As we approach CHARGE Energy Branding North America (June 1-2 | The Royal Sonesta Houston TX), we’ve been asking our top speakers and partners to reveal their approach to branding in energy.
In this article, we speak to Andreya Shaak, VP of Product Management for VertexOne.VertexOne is the recognized leader in SaaS platforms for utilities and retail energy companies across North America. Through a range of meter-to-cash solutions—including Customer Information Systems (CIS), Mobile Workforce Management (MWM), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and Digital Customer Engagement—VertexOne helps utilities and energy retailers deliver a compelling customer experience, reducing their costs, increasing operational efficiency, and improving customer satisfaction.
The interviewer, Dr Fridrik Larsen, is the founder of CHARGE Energy Branding.
What lessons have you learned about simplifying complex concepts/technologies for branding and communications?
Tailoring the message to the client audience is key. Different energy retailers and utilities want varying degrees of complexity – whether it be a certain product offering that requires in-depth calculations/pass-throughs, multiple integration points that tie proprietary systems together, or a straightforward sales agent commission calculation.
At VertexOne, we are committed to providing support and tools that cater to different retail back-office environments and business strategies. Where technology, and even retail energy, companies get it wrong is trying to create a singular message for a multitude of clients. Whether it be a new industry start-up or a seasoned energy company looking to migrate systems, VertexOne has an offering that best suits a diverse set of technical, operational, and financial requirements, and we market our systems and services as such.
What impact does ESG have on brand identity now, and how important will it be in the future?
Currently, environmental, social, and governance topics are popular talking points, yet many companies struggle to build an authentic brand identity that encapsulates both the purpose and impact of these considerations. However, as an energy technology partner, the conversation is that much more relevant for us to put into action. Whether it be through engaging our team members in candid conversations about their personal purpose, developing sustainable technology tools for our energy clients to take to market, or considering impactful investment opportunities, VertexOne is committed to driving purpose throughout all aspects of our business.
This evolution in brand identity is critical today but will become even more imperative as energy companies consider their strategic plans while the core areas of their business continue to shift towards an ESG-focus.
For example, attracting top and diverse talent will necessitate policies that promote inclusion alongside health and wellbeing initiatives. If energy retailers are seeking acquisitions, they would be wise to prioritize a relevant brand identity as “support for social and environmental proposals at the shareholder meetings of U.S. companies rose to 32% in 2021 from 27% in 2020 and from 21% in 2017,” according to the Sustainable Investments Institute.
Lastly, evolving regulations and customer demand trends will require brands to adopt products and procedures that promote social/environmental impacts, working against a rapid timetable that encourages energy companies to get ahead of the curve.
How are digital innovations now helping to prove a brand’s green/clean/ESG credentials and provide ongoing accountability?
Marketing and an online presence give any company the opportunity to “walk-the-walk” from an environmental, social, and governance perspective. Assuredly, companies can publish a laundry list of core values to their website, but the key to authenticity is using digital innovation to share the “why” and the “what” that follows those statements. VertexOne is committed to making visible, actionable changes internally and sharing those initiatives publicly.
For us, it is critical that we don’t just make grand commitments, but that we also have the mechanisms in place to measure our performance against these commitments. The same goes for the energy companies and utilities that we work with. We have made a point to embed measurable outcomes and performance tracking in our suite of solutions. With clear metrics of success at your fingertips, you no longer have to wave your hands or rely on vague statements regarding your brand’s green/clean/ESG credentials. Selecting a technology partner that provides this transparency in outcomes will undoubtedly put your organization on a path towards assured accountability.
To what extent do you think a corporate culture impacts a brand from the employee’s perspective?
Ensuring alignment between the employee’s personal perspective with the company’s culture and vision is crucial for engagement-driven impact. VertexOne is an employee-first environment which directly empowers our teams to provide superior service to our clients as a result. Likewise, a culture that fosters innovation and creativity prospers in evolving industries like energy deregulation where problem-solving through technology is a core competency.
What new developments in or outside of energy do you believe will be most influential in the transition to customer-centric energy ecosystems?
As energy companies continue to receive an influx of information about their customers, their ability to use that data in a transformative, secure way will be paramount. Segmentation and targeting, two initiatives fueled by customer data access, enables retail energy companies to intelligently identify the ideal customer for a particular message, product, or campaign.
Security is the second piece of the puzzle, especially as consumers recognize and become concerned by the volume of their data that is being shared. Working with a secure and reliable technology partner takes the guesswork out of ensuring your customers’ information is safe, ultimately enabling the retailer to focus on the marketing and sales aspect of the consumer or business relationship.
VertexOne is the recognized leader in SaaS platforms for critical business processes of utilities across North America. Through a wide range of innovative services and solutions—including the VertexOne Complete™️ SaaS Solution for Utilities comprised of the Customer Information System (CIS), Mobile Workforce Management (MWM), Meter Data Management (MDM), Digital Customer Engagement and Customer Self Service, and now the addition of WaterSmart solutions and services—VertexOne helps utilities more efficiently deliver a compelling customer experience; reducing the cost to serve customers, increasing operational efficiency, improving customer satisfaction, and driving utility operations forward. VertexOne takes on the heavy lifting of keeping current with the rapid pace of technology changes through our VertexOne Complete™ SaaS offering, so utilities don't have to—leaving our customers more time to focus on core utility business while leaving the technology to us. For more information, visit https://www.vertexone.net.
Amber Brown, VertexOne – (214)-576-1090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.