Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/05/power_company_meltdown/

NZ power company decimated by rebranding madness

Whalesong and joss-stick induced meltdown

By Lester Haines

Posted in Bootnotes, 5th September 2006 11:58 GMT

LogoWatch LogoWatch regulars among you know that the symptoms of rebranding madness (the process by which companies pay suitcases full of cash to Strategy Boutiques who then, high on the scent of joss-sticks and to the distant sound of whalesong, fearlessly redefine the corporate brand frontage paradigm) range from light motivational slogan generation (Accelerate Convergence!), to full-blown infection wherein thousands of hours are expended at the flipchart flowcharting the company logo to better express the "value proposition it represents to constituents".

Rebranding the logo is not, however, always present in the most serious outbreaks. Never has this been better demonstrated than by recent events at New Zealand state-owned power outfit Mighty River Power which, through its retail tentacle Mercury Energy, generates and distributes around 20 per cent of New Zealand's power.

Of course, Mighty River Power would like 25 per cent of the market. Or 30. Or 50. Accordingly, management recently spent a weekend of "intensive meditation and dope-smoking" during which they formulated their Satanic plan to shape the company's "path for the future". The result has been dubbed "Positive Charge". One extract from the declaration subsequently inflicted on hapless employees sums it all up:

There is energy in who we are and how we work. Our culture is motivated by wanting to see the good side to, and the potential in, every circumstance. Motivation, energy and positivity enable us to deliver an exceptional level of service. Working with our customers in this way is vitally important - it makes them feel at ease with us and with what we do for them. Their ease requires our energy. And our energy needs to be continually positively charged."

At this point, experts have confirmed, the rebranding madness could have been contained to management by airlifting the whole top floor to a dedicated deprogramming facility where former paratroopers beat patients with BlackBerrys while sobbing CTOs and CEOs drink their own urine at gunpoint and tear out sheeps' throats with their teeth before being forced to participate in a humiliating naked "Fight Club" ritual where they are matched against bare-knuckle fighting gypsies.

Chillingly, though, this is no longer an option for Mighty River Power, since the plague has now spread to the lower orders. Initial symptoms are pretty textbook: sudden unexplained enthusiasm for Positive Charge manifesting itself in the overwhelming desire to adopt the lotus position and post inspirational poetry on the company's intranet.

Please note that, for reasons of safety, the examples below have been enclosed in El Reg's proprietary "quarantine" tags. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES remove these tags, unless you want your entire staff high-fiving around a Powerpoint presentation and a-whoopin' and a-hollerin' about "paradigm-shifting synergies":

<quarantine>

Title: We are Motivated - You Can Be Too

Roses are red, violets are blue
When the hard yards are called for - we will come through
Mercury's colours are yellow and blue.

Chorus: We are motivated - you can be too!

Row, row, row your boat gently 'Downstream'
Focused on achievement we work as a team
The purpose of recycling is to cut down on reams.

Chorus: We are motivated - you can be too!

Incy wincy spider climbed up the spout
Calls coming in and calls going out
Customer service is what it's all about.

Chorus: We are motivated - you can be too!

Mary had a little lamb
Mercury has a hydro dam
The best power company in all the land!

Chorus: We are motivated - you can be too!

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Regardless of setbacks, with projects we stick
Can't think of a rhyme - I feel like a dick!

Chorus: We are motivated - you can be too!

Title: Positive Mercury

We come here today
To share something in a positive way
Unless you want to go away.

Chorus: Positive Mercury!

We relentlessly look for a way
For customers to have their say
We will help you any time of the day
For we work in a proactive way.

Chorus: Positive Mercury!

We have to follow the Privacy Act
Cause if not, we will get the sack
The next is the Fair Trading Act
Where penalties and liabilities are a fact.

Chorus: Positive Mercury!

No matter how you think in your way
We always delight you every day
Plus - we finish our work day by day.

Chorus: Positive Mercury!

We take the initiative and follow it thorough
Because that's what we're here to do
So pick up the phone and call us soon!

Chorus: Positive Mercury!

</quarantine>

Sadly, this tragic case of rebranding madness has, literary experts believe, gone so far that there is little alternative but to sanitise all of Mighty River Power's offices and facilities. The company's IT department is accordingly warned that it has about two hours to get a minimum of 25 miles from the servers before stealth aircraft bearing nuclear weapons do the decent thing. ®