With news that Apple has created an energy subsidiary reverberating throughout the energy sector in the past week, power providers need to quickly figure out how they could market their services like the tech giant.
Apple has notoriously been known to make a splash, a big splash actually, in any market they enter, and energy should be no different. With amazing technological access to consumers through Apple TV, HomeKit, iPhones, and Watch, Apple can push notifications and foster a new form of two-way energy communications with its customers in ways utilities simply can’t rival. That means utilities must embrace creative marketing and new touchpoints as well in order to stay in front of customers who have a growing list of power choices thanks to advances in renewables, distributed networks and energy storage devices. (check out this 2015 fuel cell patent Apple filed to power its MacBooks "for weeks" and an earlier design for generating electricity from a wind turbine despite no breeze).
Apple Energy LLC., the name of the energy subsidiary, may be a foreshadowing to Apple providing direct charging power to its devices, including those stemming from Project Titan, a not so secret Apple electric vehicle (EV) initiative.
So if Apple gets approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to sell renewable power directly to consumers at retail prices, it could turn the utility industry on its head and market to loyal, Apple followers and users via its smorgasbord of Apple devices. This possibility, I mean reality, that Apple will sell excess renewable energy to consumers, should prompt utility managersto explore creative ways to reach customers and keep their message simple and fresh, things Apple is a pure master at.
Most millennials don’t generally look at utility companies as trendy or hip, but they do when they think of Apple. Therefore iterating energy innovation and generating new branding focus and content that millennials can easily access, understand and want to share with their friends is key for today’s utility companies whose business models must look to evolve.
Maybe it’s time utilities should adopt Apple’s famous “Think Different” slogan internally when it comes to their own energy branding and digital content marketing. Here's to the new crazy ones!
Think the energy world needs a new marketing approach? Agree or disagree? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.