PR 'trumps advertising' for public choosing energy supplier

Positive media coverage and a good reputation in the press appear to be more influential than good advertising for consumers choosing their next energy company, according to research by a new renewable energy specialist.

App-based renewable energy provider Pure Planet surveyed 2,000 British adults on what factors influenced their choice of supplier, as part of its 'People & Power' report.

Nearly half (45 per cent) said they thought advertising would not influence them, compared with 24 per cent saying the same about favourable news stories.

However, the factors most likely to steer consumers' energy choices are the likelihood of saving money, followed by better customer service - just three and six per cent of respondents rated these as unimportant.

Pure Planet said Energy UK data shows that in 2017, more than 5.5m customers changed energy providers, the highest figure since 2013.

Recent research by Reputation Institute, reported in PRWeek last month, found that energy companies are viewed as the least ethical by the public.

Steven Day, who co-founded Pure Planet last year, said: "With customers leaving the 'Big Six' [energy suppliers] in their millions, it’s clear that another year of negative press surrounding sub-standard service has not gone down well the public. There is now an opportunity for new brands with fresh thinking and a modern approach to become an antidote to the broken business model of the Big Six."

The agency Goldbug, which was known as Up Communications until 2016, has provided PR to Pure Planet since its launch last year.

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