Tuesday, February 15, 2011

E.on's doublespeak

A company isn't just your average food or service provider. A company with a good marketing strategy wants to get into your heart. And stay in your heart.

When I was working in market research, I did surveys on energy providers. One of the questions that I asked interviewees: "On a scale between 0 and 10, to what extent do you consider XYZ an attractive energy provider?"

One energy provider just went from 8 to 2 on my scale. E.on used to be an attractive energy provider, active beyond the provision of electricity and gas. It integrated local communities into saving schemes and participated in the DESERTEC project in Northern Africa.

But last year, the Düsseldorf-based company funded climate change deniers in the US election campaign, and this year they are paying people to spy on environmental campaigners in the UK.

Not a smart move. E.on wants to be more than an energy provider, and it will be judged on that. Such a series of faux pas tarnishes the shiny image of the enterprise. It had better not get caught red-handed again.

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