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Believing in the brand

By Dennis Hill

North Dakota’s electric cooperatives have supported the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives brand (see story, page 16) since it started 15 years ago. This co-brand distinguishes electric cooperatives from other electric utilities because of the way co-ops deliver electric service. The word itself, “touchstone,” means a measure of quality and value. We think it’s a fitting brand for a delivery model of member-owned, local, nonprofit electric cooperatives that exists solely to serve its members.

That quality and value is confirmed through the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which continues to rank Touchstone Energy Cooperatives higher for customer satisfaction than other utilities. The 2013 third-quarter ACSI scores show that Touchstone Energy Cooperatives scored an 83; the highest score of all electric networks in the nation.

Last fall, by combining resources of electric cooperatives across the country, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives developed the “Power of Co-op Membership” campaign. This campaign educates cooperative members on wise energy use, and teaches a new generation about the electric cooperative business model.

The new campaign features five core messages:  
The power of electricity – With today’s lifestyles more dependent than ever on electricity, cooperatives are embracing the innovations and new technologies necessary to deliver reliable and affordable electricity.
Everyday value – While so many essentials from housing to groceries have climbed significantly in price in recent years, electricity remains a strong value.  
Membership – Consumer-members can rest assured that key decisions about their electricity supply and delivery system are made with only their interests in mind.
Working together –Members will be encouraged to put a high priority on using electric energy wisely. The website will continue to offer a wealth of information on energy efficiency and conservation.
Connections – The Co-op Connections® Card is a service many Touchstone Energy Cooperatives are making available to members, which allows them to take advantage of discounted pricing from many local and national retailers. Check with your local electric cooperative to see if it’s available.

The “Power of Co-op Membership” education campaign uses multiple media platforms — including North Dakota Living — in this messaging. View the messages in the 30-second video clips below.

The Power of Membership Campaign

North Dakota’s electric cooperatives believe strongly in the Touchstone Energy Cooperative brand. Working for the benefit of our members, we believe our business model does bring the “power of human connections” to the marketplace — and helps improve the quality of life for our member owners.

Dennis Hill, editor-in-chief of North Dakota Living, is executive vice president and general manager of the North Dakota Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives, Mandan. Comments can be mailed to Dennis Hill, NDAREC, P.O. Box 727, Mandan, ND 58554-0727 or by email to


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