CHARGE meets Monique Berntsen, Head of Brand & Communication at Mer Group

As we approach CHARGE Europe (23-24 October), we’ve been asking our top speakers and partners to reveal their approach to branding in energy. In this article, we speak to Monique Berntsen, Head of Brand & Communication, Mer Group

  • What impact does ESG have on brand identity now, and how important will it be in the future?
    ESG is definitely a hygiene factor as we see it – one thing is for the brand identity itself, but another is in the business strategy. They are codependent, and need to be deeply anchored in the company and employees, to be genuine and effective. After all – it’s a matter of improving the way of doing business, for both people and the planet. 

  • What specific challenges is your company facing in regards to ESG and what is important to focus on to enhance your marketing and stakeholder management?
    When it comes to communications, it’s definitely the balancing act of talking about what we are doing and what we aspire to achieve, without the pitfall of greenwashing. I’m glad that greenwashing has such a high focus in both the industry and the general public – to really hold the companies accountable and make sure they are walking the talk. 

  • How is your company responding to rising user expectations and aligning them with your ESG strategy?
    I think our position in the market is quite unique, as we are both born and raised sustainably, so to speak. And with this heritage, we are internally driven to raise the bar in the industry. Although we are enabling the electric mobility revolution and providing 100% renewable energy in our public charging infrastructure – we strive for more. To do even better. And not just in our own backyard (scope 1 and 2) – but also set high targets for our indirect impacts (scope 3). 

  • What are the first 3 ingredients that go into a successful communications recipe?
    I’ll go for our brand principles, which navigates us through the various communication efforts: positive, powerful and practical. 

  • What lessons have you learned about simplifying complex concepts/technologies for branding and communications?
    Start with the most important thing at the very beginning – and without fluffy words. Then fill it out with deeper explanation and information. You never know if the audience just wants the yes/no or if they are more curious as to why. I see it almost like a drawing, where you start with the outline – and follow up with the colouring. And top it off by making it relatable for your audience, with some examples from real life. 

    One example: some customers are wondering why we are recommending to stop charging after 80%. In addition to explaining that the car will slow down the charging speed to protect the battery, we say that it is almost like fitting 1000 people in a cinema. While the first 800 quickly will find their seats, the last 200 will take some time to find theirs. Just like the last 20% of the electrons will take their time to find their place in the battery (and heating up meanwhile). 

  • If you were to capture the best communications advice that you’ve ever received as a 5-7 word presentation slide title what would that be?
    Such a cliché – but: Keep it simple (and fun)!

Monique is really looking forward to meeting other highly skilled brand and communications professionals to share knowledge and experience on this topic at CHARGE. Monique is also looking forward to bringing Mer on a stage like CHARGE – being quite a young brand, they’re quite excited that their hard work has been recognized!