Earlier this year, DONG Energy (a market leader in Danish energy business) came to us with a challenge they wanted us to help solve. The challenge was that they in their communication had strayed too far away from the Danes. They were struggling with a public image as a heavy, bureaucratic organization, detached from the realities and needs of people’s lives. We helped them gain a new perspective on people’s everyday lives, which gave them a different understanding of the Danes, which ultimately changed their conversation.
Looking at people – not products
This type of challenge is not unusual for our clients. Clients often come to us because they have moved too far away from the very people they work everyday to create value for. But DONG Energy’s approach to solving the challenge was different. They were not on a mission to make the Danish population interested in them as an organization – rather, they were on a mission to get to know the Danes. They were not focusing on their customers’ relationship to their services or products, but rather, on real people’s everyday lives.
In order for this to happen, they had to figure out what the Danish people are interested in. What drives them? What makes them tick? What are their concerns and hopes for the future? What do they see as The Good Life? And not least: how can DONG Energy’s journey from black to green energy become relevant for people’s everyday lives?
Different strategies for navigating in a complex world
By going out into the real world and talking to people about the good life, we found that there is one thing that connects us as modern human beings today: the overwhelming feeling that the world is changing at an ever more rapid pace, and that we constantly need to navigate in a world that grows more complex every day. We saw very clearly that this was a shared frame of reference for a lot of different people, but we also saw that people have widely different strategies for navigating this complexity.
We identified three distinct worldviews, which to a great extent affect people’s attitudes towards, for instance, environmental issues, and how they should be solved. This provided DONG Energy with a new and deeper understanding of the role that environmental issues play in people’s minds and lives, and who they think holds the responsibility for creating a positive change.
DONG Energy’s focus on real people’s worldviews gave them new clues on how to tell their story in a way that resonates with the public. Some feel that DONG Energy should be the energy company for the Danish people, giving families advice on how to cut electricity costs in the home. And for others, DONG Energy needs to enter the scene as a global player, who can affect international agendas and make a positive difference in the world.
Changing the conversation
The project has been a great example of what happens when an organization set aside the tunnel vision and challenges the ’product blindness’ and the unwavering faith that our product means the world to regular people out there.
The day after the final presentation that concluded our project for DONG Energy, we got a call from the manager. He told us that our work had helped change the conversation inside DONG Energy, and had given them a way of understanding and talking about the Danes on a deeper level.
IS IT A BIRDs work has given us an outside-in perspective on our organisation. When we communicate to customers, we now know what is important to them, which is extremely valuable to us. – Filip Engel, Director. Sustainability, Public Affairs & Branding. DONG Energy