The energy provider is relocating its 120-strong marketing team to the West Midlands where it will grow to include more insights, analytics and digital roles. It aims to recruit marketers who have a broader skillset beyond traditional marcomms and campaign management to reflect what it describes as the increasing importance of “customer insight initiatives”.
The company is also overhauling its communications strategy to expand the role of PR and social media in its daily interactions with billpayers. As part of the push, Npower will host more customer forums and events throughout the year to identify potential gaps where it can create new services and products.
Debbie Britton, director of customer marketing at Npower, told Marketing Week: “We didn’t have a brand team a year ago and since joining at the start of 2012 I’ve been changing the configuration of the wider marketing team so that we’re able to capitalise on the household data we’ll be able to get through the introduction of smart meters.”
The company says it is putting digital at the heart of a “step change” in its approach to build branding. Previously, it has focused on tactical campaigns where price has been the selling point, whereas now it claims there is a greater need to produce online content to help people understand their bills as well as develop its ecommerce offering.
The announcement comes ahead of a major campaign to promote Npower’s simplified bill service, unveiled earlier today (8 August). Promotions will also highlight its revamped lineup of tariffs, cut from seven to four, when it launches in October. Both initiatives are designed to limit the clutter for customers and reflect Npower’s goal of being number one for customer experience by 2015.
The reduction in tarrif numbers will chime with Government plans to prevent energy companies from offering more than four tariffs and automatically require them to move customers on to the cheapest deal. The majority of the big six firms have already made moves to reduce the number of tariffs they offer as well as offering price checking services.
Britton, says the measures will raise the need for brand building in the sector and demand for better education for consumers. She claims the company’s decision to dial down its sponsorship activity earlier this year was due to a need to educate people about the brand in a way they could not do through football and cricket.
Britton adds: “[Sponsorship] Was good for name awareness. Everybody knew the Npower name because they associated it with football or cricket. It was no longer fitting the role that it needed to. Even football isn’t universal across our target audience. Now its much more about developing activity that communicates what we as an energy provider delivers to consumers.”