Marketing People: Dermot Mulligan - Marketing controller, Bord Gais Energy
With over 730,000 residential and business customers, the Centrica-owned Bord Gais Energy operates in a very competitive market — with no fewer than 10 other utility companies competing head-to-head. Differentiating itself from the competition, however, has been key to the company's success, as Dermot Mulligan explains to John McGee.
Describe your role: As marketing controller, I have responsibility for the Bord Gais Energy brand, including marketing communications, digital, advertising, PR and sponsorship.
It’s a busy and challenging role, but I enjoy having the opportunity to consider new ways of communicating and engaging with our customers and the general public. I’ve been part of the marketing team at Bord Gais Energy for nine years, and we’ve seen a lot of change in that time.
What marketing challenges do you face?
The energy sector in Ireland is a busy place and marketing within the sector is demanding. There are now 10 companies with gas and electricity offerings for householders and there’s a constant challenge to stay ahead of the pack.
There are lots of offers with marketing activity often targeting the same customer groups. The reality and the challenge is that people aren’t thinking about energy so finding a way to get through to the customer is vital.
In a very competitive market, how do you get cut-through for the brand?
Bord Gais Energy is a customer-led business. Our brand positioning, as the helpful energy company, is central to how we operate. We use this position as a lens to judge everything we do in terms of the products we develop, our processes and the service we offer.
Our products are designed to offer great value for new and existing customers and our sponsorship and rewards programmes have been created to support our helpful position and to give something back to our loyal customers.
What marketing initiatives work best for the company?
We’re proud to have the largest and most successful energy Rewards Club in Ireland with over 300,000 members. The Bord Gais Energy Rewards Club was set up in 2012 as a way of rewarding customer loyalty and provides a great tool to communicate and engage with our customers. Our Rewards Club allows us to connect with customers in a meaningful way and to date we have given over €10m back to Rewards Club members.
Members can save money on groceries and energy through our Tesco partnership, avail of a wide range of offers for shows at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre and, through our partnership with the GAA, access tickets and enjoy match hospitality.
But Bord Gais Energy has always had a track record in innovation and we’re always looking for ways to help our customers. We disrupted the residential electricity market through the Big Switch; were the first to offer paperless billing and cashback; and we were the first energy company to develop a rewards programme.
Campaign of the Week: Blessed are the Homemakers
To mark its 30th anniversary and its four-year brand repositioning plan, the Grafton-owned Woodie’s has launched a new advertising campaign called ‘We’re all Homemakers’.
The cross-channel campaign, which was created by the Accenture Interactive-owned agency Rothco, explores modern Ireland and offers glimpses in to the DIY and homemaking needs of people around the country.
The campaign, which was shot in nine different locations, embraces TV, cinema and digital, as well as an online documentary video which celebrates the people and products that ‘make Woodie’s wonderful’. Media buying is being handled by Mindshare.
Sunday Indo Business