THE NEW LOGOS ARE SPLASHED ON BASEBALL CAPS AND COFFEE MUGS, GOLF
shirts and hard hats. There's the three-year, $42-million advertising budget and the slick newspaper, radio and TV ads. There's the NASCAR race, the Touchstone Energysm 300.
But in two, easy-to-understand sentences, what does the new Touchstone Energy do? For an answer, I turned to Michael L. "Mickey" Miller of Kentucky's Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. Miller chairs Touchstone's executive council.
"Touchstone Energy creates an alliance of more than 400 electric co-ops that serve more than 11 million customers. They tie that alliance together to be the second largest¼ utility network in the nation that serves about 40 percent, by revenue, of commercial-industrial accounts.
"It gives us a presence in¼ 28 states¼ it gives us, we think, a very distinct advantage over any competitors that are in the field by that presence¼"
Mr. Miller, to be fair, you've spelled out what Touchstone is, not what it does.
"OK, what it does," he says. "Well." He sighs. "I'm trying to phrase this so it will be easy for you and me to understand where we're going with it. I guess that presence we're looking for, we're already there. That's true. We're already there.
"We're already doing those things. It gives identity to those co-ops that have existed for 60 years¼ people may not recognize we are all here for the same business. We're all not-for-profit organizations.
"I'm still thinking I'm not answering that question you initially asked me."
To be fair to Mickey Miller, it isn't an easy question to answer, as electricity branding pioneers EnergyOne, Southern Co., Enron Corp. and others have discovered. Branding is like vapor: Easy to see, hard to touch.