for water and waste water agencies
Increasing Trust, Support and Investment
What is a Brand?
A strong brand clearly expresses who you are and what people can count on from you. By clearly communicating the value that your utility provides, you will increase trust and support from policy makers and the community. Trust and clarity about value are vital when asking for investment in water resources, public health, and infrastructure.
Why Does My Utility Need a Brand?
Because utility agencies are typically monopolies and arguably do not have competitors, the importance of developing a marketing and branding strategy is often overlooked. Without competitors, why do utilities need marketing?
The truth is that utilities are competing - they are competing in their communities for investment dollars in the form of rates or other fees. Building a strong utility brand will help your utility build trust and secure investment in a narrowing market of available funds.
Why Does My Utility Need the Utility Branding Network to Help Build Our Brand?
In many cases, utilities do not fully understand the principles of branding and why building a strong brand is a powerful tool for increasing trust, support, and investment. This means that branding is generally not a strategic priority.
The Utility Branding Network, established in 2007, is designed to help water and wastewater utilities better understand the principles and benefits of branding, and help utilities build strong brands. The Network leads an industry dialogue that focuses on the following important topics:
- Building and maintaining utility brands.
- Understanding and mitigating the effects of negative branding
- Fostering regional cooperation on utility branding and communications.
- Removing barriers to utility brand building.
- Improving the brands of municipal drinking water, recycled water, biosolids and soil amendment products.
Network StaffingThe Network is administered under the National Water Research Institute. Services and support are provided by branding expert John Ruetten, President, and co-founder of Resource Trends, Inc., a strategic marketing firm dedicated to increasing investment in concerns that enhance the environment and improve the management of natural resources.
- Jeff Mosher, Administrative Director, is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Network's activities. He is also Executive Director of the National Water Research Institute and has over 20 years experience working in the water industry at agencies such as the WateReuse Foundation and Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.
- John Ruetten has over 18 years experience in managing product development teams. Within the water industry, he helps individual utilities define and build their brands and works with regions to develop cooperative brand-building programs. He was the lead investigator on the WateReuse Foundation project addressing public perceptions of indirect potable reuse, and is the author of Building the Water Utility Brand, which was published by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies in 2006.