It was 15 years ago next month that the national brand for America’s electric cooperatives was officially launched — and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives have come a long way in that relatively short amount of time.
“It truly has been remarkable,” said Jim Bausell, chief operating officer. “Really, 15 years in the brand-building world is basically still in the infancy stage. Yet, when you look at how we’ve grown in that time, it’s almost mind boggling.”
In that short amount of time, the brand has grown to include 741 member co-ops in 46 states — including Tri-State, 43 of its member systems and the statewide associations in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.
“While our membership has experienced steady growth of the years, so have the number of programs, products and services that we have developed for use by the co-ops to educate and communicate with their member-owners — as well as assist them in using electricity more wisely to save them money,” Bausell said.
Newly-appointed NRECA board president Curtis Nolan, who represents an Arizona electric co-op and its G&T, recently voiced his support of the national branding program. “I urge all co-ops to take advantage of this occasion and focus on what the brand has to offer in telling your story and helping your consumer-members learn about energy efficiency and keeping electric bills affordable,” Nolan said.
Tri-State serves as the regional representative for 43 of its member systems that are Touchstone Energy Cooperatives. As such, it coordinates regional advertising and sponsorship efforts, communications initiatives and educational opportunities — helping the co-ops to integrate and implement the brand’s core values and characteristics into their day-to-day activities.
Among the most successful regional partnerships that the G&T has coordinated over the years are the sponsorship of the Touchstone Energy draft horse hitch at the annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, as well as the involvement in the annual Country Cares radiothon on KYGO radio that supports the work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
A number of events are planned across the country throughout 2013 to mark and celebrate the 15th anniversary milestone. You can read more about the birth of the brand in the spring issue of Tri-State’s quarterly magazine, Network, which will be published in early April.