British Gas ramps up communications to repair brand reputation

British Gas is stepping up its marketing activity in a bid to arrest its haemorrhaging brand reputation after coming under fire from both the energy regulator and consumers in recent weeks.

/c/k/i/BritishGas.jpg

Ofgem fined British Gas a massive £2.5m last week for the way it had mishandled complaints.

The utilities company also received a backlash from customers after it reported a £1.26bn profit in the six months to June but also announced a double digit percentage hike in the cost of bills.

British Gas’ “buzz” – the measure of positive of negative things said about the brand – was at -51.28 yesterday (1 August), down 9.03 points from the previous week, according to YouGov’s Brand Index, which scores brands’ public perception.

At its highest point this year, the company’s buzz was at just -4.3 – still below its rivals – in March.

British Gas’ buzz has now dropped to twice as low as rival Scottish Power, which became the first utilities company this year to announce a major bill price rise. Scottish Power’s buzz was at -22.68 yesterday, up slightly (0.31) on the previous week.

A spokeswoman for British Gas says the company is “not surprised” events of the past few weeks have dented its brand reputation.

She adds: “We [recognise] that, as a British company serving almost half the homes in Britain, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to help customers understand the issues around energy now and in the future.

“That’s why we’re at the forefront of getting energy technologies and efficiency measures into our customers’ homes – and we’ll continue to deliver communications that help people understand what’s on offer, what British Gas can do to help, and how customers can keep control of energy use in their homes and businesses.”

When British Gas reported a 24% rise in its full-year profit in February, the company took out full-page press ads across the tabloids and broadsheets in an attempt to reassure its customers that its record profits were “good for Britain”.

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here