Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
CASE STUDY: The Take Charge campaign supports Victorian energy consumers to take control of their energy bills.
Following an independent review of the energy retail market in Victoria, the state Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), commissioned an energy consumer campaign to encourage increased use of its independent comparison website, Victorian Energy Compare (VEC).
Energy remains an area where consumer literacy is low, trust in the industry is low, and prices appear to be rising in ways out of step with decreasing consumption. Consumers feel disempowered by confusing marketing, complicated pricing, and a homogenous product offering. And as an essential service, they are denied the opportunity to simply exit the market altogether.
What the energy consumer wants is to regain control, to “take charge”.
DELWP wanted to show Victorians that it was possible to do so. Working with Ellis Jones, we together developed a campaign to encourage the Victorian public to compare energy offers and switch to better plans — lowering their bills, and through informed, empowered participation in the retail market, in turn placing further downward pressure on energy prices.
Underpinned by a detailed understanding of energy consumers emotional and functional needs, Ellis Jones created the campaign strategy and creative concept for the Victorian Government’s Take Charge energy consumer campaign.
Applying established behaviour change models, the strategy is premised on four pillars:
(1) normalising comparison behaviours from other consumer choices to energy offers
(2) moving from consumer pains to gains
(3) promoting use of VEC in times when energy choices are more likely
(4) providing feedback that serves to validate the choice to compare and encourage others
To raise awareness among broad mainstream audiences, channels included a mix of mainstream TV commercials, radio, and digital media. These are combined with more targeted digital display, social and content marketing — designed to speak to audiences segmented by their particular motivations for engaging with energy costs and promote more direct action: use of the Victorian Energy Compare website.
Launched in January 2018, the Take Charge campaign is being measured regularly to track awareness and engagement outcomes, including against social impact measures defined by Ellis Jones with DELWP. The mid-point report for the six month campaign has revealed that awareness of Victorian Energy Compare has grown and that message cut through has been successful. During the campaign, awareness of government energy comparison tools doubled, and the campaign’s key message, that energy consumers can save on bills by comparing energy providers, was successfully communicated. 75% of Victorians understand that they can save money, and 73% understand that they could compare energy providers by using Victorian Energy Compare. Over 1 in 5 Victorians (22%) recall seeing the Take Charge campaign across television, radio or digital. Additionally, the universality of the campaign was effectively demonstrated, leading to 64% of LOTE and CALD Victorians stating that the campaign is relevant to them. This success can be drawn down to the use of plain and accessible language, and diverse casting.