In their usual field of action, the incumbent energy suppliers have only one option in front of the opening and liberalization of the market : losing market shares. Their goal is, of course, to lose as little as possible.
How to do ? What experiences can shed light on the question?
In all European countries, four main strategies are followed to attack them:
Historical suppliers are attacked on several fronts simultaneously. It is therefore difficult to cope by following several directions at a time and being credible on several subjects at once.
The multiplication of energy offerings is not enough. The Dutch market is providing some ideas for action as the main suppliers have developed multi-brand strategies to counter the aggressiveness and performance of specialized suppliers.
Indeed, Greenchoice has grown in the Netherlands by successfully developing energy offers of 100% renewable origin and Budget Energie offers, with a digital customer interface, very competitive offers.
How did the historical suppliers organize themselves to effectively counter these energy offers?
Essent, a subsidiary of the German group RWE, has developed 2 brands
Eneco has developed 3 brands
Nuon, a subsidiary of Vattenfall, has developed 2 brands:
These examples allow to consider differently the markets in which dominant historical players have not, from my point of view, taken the measure of the threats or think of facing an underestimated competition, in a traditional and monolithic way.
The Dutch experience shows options to consider, offering more market readability, but we can regret less diversity and less inventiveness of B2B brand strategies compared to B2C brand strategies: it is very likely that this gap is quickly filled.
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Eric Morel is a worldwide recognised expert of energy transition and digitalisation. In the past, he has served as VP Corporate Business Strategy and VP Global Smart Grids and Energy Efficiency at Schneider Electric as well as CEO of Ilevo, a telecommunication start-up. He is a founding member and a former Board member of the Gridwise Alliance, the main professional private/public association dedicated to Smart Energy.