CHARGE meets Matt Teske, Founder / CEO of Chargeway – part 2.

As we approach CHARGE North America (18-19 May), we’ve been asking our top speakers and partners to reveal their approach to branding in energy. In this article, we speak to Matt Teske, Founder / CEO, Chargeway about branding and communications in the EV sector   

  1. What is the general perception of the brand within your business versus how it was a few years ago? How has it changed, and what are your hopes for your brand in the next few years?

When first developing Chargeway as both a software platform and brand we were looking toward the future of EVs and the public. Through our own experience as EV owners, as well as my personal experience in branding and marketing within the auto sector, we understood that a positive ownership experience with an EV was less about the car and more about the fuel. When we started out four years ago it was clear that we were unique in our strategic approach with our software and how we were positioning our brand with both the industry and public. While many in the industry recognized the value of our approach most EV buyers were still “early adopters” who were self-educated and interested in the engineering details of EVs.

Fast-forward to 2023 and a lot has changed. There are now dozens of new EV options to purchase from various auto brands, inviting a wider array of buyers to the EV market. More utilities are realizing their place in the EV ecosystem as fuel providers; thus, they have a need to communicate the value of their brand and programs effectively to both consumers and the auto sector. Through the growth in the EV industry in North America a great deal of competition within both vehicles and charging has emerged, which has created a complicated ownership landscape for the public to navigate. This has added a great deal of value to Chargeway as both a brand and software solution.

From the outset Chargeway was branded to define what a positive EV ownership experience requires: Everyone will need to know the “way to charge”. Both our brand and software were designed with intent to make the charging experience easy to understand. We are now seeing our research and hard work pay off with many new utility partner programs launching throughout the country and we have doubled our user base on our mobile platform every year since we started. As a brand we were early in identifying this customer experience need with EVs, so it is very rewarding to see growing interest in our solution as the EV industry grows. We are very excited for the next few years.

  1. What lessons have you learned about simplifying complex concepts/technologies for branding and communications?

This question makes me think of a quote by American songwriter Woody Guthrie: “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”

New technologies are inherently complicated, and they require very talented engineers to bring them to life. If new technology was simple to develop, anyone could have, so it requires a certain level of expertise and experience to make it work. The same holds true for communication: it requires a certain level of expertise and experience to make it work.

I believe one of the most important lessons I have learned through our work at Chargeway while simplifying EV charging is to understand who the customer is in every moment. Our software is designed to simplify EV charging for the public, thus making how to communicate the details of EV charging easier. However, many of the engineering experts who have helped bring the EV industry to where it is today highly value the technical details. Thus, our communication strategy within the industry and outside of the industry are often not the same. We need to be able to translate value of our platform and brand to two very different audiences while ensuring we provide value in both our B2B relationships as well as our B2C relationships.

So, while our platform translates and visualizes the complexities of EV charging effectively through software, how we communicate the value of our brand is not one size fits all. The value we offer to our B2B partners is how we translate their technology and make it valuable with B2C relationships. This requires bridging a large gap between different ways of thinking and communicating, which is as complex as our software. Understanding this communication process to ensure our technology can be effectively used has been a vital lesson in how humans think and respond differently even within the same product ecosystem. 

Chargeway has developed a comprehensive software solution that simplifies how drivers will navigate the intersection of electric utilities and the auto industry. Their focus is on the customer experience with electricity as a fuel and how it is unique to every driver based on a variety of factors starting first with the electric vehicle (EV) they choose to own. Their software interface translates plug types and power levels of EV charging into simple colors and numbers, creating an easy and transparent way for anyone to understand how EV charging works for any EV on the road. This creates a “driver first” approach where we customize the user experience of EV charging in our software to everyone individually, as opposed to forcing the public learn and navigate the complexities of EV ownership on their own.

Matt Teske | LinkedIn