Npower: 'We needed to earn the right to engage with customers'

Npower: moving away from price-focused marketing
Npower: moving away from price-focused marketing

Npower is preparing a major marketing drive to convey what it describes as a new, "customer-centric" approach to business.

The energy brand has appointed McCann Manchester as its lead creative agency, with a significant consumer campaign expected over the next six months.

The aim of the campaign will be to drive a new brand positioning, distinguishing Npower from its "pack" of rivals, such as British Gas, E.On and EDF Energy. The overall strategy has been developed with branding agency Interbrand.

It follows a quiet 18 month for Npower – last year, its adspend dropped to just £3m, according to figures from Nielsen, compared to an annual spend of more than £8m in 2011.

Debbie BrittonMarketing director Debbie Britton (right), who joined the company from insurer Axa in January 2012, told Marketing that the company needed to "earn the right" to have a dialogue with consumers.

She said: "We’ve been working really hard over the last 12 months to fix the basics.

""Nobody is going to love energy companies, but what we want to earn is the right to be trusted and respected. Until the reputational side has been rebuilt, you don’t even earn the right to engage in that way.

"We've had to turn around a lot of things, and we’re now in a position where we are doing that and putting the customer at the heart of our business. That gives us an opportunity to shape what we say externally, and it won’t just be about the latest offers or prices."

Lack of understanding

Under the guidance of previous marketing director Kevin Peake, Npower had dedicated a large portion of its marketing budget to sports sponsorship properties, such as domestic Test cricket and a three-year deal as title sponsor of the Football League, which expired this summer.

Our challenge is to build a brand that is recognised for its own personality in the market.

Britton argued that the brand’s previous "me-too" approach had led to a lack of understanding from consumers: "[In the energy sector] you put your hands over the logo and you just cannot tell them apart. That’s where we were as a sector and therein lays our challenge – to build a brand which has distinction that is recognised for its own personality in the market."

The positioning will be rolled out internally over the coming months, to create a "consistent" tone of voice across all customer touchpoints, as part of Npower’s plan to become the "number-one" brand in its sector for customer service by the end of 2015.

Britton said: "We think we’re on to a brand proposition which has a long life. You only do this once, ideally, for a number of years. I think we’ve got something that we can get behind as an organisation."


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers