From green shoots to unicorns, the Octopus Energy Story.
(and how we helped them implement automated billing through Kraken, while levelling up their customer communications)
A start up’s dream supplier is one that can find the solution to any challenge. Whether it’s introducing a system to make automated customer billing a breeze, or generating a buzz to increase customer acquisition. That’s exactly how Precision supported - and still supports - Octopus Energy. One of the fastest growing, innovative, renewable energy companies on the planet.
The Octopus Energy story started in 2016. When the business burst onto the energy market to disrupt the status quo with the trifecta of energy products. Good for the planet, good for the wallet, and good for the soul. In doing so, these righteous rebels were dubbed a ‘challenger brand’, leaving their competition quaking in their wake. And this was just the beginning.
Greg Jackson had been working with Octopus Group as a technology adviser in the years prior. During a water cooler chat (or more likely a double espresso). Simon Rogerson casually dropped into the conversation that he was interested in launching an energy business. Simon had been wondering why energy companies weren’t making energy greener, smarter and more affordable for customers. Little did he know, Greg was pondering the very same thing. In this case, Greg had a fully formed business plan in his back pocket. that would not only take renewable energy to the top of the household agenda, but also digitise the process to reduce costs and become both morally and economically attractive to customers.
Five years and a billion-dollar business valuation later. Octopus Energy are now one of the biggest providers of renewable energy in the UK and are amongst the top-rated energy suppliers. With crystal clear tariffs that provide great value for money, they’re helping households and businesses to save money and carbon, without ever feeling locked-in.
An innovative approach to energy.
Greg Jackson built a bright and brilliant team to help him disrupt a notoriously brass-bound sector that was once dominated by the ‘big six’. Unchanging and, more importantly, unwilling to change, the old energy market left a lot to be desired when it came to customer service and sustainability. So when Octopus Energy stepped onto the scene, they were ready to lead the charge in the energy revolution.
How we supported Octopus Energy.
We at Precision like to think that we played a part in the growth of Octopus Energy. How? By helping them develop and facilitate all of their crazy ideas. They needed a team that could keep up with their energy (excuse the pun), even after the espressos were long gone. Not only that, we came up with crazy ideas of our own, providing an abundance of innovative direct marketing tactics to fuel start-up growth and challenge the status quo that had stagnated the energy sector.
Kraken is the name of the platform that transformed Octopus Energy’s customer service capabilities, by introducing a smoother, more efficient, almost completely automated system. The disruptive element of their offer centres on digitally transforming the process of energy supply and management. As soon as we were able, we created the automated link between Kraken and Octopus Energy’s production and mailing processes to fulfill a range of business critical mailings. This included:
- Customer Bills & Annual Statements
- Occupier Welcome Pack Postcards
- Occupier Welcome Pack Letters
- Dunning Docs (Debt Collection)
- Customer Referral Tokens
- Price Change Letter - OE
- Price Change Letter - Affect Energy
- M&S Energy Welcome packs
- M&S Energy Gift Cards
- Proposed Erroneous Gain Letters
- Accepted Erroneous Gain Letters
- Rejected Erroneous Gain Letters
- M&S Energy Invite Mailing
The importance of automation and the speed of delivery that automation enables cannot be overstated. Automation enables us to improve our sustainability by reducing waste and human error. This system also improves the experience of the customers as well as the cash flow of the client. As bills and reminders become efficiently expedited while providing a clear audit of what has been sent, and to whom.
Thermal Imaging Camera Pick & Pack
We stored Thermal Imaging cameras and distributed them to Octopus Customers to ‘borrow’ for a week. Then they can discover where they are losing energy. An odd request, you might argue, but one that needed a secure delivery and return service and clear audit trail as each camera had to be accounted for. As part of helping build the Octopus brand and story, it was a hugely successful campaign.
Large Fluffy Octopus Storage & Fulfilment
On a sunny day in the Spring of 2019. We greeted 5,000 fluffy giant octopuses off a slow boat from China. They have been living with us until they are adopted by a grateful Octopus customers. The giant fluffy octopus (Constantine, to you and me) again became part of company folklore but also a key character in Octopus Energy’s social media success. So, everytime Constantine showed up as a ‘thank you’ for signing up to the Octopus Tariff, free content provided by the happy customer was distributed across social media networks.
Over 10,000 native trees from wild cherries to weeping willows are being planted, across the length and breadth of Britain in 2019. This was a challenge, we had to house and sustain 10,000 trees over an eight-week period - during that time we were more like a garden centre than marketing consultants!
Students could be sent a case of beer for signing up to the student tariff. Yes, the beers were on us, and we had to securely house hundreds of six-packs before finding a way to deliver them safely to thirsty students up and down the country. Our promise: we never touched a drop *hic*.
We approached Precision about our tree project and their first reaction was ‘yes’. Our brief was definitely a work in progress and as the project reached an interesting point. We asked if they could go beyond the call of duty and look after 10,000 of our tree babies. Again, the team were not taken aback by this and immediately sought to provide a solution. I felt reassured throughout that all was in hand. They organised the distribution of the trees and coordinated well with us, keeping us informed of deliveries and timescales.
Our 10,000 tree programme reached all parts of the country and nearly 600 projects benefited from them. The support from Paul and the team at Precision was invaluable in delivering this. Additionally, the regular photos of our precious trees blooming and enjoying life in their depot is something I will remember for a long time.
Tim Troy, Product Manager, Octopus Energy
Reducing our carbon footprint.
As a direct marketing business, we have always been aware of our responsibility to continue to reduce the impact of our actions on the environment. Therefore when we moved into our new HQ in 2014, we took the opportunity to cover the sizeable roof with solar panels to facilitate our green production processes. For obvious reasons, sustainability commitment was a key part of the criteria when Octopus Energy selected a partner.