Sometimes a brand can go too far in one direction to ever change the public’s perception of them.
For years, Tesco went the direction of ‘the cheapest’ or ‘stack it high, sell it cheap’.
Lidl and Aldi entered the fray, Morrisons went with ‘cheap but fresh’, and Asda went with ‘low prices’.
Tesco ended up being ‘cheap and nasty’. They then had to spend £1 billion on a makeover; new packaging, staff training, new product lines … but it’s all come a bit late. They’re struggling at the moment (comparative to how they were doing).
The point is, they went too far in one direction for too long.
The energy companies now have a similar problem: they’re – by and large – viewed as money-grabbing, greedy, unethical, mercenary bastards.
However, they’re trying to run press adverts like these:
For most customers (not just of Npower, but energy companies in general), that last line – ‘it’s just one of the ways we’re standing up for customers’ – will stick in the craw.
These are companies who put their prices up during – surprise, surprise – the coldest months of the year.
These are companies who (certainly in the case of Npower), redirect their profits to Malta, to avoid paying tax.
Few people would view these ads as anything other than ingratiating PR – particularly when they step outside to an 18-degree spring day: a time when no-one is too bothered by offers from energy companies.
Npower, Eon, SSE, British Gas etc have all gone in one direction for too long. They’re not suddenly going to be seen in a positive light, no matter how much they spend on press ads.
Be careful with your own brand/company: don’t go in one direction for so long that you simply cannot change the public’s perception of you. If nothing else, it’ll cost you a fortune in advertising, trying to change things.