Market Strategies International


Customer Support of Energy Utilities Directly Related to Brand Trust

44 Utilities Named Most Trusted Brands Among Residential Customers

Support of utility rates and attracting consumer use of alternative energy offerings requires brand trust among residential electric and natural gas utility consumers, according to a new Cogent Reports™ study by Market Strategies International. This annual study highlights a statistical relationship between brand trust and rate support, and shows customers expect utilities to expand support for new offerings and community outreach as a result of rate increases. The study’s findings, which designates 44 utilities as “Most Trusted Brands,” can be found in the 2017 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study.

“Building a brand that customers trust and offering products and services customers will use are the new utility challenges. Brand trust is truly the difference between customers supporting or resisting new utility income opportunities,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International.

High brand trust scores are required to attract customer use of alternative energy offerings and to increase the preference to use utilities as providers of these products. Additionally, customers who trust their utility are twice as likely to recommend those alternative energy products to other customers.

“Our research clearly shows utility brand trust levels are closely tied to financial success, customer advocacy and market support for rate changes,” continued Oberle. “High brand trust benefits customers, shareholders and stakeholders, and positions utilities as credible players in shaping the evolving utility market.”

The study’s brand trust index has declined by one point this year to 692 (on a 1,000-point scale). The study, now in its fourth year, benchmarks brand performance of 130 utilities on a quarterly basis among 59,823 utility consumers. The brand trust index is based upon 35 rating questions that relate to a suite of emotional attachment and management performance factors.

This year, Cogent has designated 44 utilities as 2017 Most Trusted Brands. This group of utilities scores 40 points higher on brand trust than their industry peers. As a result of the brand trust garnered among customers, Most Trusted Brand utilities experience a 7 percent improvement in support for rate increases and a 27 percent boost in positive customer comments than industry peers. Additionally, Most Trusted Brands are viewed by customers as better stock investments.


Click here to see the full rankings.

About the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential report

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 59,823 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 130 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses US census data and strict quotas to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

For more information about the full report, review an overview.

Review an Overview of the Report

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