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The energy supplier winter advertising battle

big 6 energyWith a growing number of energy suppliers these days, they’re finding it harder and harder to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack.

So while the temperatures are dropping and the dark days are drawing in, suppliers are thrashing it out to boost their customer numbers, with advertising at the core of their strategy.

So how do you advertise energy, which in all honesty, is a commodity that consumers are loath to pay for? Especially in a market where customers are distrustful of energy suppliers especially after the big six received such bad press earlier in the year with claims of overcharging.

Judging by the latest ads, innovation, brand recognition, humour and a mascot are the keys to success. Innovative products have become more and more popular, with customers wanting to be able to control their power usage remotely while a strong brand also seems to resonate with potential prospects.

But how to make people remember your advert has to fall to humour and a memorable character to promote your brand.

Robert Salmon from Thebrandwalk, a brand consultancy firm explains:

“Cartoons and mascots are used as walking talking metaphors for the brand and help customers to connect with the utility in a different way”.

A cute penguin from British gas, an animated EDF flame or a real-life orangutan from SSE, encourage people to feel positively about the brand, deterring them from attaching any previous poor customer experiences to the character.

Comparethemarket is a superb example of this, with the British public embracing the characters, inspiring trust in the business and clamouring to own their very own meerkat.

The mascot technique serves as a great way to make people remember your services and if a free toy is offered then acquisition figures go up. After watching him dance around in the freezer on the ads, who doesn’t want a ‘zingy’ EDF flame on their desk?!

But what about those businesses that have taken a different tact? Eon have focused their campaign on customer service rather than using a character. Head of marketing Daren Carter explains:

“For a while we have had a brand essence around the customer being at the heart of what we want to do, but also it’s our staff members that really bring that to life. We are not using a gimmick or mascot to deliver the message, we are trying to use a representation of what customers will experience with us.”

While the idea is inspiring, customers may view it as an empty promise or as a service they expect, rather than it being a real selling point. Luckily, Eon backed up their message on using smart prepayments with humour to grab people’s attention and engage customers.

Ovo use a similar method to market their prepayment product.

While you may question the effectiveness of energy ads, there is a visible spike in website activity after they have been shown proving that the public are swayed by a good advert.

Whatever supplier you’re looking at this winter, take the time to compare their prices as well as their customer service. For free and impartial advice on which supplier to choose or for an instant business energy quote, give Business Juice a call on 0800 051 5770, email us at or use our contact form.






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