Parent company Centrica may have reported a five-fold increase in its operating profits last month, but the health of the British Gas brand is in long-term decline as customers struggle with the worsening energy crisis, new data reveals.
According to YouGov’s BrandIndex tool, British Gas’s index score – a measure of overall brand health – among its own customers plummeted 16 points between 1 January and 1 August this year, from a score of 17.9 to 1.9.
The energy brand fares no better among the public as a whole, with its score dropping from a neutral 0.0 to -9.3 over the same period.
Customers’ impression of the brand, a measure of overall sentiment, has fallen from a score of 23.4 to 10.5, while among the wider public the score has dropped from a slightly negative -0.7 to a firmly negative -10.1.
Value for money perceptions have also worsened among customers, despite a low starting point. British Gas’s score has slid an enormous 19.6 points downwards, from -3 to -22.6. For the public, the score has dropped from -12.4 to -25.2.
No wonder then that overall satisfaction among British Gas customers has collapsed from a strong score of 31.9 to just 10.2.
Earlier this week, consultancy Cornwall Insight forecast that annual energy bills will exceed £4,200 from January, and could rise as far as £4,426 in April. Consumer champion Martin Lewis has urged the government to develop an immediate action plan to support struggling households.
Meanwhile, in July Centrica reported operating profits of £1.34bn for the first half of 2022, up from £262m over the same period last year.
Yet, according to analysis conducted by Marketing Week earlier this year, British Gas isn’t the only energy firm to be taking a beating to its brand health. All of the ‘big six’ companies, plus up-and-comer Octopus Energy, have seen their index scores fall significantly since July last year, when energy companies first began to go bust amid soaring wholesale prices.