International A united front Clarion’s Duncan Reid and Tom Fisher on the integration of PennWell and creating the Clarion Energy brand 14 — March I n early 2018, Clarion Events – newly acquired by private equity firm Blackstone – bought US-based organiser and media company PennWell for around $300m. The ambitious purchase added a wide range of events to Clarion’s roster, many of which were in the energy and power industry. In addition, as with any acquisition, a process of integration and standardisation began across the organisation. “It was significantly larger than any acquisition we’d made before,” Duncan Reid, managing director – energy at Clarion, tells EN. “On the energy side, how it integrated with our existing businesses has sat with me. “One of the first things I did when I took over was start to look at some of the brands that we have. The first part of the strategy is about how you take these individual businesses, which have a lot of strengths and some really good people, and merge them together to create one brand and one team.” The answer was to create a new umbrella brand – the Power & Energy Series – which would encompass some of the PennWell events and Clarion’s existing events in the sector and sit within Clarion Energy. “Historically all those events had been very successfully run, and we were very happy with them, but the PennWell acquisition changed what it was we were looking to do,” continues Reid. “We naturally had much more scale; when you’re talking to an exhibitor you might find that they’re speaking to five of the other offices, so it made sense to join everything up.” The benefits of joining up the global team, while keeping local offices, were clear. For one thing, Clarion could maintain relationships with local markets while at the same time scaling the offering available to bigger exhibitors and customers. “You might find someone’s advertising just in the European event, and actually they’re looking to get into Asia,” explains Reid. “We can now point out that we have an event in Asia, and by having this Power & Energy Series brand it’s clear that it’s run by the same people.” Another benefit is being able to compare and contrast various events around the world, using data gathered from visitors, exhibitors and the Clarion teams themselves.