On the 6th of February we proudly hosted our first ever customer conference, ‘Empowered 2020’. Staged at Northampton’s Marriott Hotel we welcomed over 130 people from across the industry to participate in an action packed and thought-provoking day of presentations, workshops and networking sessions. With a high profile and diverse range of speakers from the likes of CNG, Ofgem and Ecotricity we managed to attract brokers and TPI’s from all corners of the UK. The net result was a capacity crowd to help us kick off this unique initiative.
The inspiration for Empowered came some 12 months earlier when – having visited a series of different trade and industry events – a group of us concluded that the broker/TPI community was badly underserved when it comes to events that are truly dedicated to them and their needs. To test this theory we floated the idea, with a range of customers and suppliers, of us staging an event that would be solely targeted at brokers/TPI’s. The reaction we received was overwhelmingly positive, to the point where it became a no-brainer to forge ahead with our plans. So, what next?
A powerful name
Well first things first, we needed a name! We arrived at Empowered pretty quickly because it perfectly described exactly what we wanted to achieve i.e. to empower brokers and TPI’s with knowledge, content and networking opportunities. The play on words with ‘power’ was an added bonus! Working under this banner helped us to shape and steer the format and agenda for the day because everything we included needed to remain true to the theme of empowering the audience. Over the proceeding months we worked really hard at hand picking our keynote speakers, event partners and workshop facilitators to ensure we maintained a high quality of speakers and content. The agenda blended strategic insights and a view of where the industry is headed with pragmatic and practical guidance on how brokers/TPI’s can improve and grow their businesses.
How did it go on the day?
We were really, really pleased with how the event went and this was validated by the feedback, whereby 100% of attendees stated Empowered ‘met their primary reason for attending’ and that they ‘would attend again in the future’. A standout aspect of the day was the willingness and enthusiasm with which people interacted and networked. Many of those in attendance are, on paper, in competition with one another but this didn’t translate to people’s behaviours on the day, instead we saw open and honest conversations. Again, this served to support our initial thinking that the broker/TPI community needs dedicated events that give them the opportunity to come together, learn, share and network. The market is big enough that businesses needn’t be fearful of competition, in fact, in many respects it should be embraced.
We must call out our fantastic keynote speakers who more than delivered against the brief of presenting insightful and provocative sessions that gave us a vision of what the future might hold. Our very own CEO, David Coombs opened proceedings and gave the event an all-important context by exploring the current and future trends impacting both brokers/TPI’s and in turn the end customers to whom they serve. CNG’s President, Jacqui Hall, alongside her son Ellis Hall took to the stage to passionately relay the importance of adopting a customer centric approach to running a business within the energy industry. Next up, Dr Simon Pickering, Principle Ecologist at Ecotricity delivered a fascinating yet sobering view on climate change and our joint responsibility, as an industry, to do whatever is possible to combat it. Bhavika Mithani, closed out the keynote speakers with Ofgem’s perspective on the current state of the business energy market, specifically the practice and behaviours of the brokers/TPI’s that operate within it. As we suspected this final session proved to be the most controversial and stimulated the most amount of feedback from the room. Hat’s off to Bhavika who willingly invited questions from the floor and embraced each and every one that was asked.
We must also thank all of our event partners, CNG, British Gas, Ecotricity, Gazprom and Everflow Water, who played a significant role in helping to not only bring the event to life but also making it a success on the day.
Our Duty of Care
We feel passionately about the role we play in helping to support the brokers, TPI’s and intermediaries we work with, day in, day out. We see it as our duty of care to ensure that, as best we can, our customers are well informed on all aspects of the industry from best practices to best products. ‘Empowered 2020’ was created to fulfil part of this duty and give back to the brokers and suppliers we value so highly a unique and valuable experience.
Keep your eyes peeled for Empowered 2021 ?
All the best.
Nicky Wilson-Everett, Head of Sales, OnlineDIRECT
Emily Hickford, Supplier Relationship & Broker Support Manager