Quick Bite: Higher Power Electrical
Updated: Feb 2
I was in Avalon, New Jersey a little over a month ago and bore witness to some incredible design. Like, jaw-droppingly good brand identity. I may have to reconsider doing brand identity work, because, honestly, this is the peak.
We need to talk about Higher Power Electrical. Just look at this:
Now, I'm not saying I'm in love with the condensed Helvetica and Arial, but it's legible and gets the point across so I'm fine with it. THIS is what I really care about.
Let's break this down. At first glance, it's utility poles connected by power lines. But it's also the Three Crosses, representing the crucifixion integral to the Christian religion. And then the name. Higher Power. What a great multi-faceted pun! You can take it at surface level: electrical lines are physically above us. Dig a little deeper, and you get the concept of "a power greater than ourselves," used to refer to a conceptions of God in many religions.
Immediately you recognize the two main features of this company: electrical work and Christianity. It's a real power move. These aspects are fundamental to the brand. Their business is heavily based on their good customer service and family-run aspects, and they tie that in to their Christian faith. With that, their logo evokes a strong connection to the identity of the company.
"I founded this company upon Christian principles and am committed to providing professional, honest and reliable service to our customers." -- Frank Hannum, owner of Higher Power Electrical
Hannum's company immediately identifies itself as one that values its work as part of its faith. I'm always intrigued by brands that heavily rely on religion, politics, or other potentially inflammatory topics when its not intrinsically relevant to the service or product. It's an interesting aspect of a brand identity because it can potentially ostracize and narrow your client base. On the other hand, it could strengthen and improve referral rates and repeat business from customers who identify in a similar manner, or even in any capacity of religiousness. There's some serious pros and cons, but I think the chance of success in a religious-based business relies on the sincerity and—heh—faithfulness of the owner and client-facing employees.
With the United States being a mainly Christian hegemonic society, I don't think it's a particularly edgy or unsafe marketing play. In fact, it's not a bad thing at all to focus on a specific, ideal customer and keep a narrow concept of who that customer is. Especially regarding their good reviews, it seems like they do stay true to their mission of professional, honest, and reliable services. As of 2020, they had 12 employees and were described as a new business of two years or less , so they're doing pretty well. I'd venture to guess that some of that is thanks to the strength of their brand identity and how well their image sells their services.
On another note, looking into the religious demographics of Atlantic County, New Jersey, it's actually a lot more religiously diverse than I would have anticipated. I used data from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts surveys focused on religious census-style data. One of the metrics I looked at is the Religious Diversity Score (RDS), which is an "index [...] calculated so that a score of 1 signifies complete diversity—every religious group is of equal size—and a score of 0 indicates a complete lack of diversity and one religious group comprises the entire population of a given county" . Atlantic County has an RDS of 0.815. For comparison my county's RDS is 0.69, with double the residents, only one state away. Atlantic County falls slightly higher than average on this index, therefore having ever-so-slightly less percentage of Christian-identifying population. Its Christian population skews a bit more Catholic compared to the rest of country, and also has higher rates of Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and religiously unaffiliated Americans.
Now, I'm not trying to argue that anyone who identifies differently than Christian would decline to use a company's services because of their outward Christian identity. I'd argue it may deter some folks, so if you're looking to advertise an innately secular business as religious, I'd pay attention to demographics and ensure that the area you're in will support a thriving customer base. Obviously, you should look into market research or in some way acquire data to determine if your business will succeed in the area of your choosing. And if you're going to tie your business to a potentially conflict-riddled topic, make sure you actually stick by those beliefs and don't give people room to question them.
All in all, I think Higher Power Electrical has a good thing going for them. A great brand identity is a fantastic asset to a company. While I've never used this company and probably will never need electrical services in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, I really love the strength and (one last bad pun) power of their brand identity.
Let's just bask in this.