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Albertans view energy companies favourably relative to 70+ other companies in Insights West’s Brand Digital Insights model, awarding a 6.6 out of 10 for corporate reputation compared to 6.7 for all other non-energy brands. Suncor and ATCO emerge as the top rated energy brands, while Direct Energy and Enbridge receive the lowest corporate reputation ratings.

Calgary, AB – To assess public opinion on a major industry in Alberta, Insights West measured Albertans’ familiarity and perceptions of 21 different energy companies using Insights West’s Brand Digital Insights model. Overall, Suncor and ATCO emerge as the top rated energy brands, while Direct Energy and Enbridge are the lowest rated brands in the model.

Energy companies are not brands consumers typically spend a lot of time thinking about, so it is not surprising that Albertans are less familiar with energy companies than other organizations. Half (49%) of Alberta adults are familiar with energy brands (16% very familiar) compared to 61% who are familiar with the 70+ brands in Insights West’s normative database (29% very familiar).

Albertans are most familiar with Shell Canada (89% familiar, 36% very familiar) and ATCO (82%; 32%). Roughly three-quarters are familiar with Suncor Energy (76%; 26%), Imperial Oil (74%; 29%), Husky Energy (73%; 23%) and ENMAX (72%; 36%). Albertans are least familiar with Spot Power (0% familiar), Bullfrog Power (5% familiar) and Kinder Morgan (8% familiar).

Energy companies are sometimes portrayed in a negative light in the media, but Insights West’s study shows Alberta energy companies are just as well respected as non-energy brands in the Western marketplace. The average corporate reputation score among all energy brands stands at 6.6 on the 10-point scale compared to 6.7 among all 70+ brands in the Brand Digital Insights normative database. The top rated energy brands are Suncor and ATCO, with average ratings of 6.9 on the 10-point scale. Husky Energy, Encana and Imperial Oil follow, each with average scores of 6.8. The lowest rated energy brands are Direct Energy (5.7) and Enbridge (6.1). Other Alberta brands that generate higher corporate reputation scores include WestJet (8.3), University of Calgary (7.5), Calgary Co-op (7.3) and ATB Financial (6.8).

In addition to overall corporate reputation, the Brand Digital Insights model measures 11 different corporate reputation metrics. Syncrude leads for being a good employer, being innovative, supporting the community and being well managed. EPCOR receives the highest scores for providing good quality customer service, while Husky Energy receives top marks for being trustworthy. Albertans award ENMAX with the highest ratings for being friendly and supporting Canadian values.

Brand Digital Insights also measures respondents’ digital interactions with a brand. Overall, consumers are not highly engaged digitally with energy companies, and they are far less engaged with energy brands than they are with other brands in the normative database. One-in-five (19%) have talked about the brand with friends/family in a social setting (compared to 32% for all brands), while 12% have been to a corporate website for energy brands (vs. 20% for all brands). Only 2% have interacted with energy brands on a mobile device (vs. 5%), 1% have shared an article/website link on Facebook or Twitter (vs. 4%), and 1% have tweeted or posted on a blog (vs. 2%). Three-quarters (75%) have not done any of these activities (compared to 60% among all brands).

Brand Digital Insights consistently shows that the more digitally engaged respondents are with the brand, the higher the brand is rated. Those who are highly engaged (have interacted with the brand via Facebook Twitter or mobile) award significantly higher brand reputation ratings (7.2) than those who have only been to the website (6.9), have only talked about the brand with friends/family (6.8), or have not had any interaction with the brand (6.5).

“Our survey results demonstrate the importance of digital interactions on brand reputation, even for energy companies. Currently, most energy companies are not engaging consumers at a digital level,” comments Jane Ha-Trapp, Vice President at Insights West. “When looking for ways to improve brand image, energy companies should consider increasing their presence in the digital space.”

About Brand Digital Insights:

In October 2012, Insights West launched a brand new research tool that combines brand reputation, advertising recall and consumer interactions with a brand into a single model. Norms developed from Brand Digital Insights allow clients to measure digital interactions, brand profile and campaign results, and at the same time, compare its success to others in the marketplace.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has eight full-time and five part-time employees.

Results are based on a series of online studies conducted between October 12, 2012 – April 1, 2013, among 6,575 residents of AB aged 18+ who are Your Insights panel members. is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for AB for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 1.2 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. For each individual brand, the sample size is approximately 200 respondents, with a margin of error is +/- 6.9 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty. To view the detailed data tabulations, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Jane Ha-Trapp
Vice President, Insights West

Photograph: Simon Law