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© Icon Water

Icon Water

The Price is Right: How Icon Water Changed the Bill Game

Bills are a necessity. We all need water, and because of that, utility companies can charge whatever they want without a care towards the consumer.   

   

Right?   

   

Not according to Icon Water, the sole provider of water and sewerage services to the ACT. 

 

Icon Water recognised this disconnect between customer and service provider, tackling this issue with an innovative campaign in 2018. They took a routine bureaucratic pricing process and transformed it into a communication opportunity to educate the public about the pricing process and identify what was important to them as Icon Water customers.   

 

Icon Water initiated a campaign in which internal, research heavy documents were visually redeveloped for public consumption. This transparency improvement to the pricing process and operations, allowed Icon Water to educate the public as well as becoming an active member of the community. 

'Our Prices' Website 2018, © Icon Water

The main goal of the campaign was to help Icon Water become a valued partner in the community.  It wanted their customers to appreciate their service, understand that it is good value for money, and see them as a trusted partner.  To achieve this, the pricing campaign focussed on three main commitments to the public to earn their trust: safety, openness and excellence.  

 

The objective of the campaign was to educate and increase awareness about the water system and how it works.    

     

Icon Water understands that customers dislike getting bills as it seems arbitrary and unfair. By educating the public, Icon Water hopes customers will clearly understand the value for money they get from their water and sewerage bill.   

   

This campaign needed to solve two issues:   

  1. Consumers were unaware of how the number on the bottom of their bill gets decided. 

  2. Consumers felt powerless in a process they didn’t understand. 

'Our Prices' Website 2018, © Icon Water

To negate this, Icon ensured their campaign focused simultaneously on ​education and ​consultation​.   

   

To educate consumers on bill prices, Icon Water developed the ‘Our Prices’ website, revolutionising the way pricing information could be communicated to consumers. Research heavy text documents evolved into infographics, photos, animation, and video and the journey to reach these items was specifically crafted with the user in mind.  

 

Icon Water discovered Canberrans valued low bills over reliable supply and would rather risk slightly more outages than have prices go up. With this in mind, Icon Water were able to keep bills lower, and make this clear on their new website. This changed approach directly resulted from listening to the consumer, and having their opinion influence the operations of the business. Not many other businesses, let alone government-owned utility monopolies, have explored this space, and Icon Water were able to make this point of difference very clear in their continued community consultation programs.   

   

A campaign of this nature was new territory for Icon Water. In previous years, pricing proposals generated negative criticism in the media, due to lack of awareness around the pricing process. As a result, a measure of the success of the campaign was the way in which the submission was reported by the media. By using media as a marker, Icon Water noted that after the campaign there was minimal negative coverage and, in particular, significantly lower scrutiny around the price submission. Another large indicator was the public forum held shortly after the site was launched. Icon Water saw a notable shift in public perception as opposed to previous years. As a result of the campaign’s success, Icon Water wants to expand on this project for the next proposal.    

 

Icon Water’s prices remain among the lowest of comparable water utilities across Australia.