Posted by Charlie Morrow on Thu, Feb 18 2016

All Posts by Charlie Morrow

Energy Giants at E-World

Photo for Energy Giants at E-World

As the price of oil idles around the lowest levels we’ve seen in a long time, the energy sector continues to thrive - or at least it does in Essen, Germany. 

In a conference centre slap-bang opposite the headquarters of German energy giant E.ON, E-World, a celebration of all things energy and water, was in full swing this week. And I went to see what all the fuss is about.

For starters, it’s simply massive. Sibos, the leading transaction banking and payments conference, and IDX, one of the main conferences taking place for the multi-trillion dollar derivatives industry, are both vast mass-participation events in their own right. But with over 600 exhibitors and over 24,000 trade visitors, E-World is comparably larger - a reflection of just how encompassing the energy sector is.

You’ve got literally every element of the the industry meeting under one gigantic roof so it’s bound to be big: private utilities, public utilities, start-up innovators, old-school firms looking to innovate, consultants, logistics firms, trading platforms, exchanges, banks looking to muscle in on the action, infrastructure providers, data providers, government, publishers, smart technology companies, drilling firms, refiners, hybrid car producers, tech MNCs, the list goes on. Upstream through to downstream - all are well represented.

The scale of some of the exhibition spaces is incredible. Uniper, the company born of E.ON’s decision last year to separate its upstream business from its retail and distribution business, launched in January this year. And the visible investment in engaging customers at E-World was staggering. Its stand, in prime position in Hall #3 (which seemed to be largely focused on German utilities, consultants, banks, exchanges and trading businesses), took up a significant part of the hall. It towered over Total’s stand in Hall #2, dominated Shell’s nearby, and even Russia’s Gazprom stand looked a little threadbare in comparison.

And Uniper seemed to be pushing all the right buttons for delegates. Its stand was brightly lit and open plan. There was a team of welcoming hostesses and account managers ready to pounce and a bar which was in full flow by 2pm. The Uniper team had clearly thought long and hard about how to successfully use a well-known trade show to launch their new image.

Considering the scale of E-World and its prominence in the industry, the pressure is on for exhibitors to put on a show. It is therefore vitally important to think carefully about how you communicate with your customers at an exhibition where there will be a) a large number of stakeholders in attendance and b) an expectation that you should be making an effort and doing something special. Even though Uniper is a B2B brand talking to institutional customers, they clearly invested in their presence. Moreover, their communcation tactics were creative, smart and well executed. All B2B firms should take a leaf out of their book.

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