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Water companies must build a stronger, more memorable and relevant brand to appeal to their latest generation of customers

From the Knowledge Centre

New research reveals that Generation Z has low brand awareness when it comes to who supplies the water in their homes and the role that water companies play in local communities...

Water companies must build a stronger, more memorable and relevant brand if they are to engage their next generation of customers, according to a new report.

A research report commissioned by Echo into the attitudes and awareness of Generation Z as they become bill payers has revealed a lack of brand profile and memorability in the way water companies present themselves to younger people in the communities they serve.

Almost two-thirds (61%) of Gen Z non-bill payers, and one in 10 (11%) of Gen Z bill payers, were unaware who supplies the water in the home they currently lived in, demonstrating a worrying lack of awareness amongst the young people that have just started, or will soon begin to pay their own water bills.

Despite being the first truly entirely digital native generation, 35% of Gen Z wouldn’t follow their water company on any social media channels, found the A new wave of customers for water suppliers research. Those that would follow their water company via social media preferred to do so on Facebook (45%), Twitter (37%), Instagram (25%) and YouTube (22%), showing that more established social media platforms continue to be favoured ahead of those that have gained more recent popularity, such as Snapchat (12%) and TikTok (5%).

However, when asked how they would prefer to see water companies better engage and inform them, 14% of Gen Z are simply not interested in hearing from their water company at all. This should not only act as a point of caution when it comes to over-communication, but also presents a challenge in terms of building awareness and their brands amongst this next-generation of customers.

“Brand awareness of water companies amongst young people in the communities they serve is worryingly low. Many of those in Generation Z have no idea who provides the water in their area, despite some being on the cusp of paying water bills themselves in the near future. This highlights that water providers have room for improvement in engaging their latest generation of bill payers, and soon to be bill payers, using the channels and communication mediums they use most in order to create a positive relationship with the people who will soon be their customers for many years to come. To do this water companies must work harder to make their content relevant, engaging and useful for younger customers to attract engagement and followers."

Vicki Dixon, head of operations, Echo Managed Services

With Gen Z noted for favouring brands and companies that prioritise environmental credentials, Echo’s report also showed that, when it comes to the water sector, Gen Z bill payers prioritised companies: reducing their carbon footprint (22%), supporting customers to reduce how much water they use (17%), sourcing the products and services they use in an ethical manner (13%) and the restoration of natural habitats (10%), as the green matters they most cared about.

“Despite the work that water companies do in looking after local reservoirs, preventing contamination and pollution, and protecting and improving local habitats, less than half of current Gen Z bill payers are aware of it, compared to much higher levels of awareness amongst older generations. Focusing in on the things that matter most to Gen Z and promoting the great work that water companies do in these areas, could really help the sector build better brand awareness and relevancy with this new generation of customers.”

Vicki Dixon, head of operations, Echo Managed Services

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