How the Thames Estuary Growth Board energised support for ‘the fuel for the future’ with a virtual launch summit
The stretch of water where the River Thames meets the North Sea is known as the Thames Estuary. The Estuary is already a major shipping route and much valued for its economic, social, and environmental benefits. But it seems the Estuary still flows with unrealised benefits – like its potential to offer the UK a source of clean energy, Hydrogen.
With the right investment and infrastructure, The Estuary presents a unique opportunity to secure hydrogen at scale – as a fuel for the future. It has the potential to play a vital role in de-carbonising London and keeping the UK on track towards a net zero future.
That’s why the Thames Estuary Growth Board was keen to hold its first summit. This virtual conference brought together the UK’s leading minds on hydrogen power, to assess the potential, requirements, and challenges for delivering a world-class hydrogen infrastructure in the Thames Estuary.
Helen McKay started her new role as Campaigns and Marketing Manager at the Thames Estuary Growth Board in October 2020 and, upon arrival found herself organising the Hydrogen summit. Helen, an experienced communications professional, had overseen traditional in-person conferences before, but had never hosted a virtual event, nor attempted to pull one off with so little time.
“We partnered with Axiom and we definitely went with the right people at the right time. I’m incredibly grateful to Chris Carey and his colleagues who worked closely with me from Axiom’s side. They helped me successfully deliver my first online event, securing a high turnout and high calibre attendees.
“There are differences between delivering a traditional and virtual event and Chris was always there when I needed him. He prompted me for things, took the lead, asked the right questions, even supplied time-saving templates,” says Helen.
The agenda for the half day event was set before Axiom and Helen came onboard. There were speakers from 14 different organisations including energy giants like Shell, EDF and National Grid. And while the Growth Board was fortunate to secure such high calibre speakers, having so many attracted its own challenges, which is where Axiom was also able to lend a helping hand.
Helen explains: “Chris offered up lots of opportunities for speakers to talk to him, both about the tech and their presentations. He was clear from the start that speakers must run to time. When you aren’t there in person, you can’t just signal a speaker from the side-lines that time’s up. Each speaker had an opportunity to go through their presentation with Chris. He was able to coach them, to give them advice on how to give a great performance on the small screen and advise them on content. This was particularly beneficial to speakers needing to tighten presentations running long. Those speaker sessions with Chris proved extremely helpful, and, on the day, I was impressed: The event ran to time and speakers really benefited from Chris’s input.”
The Thames Estuary Growth Board wanted to secure two outcomes:
- Raise awareness that there’s a plan for hydrogen within the Thames Estuary, and
- Secure engagement and expressions of interest from those able to help build the strategy for delivering hydrogen at scale.
“I believe this event successfully delivered against both those outcomes and more,” says Helen. “This summit secured more than a hundred attendees and they were all the right kinds of people. We got great engagement and feedback from both those attending and those speaking. Afterwards participants were buzzing, they were really pleased with the event itself. But people didn’t just attend, their engagement persisted following the summit. We’ve had a high volume of parties from academia, government and industry all expressing an interest in helping us develop a hydrogen investment strategy – which is exactly the result we wanted.”
What our client says
The verdict from our client, Helen McKay:
“It’s fair to say that Axiom was the reason this event was able to happen in the short time we had to pull it off, and I’d definitely work with them again. Chris and his Axiom colleagues have amazing energy and a wealth of ideas for making an event even better. They were always proactive, upbeat, and enthusiastic. That was welcome because this was my first online event and a lot had to happen before the day of the summit.
We didn’t even make use of half the stuff that Axiom could offer because time was so tight. There is so much more they can do to make your event a hit. If Axiom were able to successfully pull off a whizzy event like this in two weeks, imagine what they could do if they had a couple of months!”
What Kate Willard OBE, Chair, of the Thames Estuary Growth Board says:
“Our summit was a great step forward in delivering an infrastructure that is going to help us on our journey to becoming the cleanest estuary in the world, to building skills and creating job opportunities, and to delivering billions back into the local and national economy.
With high level speakers and everyone Teams-fatigued, we needed to be sharp and dynamic in delivery of our virtual conference. Axiom were brilliant, first class. Do something with them, you’ll love them.”