British Gas’s woes continue as it suffers further customer condemnation in the Marketing Week BrandIndex Best Brand Performers 2007 survey – coming bottom of 697 brands in four out of seven criteria.
Google is the best brand performer overall – for the second year. The search behemoth appears to be enjoying a golden age. Its growth continues as it seeks to shore up its position in the online display ad arena and spreads its tentacles beyond the internet with moves into TV and radio.
BG, which last week came under fire from consumer group Energywatch for a two-fold increase in customer complaints, ranks lowest in terms of "buzz" for the second year. In terms of consumers’ "general impression" of brands, British Gas also ranks lowest, falling 48 places and even sitting below fast-food "bad guy" McDonald’s.
The utility giant also ranks worst in the "value" category – where consumers perceive a brand and/or its services to be good or poor value for money. It ranks bottom in the "satisfaction" category. In terms of "quality" it has been rated fourth from bottom, while it came third from bottom in the "recommend" criterion. The category where BG did not rank among the worst ten brands, was "corporate reputation".
British Gas’s poor rankings are another indication of widespread consumer consternation after a year of continued price hikes. But it is worth noting that these rises were across the sector and BG may have suffered from consumers’ negativity towards the sector as a whole.
Financial services brand First Direct was also dealt a blow in the Marketing Week BrandIndex survey.
The brand fell by 171 places in the overall BrandIndex, negatively affected by problems at parent company HSBC, but mainly feeling the impact of its decision in November last year to levy charges for current account customers.