Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) is a public body established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council to promote the interests of energy consumers and deliver better outcomes for them. We were approached, as part of a joint venture with Essential Media, to create a brand that would help it:
- Stand out in a crowded landscape of advocates who have been active for many years.
- Be seen as the consumer voice next to the AEMO, AEMC and AER.
- Promote the interests of residential and small business energy consumers.
- Establish a reputation as an authoritative organisation known for making evidence-based arguments.
- Be recognised for collaborating with, and helping build the capacity of, the energy consumer advocacy community.
We also had to consider that the energy industry is going through the most profound change it has seen in its history with such issues as changes in generation mix, new technology enabling consumer choice, desegregated decision-making, and more.
Initially we undertook telephone interviews with key energy figures from industry, consumer advocacy groups, jurisdictions, and market institutions. This was followed by an employee workshop and an in-depth deskbound study of peer organisations. The research helped us discover current perceptions about the ECA brand and its market position, identify its personality, key audience personas and their current interactions with the brand, as well as how we could reach and engage these audiences in the future. All perspectives and considerations were thoroughly assessed before going ahead with the development of strategy or visual identity design.
As is often the case with a new market entrant, we had to find a clear point of difference for ECA, one that would make stakeholders sit up and take notice. The energy market already has the AER, AEMC, and AEMO (the ‘three pillars of the energy market’) plus numerous groups advocating for specific energy concerns. To those outside the industry, many of these organisations appear similar, if not the same, so it was important to make ECA’s purpose very clear, to any stakeholder. The research we undertook gave us a clear picture of what was missing in the market, and that ECA’s point of difference could fill that gap – representing the voice of the consumer.
Once we knew this, we could clearly articulate its purpose: To enable the voices of consumers to be heard so their interests are reflected in market outcomes. And from this one central statement, we were able to create a brand strategy that reinforced it, through such things as its personality, benefits, BBQ spiel, or the tagline ‘Your voice heard’.
This strategic approach to helping ECA find its voice then allowed us to take a very cerebral approach to the visual identity. We experimented with ways of visualising a voice through ‘invisible acoustics’ which could give physical form to consumer voices. We studied the biology of the ear to see how sound is received and interpreted. And we analysed soundwaves to see how they morph and converge. Eventually we all agreed on a waveform logo subtly shaped to represent the voices of the country’s people. A gradient rainbow colour runs through the shape to represent all types of people and all types of energy. It was supported by a clear, black wordmark that reflects the organisation’s factual, influential and rigorous approach to its work. The logomark was underpinned by a series of graphic devices that reconstitute one of the logo’s elements to emulate the theme of the communication they represent.
We have had fantastic feedback from our client, as this statement shows:
“BWD took us through a comprehensive process to develop our brand strategy and the ECA team were impressed with the focus on our organisations’ objectives. The end result completely evolved the way we present ourselves to our stakeholders and the outside world. The brand strategy included a fresh look and feel, plus a completely new way of approaching corporate communications material. Our new branding and logo was on show for the first time at our annual conference, and stakeholders made many positive comments about how it put our professionalism and reputation in a brand new light.”