Long-Term Agency Partnership 2021

Since 2010, Powershop and MBM’s partnership has stood the test of time. With 15 awards under their belt as a duo, the success of this relationship is worth bragging about.

A powerful partnership

The challenge

In 2009, emerging challenger brand Powershop set out to give power back to Kiwis through a different way of buying power. Powershop had no awareness and the gentailers had 100 percent, so they set out to develop a distinctive brand, assert their position as the dominant challenger, and change people’s expectations of utility-based relationships. The brand needed a media and channel strategy to help them punch above their weight. In 2010, Powershop and MBM fortuitously found each other. Ready to shake up their respective categories, the two partnered up. 

Since the start, the partnership has been about investing in each other’s success and challenging the classic client and agency mindset model. 

The response

Powershop runs a hybrid resourcing structure, which could scare a lot of agencies, but not MBM. MBM sets the media strategy, Powershop sets the social strategy, and they operate under a dual implementation model. When overflow is needed, MBM jumps in. MBM sometimes even attend Powershop’s internal performance meetings. 

Early on the duo focused on mobile first, prospecting and propensity modelling. The market was shifting and people’s media consumption had broadened, so they moved onto storytelling. As well as early adoption of social to turn customers into fans, Powershop was the first MBM client to run a YouTube Masthead. In 2013, Powershop delivered an episodic sequential online video strategy using political figures. As the brand matured, they accelerated their focus on experience. Launching on Valentine’s Day, Powershop made themselves part of the conversation throughout the day. From dying the Sunday Star Times pink, to sending Instagrammable break up cakes and following audience with episodic screen delivery, Powershop gave people reasons to switch. 

The result

Powershop has stepped from niche to mass awareness and favourability, moving from four percent to 68 percent awareness in 11 years. By April 2020, Powershop was ranked sixth overall on all ICPs, making them the biggest energy retailer outside of the five gentailers. Powershop’s goal was to hit 100,000 customers by 2032. On December 31, 2010 they had 8,189 customers. By April 23, 2021 they celebrated their 100,000th customer, a number they thought they wouldn’t achieve until August 2032. They’ve gone from an early adopter brand to one appealing to a broader majority, while navigating the emergence of the likes of Electric Kiwi and FlickElectric and competition going up 173 percent over 10 years. And yet, they keep growing. The last 12 months has contributed to a 16 point growth. 

Powershop maintains strong positive social sentiment and has received the Canstar Blue Award for Most Satisfied Customers six years in a row. To top it off, Powershop is stealing share from the gentailers and new entrants, a direct result of the sustained success of MBM and Powershop’s long term partnership.  

Category: Long-Term Agency Partnership

Partner Companies: Powershop, MBM

Judges’ Comments: “Congratulations team MBM and Powershop on a longstanding relationship. These are gold within the industry. It’s clear to see long-term strategic collaboration and a true partnership that’s well embedded. From an agency perspective, MBM have delivered many years of consistency for the Powershop business. A continued approach to taking a distinctive and differentiated creative and media lens has clearly been successful for the partnership.”

This article was first published in the 2021 December/January issue of NZ Marketing magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine, here. Or read the other winner stories, here.

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