BfG News Issue 11 - Expert View: Greening the Energy Industry

01 Apr 2008|Added Value

keith fletcher(2)Each month News invites an expert to give us their view on a topical issue.  This month we approached one of our expert speakers at the ‘Green 2.0:  Avoid the Greenwash’ summit in March this year – Keith Fletcher, Propositions Manager, E.ON UK, to share the challenging journey of a brand in a ‘dirty’ industry.  

Over the last two years, E.ON has been moving. But much more than a renaming exercise (Powergen to E.ON) – we want to be a challenger brand. Not to the big dominant player British Gas but to challenge the industry itself. And that is a big objective.

So, what was the most important thing on this journey? The Rules of Engagement document; writing down and defining everything the product was and everything the product was not.  This has enabled us to internally and externally (with stakeholders and NGOs) define & structure the debates that quite rightly come when developing such emotive propositions. We also cemented success criteria in the business case in terms of brand tracking, low losses, and customer experience through informed customer service. We are continuing to work on this product throughout 2008, improving and attacking the channels where this is selling well and boosting the sales that way. “

So, what does E.ON stand for? Our initial aim was to confirm to the UK public our environmental credentials. We measured where we were in terms of environmental tracking. British Gas, the dominant player, will always take a position in the market place but over the last year, we’ve narrowed that gap significantly through our campaigns. But of course it’s not just about the campaigns, or the money you spend on those campaigns, but the substance behind them. It’s about getting the right offers to existing & new customers and campaigning in the right way. Hence the proposition development process is about understanding what your customers want. Don’t guess. Even if you think you understand, research it. A further essential is to understand where ‘green’ sits.  What do our customers think is changing energy? 

Green and the environmental credentials scored very highly as the definition of changing energy. Added Value helped us, through research, to create a hierarchy of what customers wanted from us, in terms of their attitudes and needs, by way of a market map. The final piece of the proposition development jigsaw was idea generation which only works with strict evaluation. We had criteria in terms of strategic fit, brand fit, financial fit and do-ability. There is no point in developing a proposition if it’s going to stranglehold your organisation. It needs to be there, it needs to be deliverable, it needs to be in your customer-facing ad and easy to explain.

That is where our ‘Go Green’ product was born. It’s 100% green electricity; renewable electricity, sourced from wind and hydro. It also has measures to reduce consumption, because there’s no point off-setting everyone’s guilt and saying, “Don’t worry about anything”, there has to be a responsibility taken by the customer and that’s about educating and informing them on how they can reduce their consumption.

It was important that the link between service and green was very clean, that we provided an online channel, an eco-friendly channel, no paper bills, and U.K call centres. We also provided customers with an ongoing loyalty review and they receive Green Tesco Clubcard points for each fuel they consume (gas & electricity). An important insight from customer research was: keep it clear, keep it simple, don’t complicate and make it competitive in terms of price.

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