the scenes it had transformed, developing a pipeline of products and services that would make a real difference to customers.

So, to show this change, Genesis relaunched in 2017, transforming itself from the inside out by gaining a more customer-focused purpose.

There were several stages of the relaunch. The fist was to test out its new technology on its customers, partnering with 100 homes for its Wairarapa Local Energy Project trial. It then revamped its customer experience in both a digital sense as well as its call centres. And finally, it re-developed its brand and communications. As part of this it took on the tagline “Genesis. With you. For you” to throw light on its more customer-centric approach.

Genesis first relaunched to its own staff, using them in an internal video that featured at all the launch events. Then it pushed out its new brand and creative to customers and ultimately to the rest of the country, to a great reception.

Its launch ads showed how power was put back in the hands of the consumer. One advert released featured a customer called Dave who managed his energy needs from a smartphone and made money from selling solar-generated power back to Genesis.

Genesis also put a new focus on building loyalty with existing customers, rather than acquiring new ones.

Its ‘Home Movers’ campaign in early 2018 made the same o er to new and existing customers. And its ‘Power Shout’ initiative rewarded customers for their loyalty and collaboration. 

The Result

It takes time to turn around a large and established brand, but in the months that followed, perception of the Genesis brand moved from old and stale to innovative and future-focused.

Since the launch, customer churn has been on a declining trend. In April 2018, churn was 18.8 percent, three percent below the market average, and a full seven percent lower than the high of 26 percent in May 2017.

Nine months after the re-launch, its net customer losses significantly improved, retaining 7,500 more customers than it did the year before launch.

In just the first half-year post-launch, in two respected corporate reputation studies, Genesis had improved significantly. The Colmar Brunton Rep Z Index showed Genesis rising seven places to 13th in New Zealand, overtaking Mercury as the number one energy company in the country. And in the RepTrak Index, published by the Reputation Institute, Genesis rose eight places to be the 5th most reputable brand in New Zealand.

While it wasn’t an easy feat, Genesis sure showed what could be achieved when a company puts in all its energy.

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