The Mobile team debate what kind of effect the network's Power Bar recall will have.
Zak Garner-Purkis says… short term pain, long term GAIN
How many people knew what an EE power bar was after they were launched at Glastonbury 2014? Those who used the service, maybe some of their friends. It’s a decent number, but it doesn’t compare to the masses who know about them now.
There is a reason why the cliché ‘there is no such thing as bad publicity’ is so worn out, because so often it’s true. In the case of the EE power bar the press attention surrounding the lack of stock, malfunctioning bars and the recall has generated far more interest than if everything had gone to plan. Is that a bad thing? Well in the short term yes, but in the long term it could prove beneficial to the network.
More people now know what a power bar is, they are aware of the connected product category and use their local EE store as a service centre. EE’s reaction to the event could be profitable in the long run. Effected customers will be given a £20 accessories voucher to spend in-store.
This money will no doubt be invested in a range of products that will add to the brands goal of selling more connected products than phones by 2020. It also gives the operator a chance to wow customers with its in-store service and turn the whole situation into a positive. In the short term, the brand will get a few PR related bloody noses. But in the long run more consumers will be aware of the products they are banking their future on.
Kezia Joseph says…short term pain, long term PAIN
EE’s ‘fire safety risk’ Power Bars have been recalled, taking with it their consumer trust and favourable publicity.
Its merger with BT is on the horizon, and losing consumer trust is not what either company needs. The network has attracted customers with its break the market prices, but its marketing stunt to increase retail footfall could be about to backfire and increase churn rates.
The investigation surrounding the overheating Power Bars is enough to make customers not only question the network, but also question the product. Portable chargers are accessories that are gaining traction, but EE’s freebie debacle might be enough to halt it altogether.
Users might be tempted to shy away from such accessories, and even more so from network branded products. This is a market that more networks are investing in, whether it be through own-branded smartphones or accessories. Many market this service as an affordable alternative to high end manufacturers, but the mention of exploding Power Bars could see consumer trust move into the high end market as they associate ‘affordable’ with ‘a fire safety risk’.