British Gas’s brand health worsens as profits swell

The strength of the British Gas brand is plummeting, according to new data, as the energy crisis deepens and consumers struggle with the rising cost of living.

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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.