Featuring a video series within a content marketing strategy is a proven tactic for increasing customer engagement. With the number of content pieces vying for customers’ attention, a video series can cut through the clutter and sustain awareness across multiple assets for weeks or months.


A video series creates familiarity and reinforces consistent messaging over time. With the same on-screen talent, visual look and title, video series increase engagement and promote subsequent video viewings.

Top Benefits of a Video Series

Just as consumers will continue using certain brand-name products because of familiarity, customers will continue watching content in a video series that they know and enjoy. They grow to love the characters or storyline, or both, and begin to look forward to the next installment.

“I believe that you can’t develop a relationship with a movie,” says Matt Irving, Creative Director of Video Content for Questline Digital. “A movie is a one-time thing. With a TV series, you originally had to watch it when it was on and you came back every week to see the characters and story come to life. It’s much more of a relationship. It’s the same with a video series in a content strategy. Being able to come back and recognize something familiar is a huge motivator for customers.”

The creation of a series allows your utility to think about the bigger picture. Rarely are there topics that one video is going to cover in full. When your utility is thinking about a series it needs to understand the stages of the topic, including:

  • What topic needs to be addressed?
  • What story aligns with that topic?
  • How do you talk about the topic?
  • What audience will be interested in the topic?

After understanding these elements, you can start to break down the topic and figure out how to craft it into consumable episodes that give customers the information they need over the course of time.

Chart listing the benefits of using a video series

Improve customer engagement

Video series have the ability to form a relationship with viewers. It’s this relationship that has a positive impact on engagement and encourages repeat viewings.

“If you think you’re only going to see something once, you’re a lot less invested in it,” Irving says. “When you start to see it over and over again, it’s different. People like familiar things. They’ll click on them. If you enjoyed your experience before, you’re going to click on it to have another enjoyable experience.”

Make content more digestible

Video series enables your utility to consider, Are we covering all the things we need to talk about without cramming too much into any one video? With a series you can cover a topic in-depth across many videos, but each episode can be specific and easy to consume.

Reduce production headaches

A video series serves as a template, with an established a tone, format and graphic style. You can add subsequent videos to the series without having to reinvent the wheel every time.

“Series are advantageous in the way that we produce,” says Irving. “Instead of telling those stories in completely different ways that would involve several different shoots, we’re able to concentrate on executing one thing really well and thinking it through.”

There are parameters built into a video series that guide the production process. “This doesn’t mean you can’t adjust and change as you go,” Irving adds, “but it gives a much clearer picture of what you should be judging within the video itself.”

Financial advantages to video series

Turning on a camera at any time costs money. However, if you consider the cost of turning it on multiple times when shooting one-off videos compared to turning it on once and filming content for an entire series, the difference is significant. “You’re going to get a lot better cost per piece,” says Irving.

Build customer trust

Video series can build trust with viewers. When customers see a particular host multiple times who is giving them valuable information, they grow to know and trust that person.

When creating a video series, your utility must have a strategy in place, but not an agenda. This means that you need to strategize the topic so you are delivering valuable information to viewers, but not doing it in a way that “sells” to customers. People feel more comfortable and willing to accept new information when they know the reason behind it is genuine.

Simplify complex topics

Knowing that customers prefer visual elements and learning opportunities, using video series to simplify complex utility topics like beneficial electrification, demand response or time-of-use rate plans only makes sense. Rather than describing these processes in lengthy articles, share the information in a video series focused on understanding the basics or key details.

For example, Questline Digital created an animated video series for the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) that demonstrated the convenience of smart home technology to customers and educated them about the benefits of smart tech, electric vehicles and more.

This was a series of three videos, plus an infographic, that included a common narrator — Professor Energy — and used a similar animation style so viewers could easily connect the videos together. The series helped dispel misconceptions about smart tech and EVs and educated customers on the benefits and use-cases.

This series was successful for SECC, achieving thousands of views on their YouTube channel and nearly 42,000 views on their consumer website.

How to Use Video Series to Boost Engagement

Video content is extremely popular among consumers — and it’s everywhere. From their smartphones to computers to streaming TVs, people are inundated with videos of all types. A video series can help your content stand out through strategic planning, creation and delivery.

Quotation - A video series format where you see something again builds familiarity which naturally leads to enagement

Start strategizing with a conversation

When creating content for a video series your utility needs to think about how a conversation would go with a typical customer. What audience are you speaking with? What questions do they have?

“We’re filling in what we think the viewer is thinking and what their questions are,” says Irving. “It doesn’t start with, ‘Oh what if we made something about this?’ It starts with ‘What’s a way we can have a conversation about things that would interest consumers?’”

When it comes to residential versus business customers, the structure is the same. You might have different conversations with each audience, but it’s a conversation nonetheless. For example, for a residential video series, the driving force is typically not about saving money. Instead, the focus is on how it makes customers’ lives more comfortable and convenient. Business customers, on the other hand, want to know how much a new technology is going to cost if they invest in it, and the non-energy benefits they might see as a result.

“The overall strategy is the same,” says Irving. “The only difference is you’re having conversations with different people who have different priorities.”

Deliver content that matters

It’s important for video series to be created with the audience in mind. You can put different types of messages into the mix, but they all must add value to the viewer.

“Because we want to provide valuable information with some entertainment, we live by a code: Content should either be important, interesting or both,” Irving explains.

You can leverage this to draw customers deeper into the series — encouraging them to continue learning with each subsequent episode. “People aren’t waiting for an email to click on the next thing,” says Irving. “If you have their interest in a series, then you should let them be there as long as they want to be.”

However, you also want to give them the choice.

Video series should cover the topic in full, but in a way that allows customers to choose when they watch it and how many videos they watch at once, even skipping individual episodes they may not be interested in. “Allowing that allows you to have the closest thing to a conversation,” says Irving.

Repeat Viewings Build a Loyal Following

Using a video series in your utility’s content marketing strategy can boost customer engagement and satisfaction as viewers come to expect and look forward to new videos. It helps you educate customers about complex topics in smaller, digestible pieces. And it will help build a loyal following over time as customers recognize the series and return to learn more with each new episode.

Learn more about the video series available to energy utilities in Questline Digital’s Content Catalog.

Consumers prefer video content. In the age of social media and smartphones — even gas pumps are now equipped with streaming screens — video is the most effective way to get your message in front of customers.

Video makes your message both memorable and shareable, while being adaptable across all digital channels. By producing entertaining, informative video content, your utility can increase customer engagement, grow program participation and educate residential and business customers about important energy topics.

But video is also difficult to produce, and it can be expensive. The popularity of video content comes with high customer expectations: They will quickly tune out a poorly made or uninteresting video. To succeed, it’s critical for marketers to invest the time and resources needed to produce content that is appealing and effective.

If your energy utility wants to boost your customer engagement strategy with video content, follow these best practices to create enjoyable, entertaining videos that also educate and inform.

Chart listing the best practices for video content marketing

Top 10 Video Best Practices

  1. Maintain high-quality production values
  2. Entertain as you inform
  3. Keep the video short and on-point
  4. Consider a video series
  5. Create videos with your customers in mind
  6. Use storytelling to deliver the message
  7. Make sure your videos work without sound
  8. Pay attention to the first 3 seconds
  9. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA)
  10. Distribute videos across multiple channels

1. Maintain high-quality production values

Video production is more accessible than ever. Thanks to smartphones, most of us practically have an entire movie studio in our pockets. However, the DIY aesthetic is probably not consistent with your energy utility’s brand. You want your messages to be professional and authoritative, not like a homemade social reel.

Follow these video best practices to ensure your production values reflect that professionalism:

  • Subjects should be well-lit and properly exposed, including key lighting from the front and backlighting. Overhead office lights are typically not sufficient.
  • Capture video in horizontal, widescreen mode. Vertical videos look fine on social media but don’t translate well to other platforms.
  • Use a tripod and avoid unnecessary camera movement like zooms and pans. Shaky, unstable camera work is a surefire way to make your video look amateurish.
  • Hire professional talent to appear on-screen and record voiceovers. Actors who are comfortable, confident and clear on camera make your videos more enjoyable to watch and add authority to your message.
  • Use high-quality graphics and legible type to explain or label items in your video. Utilize bright, contrasting colors so that graphics are clear for smartphone viewers and the vision impaired.
  • Spoken audio and voiceovers should be loud and clear. Professionally recorded music can add interest, especially for an introduction, but make sure it’s not distracting.

2. Entertain as you inform

How do you make a video engaging? By incorporating entertainment.

Video content is an extremely effective way to educate customers about energy topics. Moving images and graphics can make complicated concepts easy to understand. But your videos won’t hold viewers’ attention if they come across as dry, boring or too technical.

To make a positive impression and truly build customer engagement, video content needs to be entertaining as well as informative.

Follow these video best practices to ensure that your message is entertaining:

  • The tone should be upbeat and energetic. For example, approach energy efficiency as a positive change, not as something customers are doing wrong and need to fix.
  • Keep it simple. Most residential customers are not energy experts, and they don’t need to be. Ask someone from outside your utility to review scripts to make sure they’re understandable and don’t overuse industry jargon.
  • Use animation and on-screen graphics to bring topics to life. Don’t explain something if you can show it instead; using animation to show inside equipment is even better.
  • Content for a business audience can be more advanced, but it should still be enjoyable to watch. Save the technical specs for an infographic or detailed article.

Check out this animated video about renewable energy. A typically complex topic is simplified through metaphors, graphics and fun characters.

3. Keep the video short and on-point

It probably goes without saying that today’s consumers don’t have a lot of free time on their hands. Video content is popular not just because it’s easy to consume — it’s also a fast way for customers to get lots of information while they’re on the go. Make sure your videos don’t bore customers or tempt them to reach for the “skip” button.

Keep your content brief by following these video best practices:

  • Videos should be as short as possible while still being informative and entertaining. You don’t want the video to feel rushed, but it should be concise. In other words, stick to the point and eliminate the fluff.
  • With few exceptions, website videos should be no longer than 90 seconds to 2 minutes. If you can’t fit your topic into that time, consider narrowing the focus or splitting it into a multiple-video series. 
  • Social media videos should be 30 to 60 seconds in length, with graphics optimized to display on smartphone screens.

4. Consider a video series to promote ongoing engagement

From movie trilogies to streaming TV series, viewers can’t resist watching the new adventures of characters they already know and love. Presenting video content as part of an ongoing series is an effective way for energy utilities to increase customer engagement. Customers who are familiar with a series are much more likely to watch the latest videos — and learn about new energy topics.

Follow these tips to build long-term engagement with your video series:

  • A video series creates familiarity and reinforces consistent messaging by returning to the same style and format over time.
  • Using the same on-screen talent and series title helps customers connect the overall theme (e.g., energy efficiency) to specific topics (LED lightbulbs and smart thermostats).
  • Questline Digital performance metrics show that content presented in a series increases subsequent viewings, with up to 42% of customers watching multiple videos in a series.

Check out this example from National Grid. The utility worked with Questline Digital to create six testimonial videos that promote results from their EV Make Ready Program, as well as an animated video explaining how the program works. Rather than one, extremely long video, they built a series that more effectively engages customers with digestible, more specific episodes.

Thumbnail images of series for video content best practices

5. Create videos with your customers in mind

When planning topics for your next video, focus on how you can provide value to customers. What interests do customers have? What questions do they ask? Use this information to develop a content strategy that gives customers what they need and provides information that will help them in their daily lives.

  • Do your customers want to learn something new? An educational, animated explainer video can help simplify complex topics.
  • Do your customers need proof points that a program or product is worthwhile? Showcase real-life success stories and commentary from customers with case studies and testimonial videos.
  • Do your customers need help navigating a new service or understanding a program? Give them a step-by-step overview with a tutorial video.

6. Use storytelling to deliver the message

Storytelling helps create an authentic voice that resonates with customers. Focus on narrative-based content that viewers can relate to. Tell a story about a brand, company or service and guide viewers to through their pain points, develop an emotional spark, and then see a satisfying solution to the problem.

When it comes to storytelling, there are a few main points to consider before video development begins.

  • Plot: What story do you want to tell? What is the overarching arc of the story? Does it include enough drama to hold attention?
  • People: Who are the characters in the story and how do they relate to viewers?
  • Place: What is the main location of the story and how does that connect back to customers?
  • Audience: What customers are you targeting with this video — residential or business, specific industries, residential customers with specific interests?
  • Purpose: What point are you trying to make in the story and what do you want viewers to do after?

7. Make sure your videos work without sound

If you plan on sharing your videos on social media platforms, it’s important to ensure your videos convey your message while muted. We all know how embarrassing it can be to have the sound from a video clip on your phone interrupt those around you. That’s why most users opt to default to mute when auto-playing content.

If your video isn’t understandable without sound, you’ll miss out on a large portion of potential viewers. Follow these video best practices:

  • Always add closed-captioning text files. Captioning ensures that your video is accessible to those with hearing impairments as well as mobile viewers who mute their phones.
  • Don’t rely on music. Music is a fantastic feature to add to your marketing videos. However, if the meaning of your clip revolves around the music, those watching on mute won’t understand the message.

8. Pay attention to the first three seconds

You have only three seconds to hook and interest your viewer. If that doesn’t happen, they’ll scroll past or click “skip,” meaning the rest of your video went to waste.

  • Add a strong visual or “opening shot” at the very beginning of your video to immediately capture attention and stop scrolling.
  • Don’t make your logo the first shot or video thumbnail image — this doesn’t tell viewers what the video is about or grab their interest.
  • Include a clear headline on your video thumbnail explaining what value your video is going to provide.
  • Use people and animals to your advantage to trigger an emotional response. Nothing captures people’s attention more than seeing other people or animals on the screen.

Check out this video made by Questline Digital that includes a title image that lets you know exactly what the clip is about.

9. Include a clear call-to-action (CTA)

As mentioned above, defining the purpose of your video is vital — what do you want customers to do after they watch? Is it to sign up for a service, purchase a new smart technology device or send in a rebate request? Whatever it is, make sure you include a clear call-to-action.

Use your CTAs to:

  • Drive visits to specific landing pages
  • Send customers to their My Account preference center
  • Encourage downloads of your utility’s app
  • Ask viewers to share their input

Also, make sure it’s easy for customers to take action; for example, a single click should take them to the correct landing page or a simple signup form.

10. Distribute videos across multiple channels

“Build it and they will come” doesn’t work for most things, including videos. Content cannot simply be created and left alone. To increase views and engagement with your videos, they need to be shared widely across all channels and platforms.

The obvious channels to add videos include:

  • Your utility’s website
  • YouTube or Vimeo pages
  • Social media platforms

Some not-so-obvious channels to leverage video content include:

  • Your utility marketing emails
  • As QR codes on printed materials
  • Within customers’ My Account centers
  • On your utility marketplace site

Wherever your utility shares video content, remember the original purpose: What is your utility trying to accomplish with each video? Who is your utility trying to reach?

Use Video Best Practices to Boost Views and Engagement

Videos are an effective way to engage with your customers in a format that they prefer. Make sure your video content is high-quality, entertaining, informative and concise. Your energy utility will see overall increased engagement and satisfaction, and your customers will be coming back for more.

Learn how Questline Digital’s content strategy and video production services will put these best practices to work for your energy utility.

Video content marketing cannot be overlooked as a tool to reach, communicate and engage with your customers. Videos play a key role in attracting and capturing attention, as well as delivering information in fun, easy-to-understand formats. It’s vital your energy utility implements video content marketing strategies across all campaigns, from billing to program promotions, smart home technologies and more.

Why your energy utility needs video content for marketing:

  1. Capture and hold customers’ attention
  2. Entertain and educate customers about complex topics
  3. Improve SEO (search engine optimization) metrics and boost conversions
  4. Encourage social media shares and engagement
  5. Build brand trust and loyalty

The Value of Video Content Marketing

It’s no secret that videos have become a common way to consume content, whether for entertainment or educational purposes. According to Statista, U.S. adults spend around 103 minutes every day watching digital videos on varying devices. That’s nearly two hours’ worth of video content consumed per day.

Not only do customers consume video on a number of devices, but they also consume content through every platform and channel available. From the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels on smartphones to streaming apps on smart TVs, brands are vying for customer attention. YouTube is considered the second largest search engine next to Google and has over 2.3 billion monthly logged-in users. In addition, YouTubers upload 500 hours of video content to the platform every minute.

Why does this matter?

Just as consumers are inundated with emails and ads from brands around the world, they are also inundated with video content. That’s why your energy utility’s video content marketing needs to stand out. Videos need to be created with the customer in mind to help them solve a problem, answer a question or otherwise bring value to their daily lives.

Additionally, for energy utility marketers, video is an integral way to educate, engage and inspire residential and commercial customers at key touchpoints throughout the customer journey. In fact, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from brands and businesses they support.

Statistic showing the 54 percent of customers prefer video content marketing

Relationship-building emails that include a video can boost click-through rates by 200% to 300%. In addition, including videos in emails has the potential to reduce email unsubscribe rates by 26%.

According to Questline Digital’s Benchmarks Report, the top 10 most popular residential customer videos achieved an impressive nearly 100,000 combined page views. The types of video content marketing included content that helped customers save money, DIY solutions for energy-efficiency and informational videos on other energy equipment.

Chart listing the most popular types of video content marketing

5 Reasons to Use Video Content for Marketing

It behooves your energy utility to add video content into its marketing strategy to increase customer engagement and satisfaction. Read on for five specific reasons why video content adds value to a marketing strategy.

Chart listing five reasons video content marketing is effective

1. Capture and hold customers’ attention

Customers are bombarded by hundreds of marketing campaigns each day, but a video can cut through the clutter and capture attention in a unique and powerful way. Viewers report remembering 95% of a message when watching a video versus only 10% when reading it in text.

2. Entertain and educate customers about complex topics

Video marketing content is especially useful when needing to explain complex topics to utility customers, like demand response or beneficial electrification. Additionally, it is an easy way to make this educational content entertaining as well. Rather than writing a 500-word article on how beneficial electrification affects the grid, a video can more easily show this.

The visual elements of a video are also helpful tools to help customers understand how something works, like in the case of a new bill redesign. When PSEG Long Island introduced a new bill design to customers, it worked with Questline Digital to develop an engaging and educational video to help customers understand the changes to their monthly bills.

3. Improve SEO metrics and boost conversions

When it comes to SEO, videos can help improve your website’s standing in the eyes of Google. Search engines want to see content that engages viewers, and website landing pages with video will keep people on your page longer than text. In fact, consumers spend 88% more time browsing on websites that have videos.

4. Encourage social shares and engagement

Whether on social or a website, customers expect to see video content. In fact, consumers say that videos are their favorite type of content to see on social media. When customers love what they see, they will often share those videos with friends and family, expanding the reach of your utility’s audience.

Videos on social media also feature rich storytelling capabilities in an easy-to-digest format, making it well-suited for busy, on-the-go audiences. Make the visuals eye-catching and keep the video to one minute or less. Make sure you add captions to all your videos so that viewers don’t have to turn on the sound when watching.

5. Build brand trust and loyalty

From fun, animated videos to heartwarming feature stories, video content marketing can show off your company’s unique personality and brand voice. In turn, this helps build trust and loyalty among your customers.

Be authentic in your utility’s creation of video content. Consider a video marketing strategy that includes not just products or programs, but content that demonstrates the human side of your utility as well. Interview employees or show behind-the-scenes moments. These human-centric videos are a welcoming sight to customers and help balance your utility’s marketing strategy.

Testimonial videos are another great way to not only promote a product or service, but to continue showing the human side of your utility. By showing reviews from real-life customers, others will get to know your utility as a trusted source.

Types of Video Content Marketing

Before your utility can jump into video content marketing, it first needs to decide on the purpose and direction of the video. When choosing the type of video content marketing, consider:

  • Goals: What is your utility trying to accomplish with this video? To educate or entertain customers, or to explain a program or service?
  • Audience: Who is your utility trying to reach with this video? Does it include a range of residential and business customers or one or the other?
  • Metrics: What key performance indicators does your utility want to track? Video views or shares?
Chart listing different types of video content marketing

When these questions are answered, it’s time to choose a video format.

Explainer videos

These types of video content marketing help customers more easily understand how your product or service works and why they should purchase or enroll. Many utilities will host explainer videos on their website landing pages or feature them on a homepage of a website.

Key attributes of a good explainer video:

  • Short in length, roughly 1 to 2 minutes long
  • Includes a strong call-to-action (CTA) that clearly states what a customer should do after watching
  • Focuses on a specific challenge and how to overcome it

Educational or how-to videos

Instructional videos help teach something new to your audience. Whether it’s a new industry term you want customers to know or it’s a DIY video about energy efficiency, these types of videos provide value by:

  • Encouraging continual learning for customers
  • Bringing customers “into the fold” so they understand more about the industry
  • Provide customers with the confidence to complete energy-efficient tasks on their own

Animated videos

Animated videos can be a good format for topics that are difficult to grasp and need strong visuals and direction to clearly explain the concept.

Animation can be less expensive and more flexible compared to live-action videos. If changes need to be made, a designer or animator can easily make the changes in the file versus needing to reshoot live video scenes.

Other benefits of animated videos include:

  • Easy to demonstrate abstract concepts
  • Any idea can be brought to life even if it doesn’t exist in the real world
  • Has a longer shelf life and is easier to make edits or updates

Live-action videos

Live-action videos simply mean that the video includes real people versus computer-generated or animated characters. Some benefits of live-action videos include:

  • Captures real human emotion and reactions
  • Live footage can create an immersive setting for viewers
  • Camera and environmental effects, like the sun’s shadow, can more easily be created in real-time versus in animation

Case study and testimonial videos

These types of videos feature real-life, satisfied customers or employees discussing the positive experiences they had with your utility or the products or services that have brought value to their daily lives.

Great testimonial videos often:

  • Tell a story from a first-hand perspective
  • Are authentic and feature real customers or employees
  • Focus on the “why” or the solution that was provided

Product or service overview videos

Often, the best way to promote a program or service to customers is to show them the value it provides. In fact, consumers are four times more likely to watch a video about a product than to read about it. A good product/service overview video should:

  • Easily explain a product’s key features and benefits
  • Highlight the main components of a product customers should know about
  • Provide a clear CTA of what customers should do after watching the video

Video Content Connects with Energy Customers

Video content marketing is a critical way to engage with customers. Survey results show that 25% of consumers lose interest in a company if they don’t use videos. Don’t let this be your utility. Include different types of video content marketing to achieve both program enrollments and increase customer satisfaction.

Learn how a video content marketing strategy from Questline Digital will help your energy utility build engagement and inspire customers to take action.

Animation has the power to break through marketing clutter. No matter the company or industry, consumers want entertaining, educational and aspirational content. In a sea of sensory overload, animated explainer videos enable your energy utility to stand out in a memorable, compelling way.

Animation helps brands to develop a unique and identifiable look that instantly separates them from competitors. Graphic imagery is a powerful tool. Graphic imagery that moves? That’s influential.

Benefits of Animated Explainer Videos

  • Eye-catching and attention-grabbing
  • More flexibility
  • High performance
  • Aids understanding of complex topics
  • Memorable

Video content is now an essential element of any marketing plan. Animation provides the flexibility to make branded video content faster and often for less money than live action alternatives.

While live action video depends largely on specific locations, appropriate talent and other external variables, the possibilities are endless with animation. You control every aspect of the environment and characters — your story can take place in the middle of the desert or on the surface of the moon.

For brands on a budget, that means they can do much more for less.

“The power of animation lies in the ability to translate emotions and ideas into a visual experience for viewers,” said Mary Harrison, Questline Digital Animator. “You don’t have to limit your imagination — animation pushes the boundaries beyond what is possible in real life.”

According to Questline Digital Benchmarks data, video and other multimedia content outperforms articles in residential customer communications. We see some of the highest engagement for animated explainer videos that break down difficult energy topics.

Animation provides opportunities for energy utilities to educate their customers on complex topics. Technical information can be effectively explained through simple animated videos, compared to a lengthy article or complicated lived-action explainer video.

“Animation is like having X-ray vision,” explained Matt Irving, Questline Digital Creative Director for Video. “You can see exactly how technology works inside the equipment — something that wouldn’t be possible with live footage.”

3 Ways Utilities Can Use Animated Explainer Videos

When people think of animation, they often think of cartoons from classic Disney movies, Pixar films or TV shows like The Simpsons. However, animation can also be realistic and lifelike — it all depends on what style works best to tell your story.

The subject matter can be serious, educational, technical or even heartfelt. Questline Digital has utilized animation in promotional campaigns ranging from communicating the safety and security of outdoor lighting to PSAs explaining rate cases. There are no limits to the stories that can be told with animation.

Animated explainer videos have the power to capture attention, engage audiences and make your message memorable — which, let’s face it, is not always easy to do.

Here are a few examples of how you can use animated explainer videos in your energy utility’s marketing to increase customer engagement.

Explain new billing programs

Animated video is a great way to educate your customers on the main features of their energy bill or a new billing program. Whether your utility is debuting a new bill redesign or simply wants to educate customers on how to read their bill, animated video makes an impact.

The visual nature of video works best for this type of communication. Instead of describing all the key features in an article or bill insert, your customers can clearly see them in the clip. Plus, you can highlight important changes with animation.

For one major utility, Questline Digital created an animated explainer video highlighting their new and improved bill, which featured a fresh look and easier-to-find information. This educational video experienced strong customer engagement with a 42.7% open rate and more than 14,000 total clicks from a promotional email campaign. The video also experienced nearly 8,000 views on the energy utility’s YouTube channel.

Simplify technical content

One of the most valuable capabilities of animation is simplifying intricate topics. You can provide an unobstructed look into equipment or drastically abridge the complexity of a concept.

For example, in the following video, variable frequency drives (VFD) are explained in just a few seconds with the use of animation. Showcasing how pipe valves and VFD technology differ would be time consuming without the use of graphics.

Educate customers about energy use

From smart home devices to electric vehicles, customers have more energy technology at their fingertips than ever before — and more questions about how best to control their energy use. Animated explainer videos can bring these topics to life, helping customers understand new energy technologies in a fun and entertaining format.

Questline Digital created the explainer video series “The Evolving World of Energy” for the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative. With the friendly character Professor Energy as a guide, the videos help unravel complicated energy topics and demonstrate the benefits to customers.

Step Up Your Storytelling

Explore the limitless possibilities of animation. Questline Digital can help you create customized videos to maximize engagement with your energy utility customers. We handle every facet of the process from pre-production and scriptwriting to art direction and editing.

Discover how Questline Digital can help step up your storytelling with animated explainer videos.

Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s Jessica Carthen helps customers understand and take advantage of energy efficiency programs — a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.

“As a marketer, you don’t always have the opportunity to promote something that is truly a service for good,” Carthen says. “There is something really fulfilling about being able to promote energy efficiency. Not only are we helping the community, but we’re also putting money back in the pockets of our customers.”

Headshot of Jessica Carthen for Energy Spotlight interview

As Consumer Programs Marketing Senior Coordinator, Carthen creates marketing campaigns and educational content to help customers benefit from PSO’s energy efficiency programs and services. Since energy efficiency is not a one-size-fits-all message, she utilizes customer data from various sources, such as smart meter usage data, to create personalized campaigns.

“I definitely see customers wanting more personalization,” Carthen says. “If you’re blasting marketing messages that don’t apply to them, they are going to lose interest very quickly. In my role, I’ll say, ‘Show me what data we have, and let’s see if we can refine our approach so we’re giving customers information that’s most relevant to them.’”

Last year, Carthen led an innovative campaign to help customers not only understand energy efficiency, but also engage with it in a new way. The goal of the Save the Watts campaign was to make the often-complicated topic of energy efficiency easy to understand. The campaign features cute characters that give a physical representation to the term “watts” to capture attention and increase engagement.

“When we developed the Save the Watts campaign, we started with customer research,” Carthen explains. “Customers told us, ‘I understand that my home could be using energy more efficiently, but I don’t really think about it.’ When we got that research back, we worked with an agency to help us make energy efficiency top of mind for our customers.”

The Save the Watts campaign started with video as the primary tactic and expanded to social media, broadcast television and even radio ads. Now, Carthen says people will stop by their booth at various community events and mention how much they love the campaign. In addition to being well-received by customers, the Save the Watts campaign won a 2021 E Source Utility Ad Award, an industry honor that recognizes creative excellence.

“A good portion of our demographic is families, so if you can catch their attention you’ve won half the battle,” Carthen says. “The brand recognition from the Save the Watts campaign has really helped us increase consumer awareness of energy efficiency.”

Even with widespread marketing campaigns, Carthen acknowledges it can still be a challenge to reach some customers. That’s why Carthen is working to ensure energy efficiency is available to all customers in PSO’s service territory, especially those with limited income. She regularly looks at program participation data to see where they should be focusing their marketing efforts to best reach customers in need.

“Maybe we served a community really well in the past, but now we need to focus our efforts in a different community or geographical area,” Carthen says. “Our mission is to ensure we are serving all customers that can be served. We are always looking for ways to improve parity among our programs.”

When Carthen isn’t marketing EE programs and services, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors with her 6-year-old son or working on home projects with her husband, who is a project manager for AEP, the parent company of PSO.

Questline Digital connected with Carthen to learn more about what inspired her to work in utility marketing, how best to promote energy efficiency and some of her favorite campaigns.

How did you get started in the energy utility industry?

I was working in an advertising agency and was looking for a position that would let me leverage my brand strategy experience in a more meaningful way. I have family in the utility industry so when the opportunity in the energy efficiency group at Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) came available, I knew I wanted to apply. Luckily, they were looking for someone with agency experience to lead their energy efficiency marketing efforts, and it was a great fit for both of us.

What has changed the most about working in the utility industry over the course of your career?

My career in the utility industry is still fairly new, especially when you consider that many people at my company have worked here for 30-plus years. In the three-and-a-half years I’ve been with PSO, the emphasis on data integration and analysis has really shaped how we do business and respond to the needs of our customers as the industry continues to evolve.

What excites you the most about the energy utility space? 

The impact our work has on our communities. We literally power people’s lives, which is something I don’t take lightly. The ability to market something like energy efficiency is exciting because it truly helps customers. As a marketer, it’s really fulfilling to promote something that serves a greater purpose. 

What campaign or initiative are you most proud of? 

We’ve launched some really creative and effective marketing campaigns, including the Save the Watts campaign that was awarded first place at the E Source Utility Ad Awards. However, our smaller day-to-day initiatives are some of my favorites.

When I started, I went on a ride-along with one of our small business lighting consultants and literally watched them go door-to-door and offer free lighting audits to local businesses. Not long after that, we implemented a marketing campaign that delivers customer leads directly to the lighting consultants. Now they have more time to spend doing actual lighting upgrade projects. The lighting consultants appreciate the campaign, and it helps our company meet its energy-saving goals.

What’s a marketing campaign you wish you’d thought of (inside or outside the energy industry)?

There are so many campaigns I wish I had thought of, but the most recent one is Progressive’s “Becoming Your Parents” campaign. It’s fun, relatable and a great fit for their target audience. I always appreciate when a brand doesn’t take themselves too seriously because, at the end of the day, marketing is about building connections with people.

Finish this sentence: If I weren’t working in the utility industry, I would be…

I would be doing marketing in some shape or form because it’s what I love to do. Regardless of where I was working, I know I would be having fun and hopefully making an impact.

How do you anticipate the world of energy evolving in the coming years?

In my role, I anticipate that our energy efficiency programs and offerings will continue to evolve as there are advances in technology. And with that, customer education will continue to be an important part of my job. As energy efficiency programs adapt, content creation will become even more important — more videos, blogs, etc. to help customers understand new technologies and the impact they have on their homes and businesses.

What advice would you give to those entering the utility space?

First, take the time to understand the industry and how you can make an impact in your role. And second, don’t be afraid to speak up and cause healthy disruption. Sometimes, we have to question things for us all to get better.

Participation in Questline Digital’s Energy Spotlight series does not indicate an endorsement from utility partners.