After years of effort and investment, many utilities are launching new websites that do double duty as information hubs and powerful marketing and brand communications platforms. Site redesigns can be pricey and labor-intensive, but the payoff is worth it.
In the past few months we’ve seen a handful of utility website redesigns hit the market. These overhauls have a similar look and feel: more white space, a simpler visual impact, and an emphasis on customer programs and services. All of these changes create a more amenable platform for marketers to reach customers with evolving products and services. Improved home-page designs also produce a cleaner platform for high-impact visuals like full-bleed imagery to convey brand feel and set the stage for high-impact storytelling.
Utilities are redesigning their websites with simpler layouts, more white space, and high-impact visuals. Tweet this!
Utility websites used to lead with process and procedure, burying promotions behind layers of complexity or crunching them among overwhelming visual cues. This “kitchen sink” approach to web content reigned because utilities wanted to appease internal and regulatory stakeholders. But the real website end users—customers—couldn’t find guidance on how to make their water heaters more efficient so their own kitchen sinks could save them money. Let’s just say it wasn’t a great time for product marketing and brand storytelling.
Brevity is tough. It took some hard-won battles and major commitments among teams of communicators, web designers, IT and customer insights professionals, marketers, strategic managers, and others to get here. The website redesigns featured below are the result of years of work within utilities to understand their customers’ needs, wants, and expectations.
The industry needs to continue to hone this focus to remain relevant in an ever more competitive energy landscape. It’s no longer about presenting everything all at once; it’s about having the necessary insights to lead with the best information in an elegant, simple way.
So, what does this look like in practice right now? The most-lauded products, services, and education topics on recently updated utility websites include a combination of:
- Paperless billing
- Online start, stop, and transfer service
- Payment assistance options
Other noteworthy elements on the home page include:
- Social media feeds
- Renewable energy plans and news
- Brand journalism and local storytelling
Below we compare before and after images of four utilities’ website redesigns. These examples show the website transformations, product marketing tactics, and brand storytelling shifts we’ve seen in recent months.