We've talked in a previous blog-post about the "Brand Match" scheme from Sainsbury's, wondering if the current culture of price comparison will soon give way to a situation where companies carry out the hard work on our behalves and then proactively demonstrate the better value that they represent.
In this context, we note with interest the recent advertising activity from EDF Energy for its "Blue +Price Promise". Under the initiative, EDF says it will tell its customers if any of its competitors are offering better tariffs and that it won't charge them if they then wish to change suppliers accordingly. On its website, EDF thus offers a guarantee that “From the moment you complete your move to Blue +Price Promise, we'll let you know if a competitor or EDF Energy launches a product that's more than £1 cheaper per week”.
Should EDF find itself being out-priced, it claims that customers will receive letters or emails within 10 days of it learning about the more competitive option. And to give the process an air of transparency and impartiality, prices are monitored by PricewaterhouseCoopers (so that customers “don’t just have to take our word for it").
With the company also guaranteeing that its current prices will be maintained until 2013, that customers will receive monthly rewards as part of its “Thank yous” scheme and that the electricity it supplies comes from “low-carbon generation”, it seems clear that our Transparency, Demanding Consumers and Maximising Behaviour trends have lost none of their potency in the early 10s.
But this is a development which also speaks very strongly to our emerging End of Inefficiency trend - which suggests that, at least in relatively low-interest sectors, consumers may soon find themselves willing to hand over a degree of control to third-party systems guaranteed to find them the best deals. Does EDF's scheme show, then, how brands might be able to interrupt this trend by championing their own efficiency? And does it give further proof that we're heading towards "Price Comparison 2.0", where the impetus falls on brands rather than consumers? We'd love to hear your thoughts.