“We get a lot of love from our customers,” is not what you’d expect a CMO of an energy company to say, especially given the current climate. However, this is what Rebecca Dibb-Simpkin, CMO of energy unicorn, Octopus Energy, told the audience on the Kantar Marketplace Hexagon Stage, in July at MAD//Fest. 

Dibb-Simpkin said that being a disruptor, with a great 'green message', has enabled Octopus Energy to ‘do things differently’. Having launched five years ago Octopus has always stood apart from the larger, more traditional energy firms. “We think of ourselves as a technology business. So we're using technology to drive the revolution towards cheaper, greener power.” In addition to this she added that, “globally, we need to move to renewable energy driven world”

The energy unicorn now operates in 14 countries and has 3 and half million customers. “We've gone from just being a small energy company in the UK to actually someone with a much bigger global footprint across the tech values crossed the energy value stack, so a little bit bigger than we are.” 

Be Customer Centric

Yet, whilst much of its success is due to its message about renewable energy and the technology that enables it to work, Dibb-Simpkin was keen to stress that their growth is down to the fact that they are customer centric. “We always champion humans and getting a really simple message out there and trying to engage them.”

Octopus were the first company to share to publish our profit margins show what what they’re making from it and where that energy comes from. (British Gas and Centrica, take note). “We've also got a new tariff no - if you live within 10 kilometers of one of our wind turbines, when that wind turbine is spinning, and there's lots of wind, you get 50% off your electricity, because we like it, to use it!” 

Being customer centric has even extended to the nightmare of call centres. “At Octopus, we've always done things differently. So when you join, you're always looked after by the same team, 10 to 12 people, who are fully trained in every aspect of your account. And actually, because the same team of people who look after you, we have incredibly personalized care”.

Make energy fun. (Seriously!)

Taking meter readings is one of life’s annoyances yet it is one of the ways energy companies can make sure you are paying the right amount and ensure the customer doesn’t go into the red. How have Octopus made sure all their customers send in their readings? They gamified it!

“When our customers give us a meter reading, you get a spin on our wheel of fortune and you get to win money.” There are tens of thousands of winners every month from a pound to over £500. It's incredibly popular to the extend that, “...we had to make sure that when people got smart meters, you still get to have a spin on the Wheel of Fortune every month!”

Innovation to help customers 

Dibb-Simpkin mentioned that a lot of the innovation Octopus does is “to really help customers.” This has extended to lending customers thermal imaging cameras so people can see where heat is escaping from their home which in turn can help lower their bills. 

Last winter they started the Octopus Winter Workout - an energy saving advice scheme that had a quarter of million people sign up for. In addition, it sent out around 7,000 eclectic blankets to people really struggling. 

“So it's just trying to at all times think about how we can, you know, think differently about engaging with customers both to help them and to entertain them, right? Because energy is hard right now, it's a really difficult place to be things”

An energy company that wants to engage with and help its customers, keeping them warm and content over the winter? You’d like to think it might catch on. 

Over 8,000 people attended MAD//Fest on 6-7 July. Speakers included Rachel Waller, Global VP Innovation, Burberry, Sarah Barron, CMO, Domino's, Peter Zillig, Marketing Director, Ford Europe, Susan Hoffman, W+K, and author & broadcaster, David Baddiel. Full sessions are available now on our YouTube channel.