1999 F 4
ENERGEX needed to utilise its 1997/98 Annual Report as a key tool to communicate a new and aggressive corporate image as a strong player in the national deregulating energy market.
It also needed to demonstrate structural changes to underpin a new customer focused organisation.
Primarily targeted to its shareholders and business customers, the objectives were to:
- reinforce the new ENERGEX corporate image
- portray ENERGEX as a customer focused organisation, underpinned by the necessary structural changes
- position ENERGEX as a genuine long term player in the energy market
- position ENERGEX as a good corporate citizen.
The challenge was to prove ENERGEX was becoming the dynamic market player and customer focused organisation it had promised with its name change 12 months previously.
The strategic approach was to use key relevant themes and strong content sections to ensure reader understanding. Implementation was successful based on a well planned and thorough process.
Feedback from customers, shareholders and market research results indicate the Annual Report achieved its objectives.
At the end of 1997 ENERGEX changed its name (from the previous SEQEB) to create a new corporate image to meet the challenges of a deregulating national energy market. The name change was part of a larger plan to strategically position ENERGEX as a key player in the competitive national energy market and included structural changes and new business ventures.
The name change and new focus, including a promise of customer benefits, had been promoted during the name change launch campaign and followed up in the 1996/97 Annual Report.
However, there was a need with the 1997/98 Annual Report to cement the image of the new ENERGEX and its customer focused structure, primarily to its shareholders and business audiences, in preparation for further deregulation and increasing competition in the market.
The public affairs challenge was to communicate that ENERGEX:
- had successfully completed its transition to a more competitive organisation
- was a customer-focused organisation
- was a strong and dynamic player in the market
- whad in place strategies to continue the growth/success momentum
- was still a good corporate citizen.
It also required that ENERGEX explain the new manner in which it was operating, that is, as separate network and retail businesses which each trade under the one name, ENERGEX.
ENERGEX based its strategic approach to the Annual Report on the fact that readers would receive the 1997/98 Annual Report 12 months after the name change and only six months since the last Annual Report (published in March 1998 due to restructuring of the industry).
In addition, the organisation had been undergoing massive change during this period and little information had gone into the marketplace with the messages the Annual Report would need to impart.
Therefore, business readers would be requiring strong evidence that the promises which came with the new ENERGEX image had not been in name only, that is, that they extended to business structure, proven expertise and customer service.
The strategy was also based on professional knowledge and more than 15 years experience producing Annual Reports.
Feedback from target audiences and ongoing ENERGEX market research also provided background.
- ENERGEX shareholders (Queensland Government Ministers)
- Existing and potential (Australia and overseas):
- major business customers
- asset management/technical clients
- ENERGEX & Allgas staff (Allgas being an ENERGEX subsidiary)
- Media (primarily regional, state and national business media & trade)
- Queensland/Australian domestic electricity customers
ENERGEX implemented the following strategic approach:
- utilising the theme our horizons are expanding to portray progress and growth
- utilising the two Chairmans reports to promise that the Boards had plans for further success in the future
- utilsing the following themes as content headings:
- growth, to highlight the success stories in Australia and overseas (p 18, 42-46)
- ENERGEX divisions, to explain the organisation, its products and services (p20, 24- 28, 47 - 51)
- customer case studies and testimonials, to cement the customer-focus ENERGEX wanted to portray (p44-45)
- special reports on the environment and community, to establish goodwill (p 22 & 30)
- providing summary explanation of the financial results to help readers interpret the financial report, with graphs and tatistics highlighted for the same purpose
- strong use of ENERGEX corporate colours and elements of the logo (see navy section divider pages) to strengthen the brand
- strong use of ENERGEX product and service sub branding and advertising as recognition and reinforcement of other marketing activity (eg pics 30-31 & 46-49)
- use of running quotes along the bottom of pages to reinforce key messages
- use of numerous sub headings to assist readability
- production of a separate but complementary Environment Annual Report, as a support document to further reinforce goodwill/corporate responsibility.
The ENERGEX Annual Report was a collaborative approach of many staff members throughout the organisation. The project manager interviewed all executive and line managers to ensure the full success story was told. The implementation process was based on a timetable for Tabling in State Parliament:
Planning (early June 1998)
- Internal meetings for research and theming
- Board approval of theme
- Preparation of timetables (working back from deadline for submission to Shareholding Ministers and tabling in Parliament)
- Brief design house/confirm deadlines
- Approve design concepts
- Distribute deadlines to key involved staff
Marketing Copy (June-July)
- Research interviews with:
- Two Chairman and Chief Executives
- Executives responsible for divisions, products and services
- Other staff responsible for key project areas eg Environment Manager
- Draft and distribute to relevant managers for copy approval
- Finalise copy and gain Chief Executive final approval
- Copy to design house for layout
Financials (by end July)
- Meet with Finance Division re design, theme and deadlines
- Financials to Boards for approval
- Draft Directors Reports, Corporate Governance & Statement of Corporate Intent with Company Secretary and approvals
- Financial summary and graphs/statistics checked and approved and to design house for layout
- Full Financial sections to design house for layout
Production (July - Sept)
Brief photographer and collate graphics in line with relevant copy
Editing and approve layout/sign off
Final legal approvals
Final proofing (in-house and proofing company) and sign off copy (by Public Affairs, Chief Executive and Company Secretary)
To film/approve film
Announcements (end Sept)
Dispatch to Shareholding Minister and Tabling in Parliament
Draft and distribute media release to metropolitan and national business media (based on financial summary and business highlights).
Objective 1 Understand ENERGEX - ACHIEVED
- Clear contents section for easy reference of ENERGEX scope
- Vision/Values and summary of business for each ENERGEX & ENERGEX Retail (start of each section p 4 & 34)
- Divisional sections explain responsibility/products and services
- Anecdotal feedback by customers/clients (the Annual Report is used in all new technical business and retail customer pitches)
- Tabling in the Legislative Assembly on 16 November 1998
- Increased demand for copies than in previous years
- Winner of Queensland Public Sector Awards 1998 - Merit
Objective 2 ENERGEX is customer focused - ACHIEVED
- Features on customers, products and services taking priority particularly in ENERGEX Retail section
- Involvement and testimonials from two major and high profile customers
- Anecdotal feedback from customers
- Winner of Queensland Public Sector Awards 1998 - Best Reporting on Value for Money Services
Objective 3 - Long Term Player - ACHIEVED
- Detail in two Chairmans addresses (p 5 & 35)
- Growth report re Gas, Telecommunications and Overseas (p18 & 19)
- Profitability reports in Financials
Objective 4 - Good Corporate Citizen - ACHIEVED
- Special Reports on Environment and Community (anecdotal feedback commending commitment)
- Production of support Environment Annual Report (also used in business pitches and sent to students for assignments etc)
- Winner of Queensland Public Sector Award 1998 - Best Reporting on Environmental Issues
- Information from both reports on the web site for easy reference by schools, domestic customers etc.
ENERGEX reviewed the outcome of its strategy against the following and determined the approach was appropriate for ENERGEXs place in the market at that point:
- Shareholder, customer and staff feedback
- Market research.
Based on further market research into 1999 ENERGEX knows that it is now perceived in the manner in which the Annual Report was looking to impart. Overall, market research indicates ENERGEXs image has improved on attributes including corporate image and customer satisfaction. In addition, this research indicates that ENERGEX is on track and, on some points, performing better than other national utility/service corporations for these attributes.*
As the market is changing ENERGEX now has new corporate imperatives and the plans for the 1998/99 Annual Report will see a different approach to again impart an image and message which meets our market needs at this point.
*Further detail and full results remains confidential.