Ameren Illinois: Focus Your Energy

The Challenge

Ameren Illinois had a sneaking suspicion they weren’t sending the right messages about their energy efficiency programs to the right customers. They hired Shelton Group to figure out how to maximize program awareness, so we set out to devise and execute new messaging, starting with a customer survey and a new value proposition for their programs.

The Insight

Our survey dug into customer awareness of existing programs, how likely they would be to use specific ones, and what messaging and media would motivate action. We realized how many Ameren Illinois customers thought their homes (most of which were 50+ years old) were already efficient. No wonder they turned a deaf ear to their utility’s efficiency communications. If they heard from a new voice – not their utility talking at them about programs – they’d tune in … especially if that new voice were an actual customer describing how Ameren Illinois had helped her save energy and money.

The Solution

Jumping off from our survey results, we defined the customer benefits of Ameren Illinois’ programs and honed in on the best language for communicating those benefits. The benefits together suggested a story about the value of the programs: once customers realized they needed better efficiency, they could trust Ameren Illinois to help them achieve it.

We interviewed residential and business customers who’d taken control of their energy use through Ameren Illinois’ energy efficiency programs, capturing their honest responses, situations and interests. Audiences listening to and reading these customers’ stories found that they could relate to their former energy woes – and realized that Ameren Illinois was ready and able to help them achieve similar successes.

Our TV videos, print ads and banner ads directed viewers to the campaign microsite we created. The microsite featured the testimonial videos, outlined the types and amounts of rebates each customer received, and supplied energy-savings tips for residential and business customers. The open, friendly tone and design helped visitors connect more personally with the stories, and with Ameren Illinois, before they were funneled from the microsite to Ameren Illinois’ flagship efficiency website to sign up for programs.

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