Channel the frustration – into energy savings

Client: Vectren

Vectren brought Shelton Group on board to build its brand. They wanted their million+ customers to like them – a lot – and they thought a new emphasis on their energy efficiency programs would help. We couldn’t agree more. We created a series of ads around the tagline “Avoid Bad Bill Reaction” that captured all the frustration and horror utility customers feel moments after opening the monthly bill. The premise? Vectren knows what its customers are feeling and wants to help them avoid the monthly shock. The campaign helped Vectren make quite an impact – energy savings jumped up, and so did Vectren’s J.D. Power score.

Client Challenge

Foster customer goodwill via energy efficiency programs – and a different approach to messaging that would overcome the tendency of customers everywhere to blame their utility for high bills.

Shelton Strategy

Instead of taking the usual utility tact (tell customers they’re lucky to have some of the lowest rates in the nation), we wondered what would happen if the utility admitted they know the problem – many of their customers get 12 unpleasant surprises a year – and then stepped up to help change things. Avoid Bad Bill Reaction was born.

Critical Tactics

  • Print Ads
  • Digital
  • Outdoor

The Payoff

The campaign drew customers in with a relatable scenario – plus a healthy dose of humor and transparency – that no one expected to see in a utility ad. Then it followed up with prescriptive steps to help them take control of energy costs. To pack even more power into the punch, we placed ads in family restaurant bathroom stalls, on grocery store carts and on gas station pump toppers to drive home the point that Vectren could help them help their budget.

By the end of the campaign, 68% of Vectren’s customers could recall a specific rebate program or tip unaided, and, more importantly, they took action and participated in rebate programs. The kicker: Vectren’s J.D. Power score jumped 25 points from #12 in the Midwest to #8 in just one year.

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Laila Waggoner

VP Client Engagement

Laila leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results – and clients’ satisfaction. She brings 25+ years of marketing leadership experience to her client relationships, with particular expertise in the homebuilding and remodeling industries as well as member-driven organizations, such as the Vinyl Siding Institute and Plastics Pipe Institute. Before joining Shelton Group, she led strategic marketing teams for Owens Corning’s insulation business.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

VP Finance and Administration

Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.