While sitting on a patio downtown last night, a Westar Energy trucked rolled past. Instinctively, I said, “Hey, that’s one of my trucks.”
No, I don’t own an electrical utility, but I am proud of a little project I directed a few summers ago.
Most people don’t think of their electric company until the lights go out. Then, it’s all they can think about because life is interrupted significantly. If an outage occurs because of a storm, the sight of a white service truck is like a knight riding to the rescue.
Westar’s trucks are no different than most other utility service vehichles. They’re stock white and are customized with accessories needed to perform work in all conditions. But Westar’s vehicles are different in that they always are meticulously clean and carefully tended, even to the point that crews in other states compliment Westar’s linemen.
When I was asked to come up with ideas to make the trucks stand out and better fit the new brand look we developed, I wanted to talk to the crews first. Everyone said they liked the trucks just the way they were and wouldn’t change a thing. These guys might love NASCAR, but they didn’t want their work trucks to look NASCAR.
The best solution was to do just enough, but not too much: Running 10-inch wide blue vinyl stripes across the hood and on the roof.
This worked on every vehicle—from pickup to boom truck to digger derrick to sedan—and it unified the fleet in a simple, smart way that was noticeable from a mile away. We also used reflective logos on the sides for immediate recognition at night.
The graphics weren’t pretentious, nor did they look expensive, which is a big deal for a company who measures success by customer sentiment.
The best part of my job is solving problems in simple ways. This solution drives through my neighborhood every week, just so I don’t forget.