Gas companies review brands

Gas companies are in the throes of reviewing their branding as the Government erodes British Gas’s monopoly and allows suppliers to compete for domestic users.

A pilot scheme in south west England begins in April when Amerada Hess, Total, Sweb Gas and Calortex will be able to compete with British Gas to supply 500 000 homes.

“Previously there was no call to have a brand,” says Amerada marketing director Malcolm Breton, adding that now “we have definite branding opportunities”.

In an environment where competitors cannot be defined in terms of product, some suppliers like Total have the advantage of a “natural brand because of a high-street presence”, Breton adds.

Amerada introduced a logo designed by IQ Marketing’s in-house team two years ago when it was able to target industrial users.

In the review of their branding strategy, gas companies favour taking on marketing or ad agencies which may then develop a logo. Texaco and Calor Gas’s joint venture Calortex, formed to take on British Gas in the domestic market, has an identity by ad agency IMP being launched next week.

A British Gas spokesman says the company is gearing up to meet the challenge and is already developing “innovative and dynamic designs and ideas” using “a range of design consultancies and doing a lot in-house”.

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