In February 2019, Social Energy (the innovative energy retailer) took a controlling stake in Levelise (data scientists behind a very smart energy management system). Together they plan to give solar panel owners much more from the electricity they generate.

The Challenge

These energy experts weren’t sure how to explain their visionary ideas to consumers.

They asked us to run a workshop to help them “refine the language of their proposition and test it with consumers”. Quite a lot to squeeze into a day, but we thought we’d give it a go.

Our day with the ESC team far exceeded anything that we could have expected. Not only did the day deliver invaluable consumer insight, but also a deeper understanding across departments within our own team, on the way that we package our offering.

Daniel Mahoney, Marketing Director - Social Energy

Our Approach

First question we asked of Social Energy and Levelise was who is your target demographic?

From our experiences during the creation of a Heat as a Service, we found that challenges around language and cognitive buy-in started with who the message was intended for.

We had created two proto-personas to anchor our discussions: Eddie and Debbie. We based them on our assumptions about what prototypical consumers might need (not demographics). If we’d had the time, we’d have done some research to ground them in evidence. One for someone with solar panels, the other for someone considering getting them.

The Method

We used Eddie and Debbie to refine the way we described the proposition, using the following activities to make sure we were productive.

Design The Box

What: create a physical box to sell your product or service.
Why: spot different views across Levelise and Social Energy.
Outcome: this fun ice-breaker got everyone working together.

Value Proposition Canvas

What: map “Jobs To Be Done” to product/service features that relieve pains or create gains.
Why: helped the team get under the skin of how solar fit into their proto-persona’s lives.
Outcome: this shared activity demystified what’s important to users.


What: sketch 8 different versions of the prototype in 8 minutes, then vote for the best.
Why: built confidence that the team had looked at a range of options.
Outcome: built a consensus around the key messages.

Dragon’s Den

What: invited three experts to put the team (and the proposition) through their paces.
Why: focused the team on a deliverable.
Outcome: a tried and tested pitch to use for the focus group.

Focus Group

What: asked 8 consumers for their feedback on the pitch.
Why: made sure the pitch worked well in the real world.
Outcome: a compelling proposition that is easy to understand.


We started the day with two proto-personas Eddie and Debbie.  We ended the day with propositions validated by real-life Eddies and Debbies.

Social Energy and Levelise had a new outlook on what should come next. Indeed, the insights from this workshop went straight in to launch their new tariff the very next day…

…and probably most important, we understood both Eddie and Debbie required their own proposition.

Are you bringing a new tool to market?

Contact us to help validate your new propositions before launch to market

Come and see us for a friendly

chat over a cuppa.


Cannon House, 18 The Priory Queensway

Birmingham B4 6BS8

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