Ovo turns to real-time marketing to exploit spotlight on industry

Challenger energy brand Ovo’s future marketing efforts will use real-time planning as part of a wider bid to dominate the media spotlight around high utility bills.

Ovo to make Vine videos, apps and posts from influencers a bigger part of its day-to-day marketing.

The energy provider plans to use the spotlight on the industry to its advantage by crafting regular, co-ordinated opportunities to appear on the side of customers with its lower prices. It has developed a strategy to pounce on the relevant moments by adopting a more flexible approach to content creation and budgeting.

It centres on a model, created by Unique Digital, where interaction points are anticipated in advance allowing for business goals, strategies, teams and approvals to be aligned accordingly. Live Q&As to tie in with anticipated media appearances, Vine videos, apps and posts from influencers will become a bigger part of the brand’s day-to-day marketing in the coming months. By appearing more spontaneous and in-tune with the gripes of homeowners, Ovo hopes to convert more customers into brand advocates.

The fledgling brand does not have the media budgets of the Big Six to attract customers and so hopes to encourage switching through word-of-mouth. It tested the approach last November when it claims to have boosted engagement and created sales leads around chief executive Stephen Fitzpatrick’s appearances on TV through a mix of curated content and paid media.

Ovo has spent the last 12 months wooing potential customers with what it claimed was an “always on” approach to brand management. However, those promotions spoke to the more traditional one-way communication model and were unable to push the brand to new audiences at scale.

Real-time marketing is a discipline FMCG brands have honed in recent years. However, the energy sector has been reluctant to follow for fear of leaving themselves exposed to growing customer anger. British Gas brought these fears to the surface last year when disgruntled customers hijacked its Twitter Q&A, sparking negative media coverage. 

The energy sector is scrambling to improve its communications amid competition reforms and growing customer distrust. British Gas is set to use content marketing to bring consistency between its campaigns and customer service activity, while SSE is creating a marketing academy to improve brand building.

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