Electricity group ready for switch

London Electricity is reviewing its brand identity in preparation for the industry’s full deregulation in 1998. Development and repositioning of the company is being handled by Newell and Sorrell in an initial six-month, six-figure project.

By 1998 domestic and small business users will be free to choose their electricity supplier. Similar branding issues will need to be addressed with the deregulation of gas companies, starting this April.

“Our brand, product and corporate proposition has to be exactly right to ensure that we continue to be successful up to and beyond 1998,” says a London Electricity spokesman.

“Brand identity will become increasingly important in the utility industries as full competition becomes a reality,” says Newell and Sorrell chairman John Sorrell. “London Electricity is using this review to ensure its proposition differentiates itself in a crowded market place,” he adds.

The consultancy won a four-way credentials and proposals pitch against Interbrand, Sampson Tyrrell and CLK.

Other electricity companies are facing the issues of rebranding a regional company to compete nationally. Eastern Electricity is aware of the struggle to reach fresh customers in the new deregulated market, but questions whether the costs of rebranding can be justified. “The establishment of a national brand identity needs enormous investment,” says head of sales and marketing Peter Bennell. “How do you pay for your brand development?”

A Norweb spokesman says it is “too early to say” whether the group will reconsider its identity.

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