How do you create a brand from scratch for an established business which has grown rapidly through acquisitions, but never been customer-facing? This was the challenge myself and my team faced about 18 months ago. Awareness of the AMP plc brand was low, which was unsurprising given it was, in effect, a ghost parent company which owned a number of customer-facing biomass fuel supply businesses including Forest Fuels, Billington Bioenergy and Midland Wood Fuels.
So why did we decide to rebrand in the first place? The rationale was that we needed to bring all areas of our businesses together under one brand which encapsulated who we were. We represented so much more than just the market leading biomass fuel supplier. Our work funding and developing a range of low carbon heat assets, as well as supporting the intermittency of renewables through our Urban Reserve flexible electricity plants, needed to be part of the AMP story too.
We took both a bottom-up and top-down approach to rebranding and sought the views of our employees and customers. This included unpicking who we were, what defined the business and what were its unique selling points. This was vital to develop an authentic brand personality which resonated with all our key audiences.
We appointed the amazing team at The Marketing Pod to help us facilitate the rebranding process and ran a series of brand workshops to try and get under the skin of our business. There were some common themes which emerged which were that we were trusted, customer centric, reliable, accountable and honest. Criticisms included that the business was stuck in the 1990s and was a poor communicator. We then undertook qualitative customer satisfaction research to validate the views of our employees to ensure that they chimed with customers.
In addition to creating a brand personality, core to any rebrand is proposition development and customer experience. We began by properly defining our products and services which included holding customer focus groups to ensure that our proposition was striking a chord with our audience.
Nine months and umpteen rebranding activities later, AMP Clean Energy was launched on 16th December 2018. One year on, it’s been reassuring to see that the core of the brand and its values remain the same. Many colleagues tell me that they feel that our customer proposition and breadth of services has become much clearer, making the business more customer focussed and professional.
Ultimately, it’s what our customers think that matters, and our annual customer satisfaction survey is great for taking a temperature check. I’m pleased to say that AMP Clean Energy has invested heavily during 2019 on the key business areas customers had previously identified as in need of improvement which included better communication, better quality biomass fuel and improved delivery times. We want to, and will, do more in the coming year.
Of course, brands are constantly evolving and that is particularly true at AMP Clean Energy. The business spots and reacts to emerging opportunities in the ever-evolving energy market. We’re on a journey and our brand is not just about today or tomorrow but where we ultimately want to get to in the next three to five years. For someone who lives and breathes brands, I’ve loved every minute and I am proud of what we’ve achieved in a short space of time. As we work towards a net-zero future, it will be fascinating to see both how the energy system evolves, and where our brand journey takes us over the coming years.