Australian Power & Gas: The right brand name makes virtual a reality!

Brand names should work as hard as possible to support the business aspirations of an organisation. Names play a role far greater than simply being an identifier. They should convey something of the promise of what is on offer. For some brands that may mean communicating a certain personality. For others it may mean playing up a functional or emotional attribute that connects with the target market. Whatever the approach brand names should support the desired market positioning of the product, service or organisation.

One organisation who has understood this better than most is our client, Australian Power & Gas. They have just headed the list of Australia’s top growing businesses recently reported in BRW’s Fast Starters rankings. Australian Power & Gas increased its turnover by almost 111% in 2008-2009 to $72.7 million and expects to lift that to $125-135million this financial year. What is interesting about this electricity and gas retailer is that it is very much a virtual company. It serves 125,000 customers (95% based in Victoria) with only 40 people located in Sydney. It has been structured around a virtual business model that outsources sales, billing, call centre, invoicing and payments. While it outsources key business processes it actively manages its brand. It has great clarity around the brand experience it aspires to deliver to everyone of its 125,000 customers and the brand definition we created with Australian Power & Gas provides important layers of meaning and direction to all business partners. Nothing is left to chance!

But what about the name? For a modern energy company who is a little over 3 years old, you may feel that the name sounds a little staid and conservative. True, but it also sounds Australian owned, large and well established. It sounds the big end of town, and that is a very important attribute when you are asking energy customers to trust you, to switch their business away from their current supplier. As a brand name Australian Power & Gas projects itself as anything but a new kid on the block operating a virtual business system – it sounds like it has been around forever, importantly it also sounds ever so believable.

In an age when a lot of kudos is bandied around for brand names that have loads of attitude and personality, there is always a place for more conservative and descriptive names, if they support the desired positioning of the brand. And guess what the second fastest growing company name was in BRW’s Fast Starters….Aussie Farmers Direct…..hardly sexy, but working hard communicating what the business is about, and very successfully so!

Peter Singline
Brand Scientist

Above image from April 29 – June 2 2010 edition of BRW.
Power Brokers: Australian Power & Gas co-founders James Myatt, left, and Andrew Butler.
Photograph by Nic Walker.


  1. One of the most difficult tasks we undertake as brand designers is naming. For organisations and and brands alike, this process is fraught with intense emotional baggage as well as logistical challenges of trademarking and URL registration, not to mention cultural vagrancies. Sometimes the most obvious and functional names can provide the best starting point to attach the all important brand meaning to.

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