22nd December 2020

The evolution of energy copywriting

Anna Fozzard

Just a few years ago, ‘being green’ was a badge of honour reserved for those building a grand design complete with solar panels, living walls and ground source heat pumps. Or the cash to buy a Tesla. But today, thanks to evolving energy infrastructure, a reduction in clean energy costs and growing public awareness, we’re all more empowered to make more environmentally conscious decisions.

With new market entrants and pressure on long-established providers to adapt, competition in the energy sector is heating up. A lot is riding on communications and energy copywriting to help brands stay relevant and retain customer trust as the following factors come into play.

A shift in sustainability

Green credentials are moving from being a ‘nice-to-have’ benefit to becoming a must-have. There has been a significant rise in sustainable alternatives for everything from our energy supply to the clothes we wear and the food we eat. Sustainability is increasingly front of mind for consumers. And most brands, from the small, local players to the international giants, are responding by weaving eco-efforts into their marketing messages. So, if almost every company seems to be toeing the same line, how can brands stand out from their competitors?

Stories.

All businesses are on a sustainability journey – there’s always more work to be done. By bringing this journey to life through interesting and relatable stories, companies can craft engaging energy copywriting messages that stay in their customers’ minds.

Ever-increasing competition

With new entrants like Octopus and Bulb entering the market, larger companies are going to need to up their game. It is increasingly difficult for consumers to be impressed by messages from The Big Six that they’re doing their bit to help the UK to become carbon neutral when the likes of Ecotricity were established with that very reason at the core of their offer to customers.

At the same time, it is easier than ever to switch energy provider, with penalties in place for providers that make leaving difficult. Consumers are becoming more discerning about their provider and will quickly switch if a new entrant better suits their values.

To regain trust lost, larger companies will need to highlight their size and heritage as an advantage. And they’ll need to translate precisely what this experience and knowledge means for the customer. This ‘so what?’ could be superior service levels, support with managing bills, help with boiler maintenance and additional services like boiler insurance.

New starters need to build trust from the ground up. But they can afford to be a little more daring with their energy copywriting, by utilising tone of voice and branding to set them apart from others. Leading with their mission and purpose in the energy sector will also bring like-minded customers to them. We’ve seen this strategy being adopted by Bulb with this opening line on its homepage:

“Making energy simpler, cheaper, greener.”

A succinct message with well-chosen words can be all it takes to demonstrate a brand’s values.

The demand for transparency

The cost to shift to cleaner energy is expected to reach $16 trillion over the next decade – an investment that many would agree is worth making for the future of our planet and communities. Although reports suggest that wind and solar energy are costing 30-50% lower than forecast, it is difficult to predict the level of energy prices in the future. We could see price hikes to recoup the initial investment in clean energy or face similar volatility that we already see in the oil industry due to supply and demand.

Any change in price that isn’t going down is always going to be a tough sell to consumers. We believe transparency will be vital. Businesses that take an honest approach will be the ones that bring consumers along with them on the journey. This honesty needs to come through in more than just the annual results and latest price change. Companies in the energy sector need to be open and clear about the way they’re organised, how they protect staff and their plans for the future – all of which feed into the sustainability of a business.

Leading the way

The onus is on energy companies and the government to lead the charge when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. For this reason, they need to be on the front foot, and competition to be a thought leader within the sector will be high.

We see energy copywriting becoming increasingly insight focused. Businesses should take every opportunity to position themselves as front runners. The ones that succeed will be the ones with a consistent stream of articles and whitepapers that touch on the critical industry issues. Using a combination of owned and third-party pieces will create a rich pool of content that’s both insightful and authentic.

Our specialist energy copywriters have helped many companies in the sector zero on in the right message to win trust and create brand distinction. Take a look at our energy experience and get in touch for guidance on using explicit and engaging content to become the front runner.