Hugh Symons’ Unity Day – UNITED WE STAND

Hugh Symons’ Unity Day last month brought together a collection of the country’s top dealers with representatives of all the networks and many of the manufacturers.
All distributors run this kind of event, of course, but this one had some interesting ideas…

Each network had an ‘experience’ room for presentations and the dealers moved around in groups, not unlike an adult version of going from one class to another. It was a long way from the four-hour sit-down-and- listen presentation that dealers usually get at such events.

There was also a manufacturer section to walk around.The most popular of these were Sony Ericsson’s music stand,Sagem’s Clint Eastwood lookalike,and the O2 massage experience. The O2 people didn’t wait until the end of their talk to start massaging, either. No, shoulders were being rippled and backs stroked even during the presentation,with dealers fighting to get their kit off and partake.

The questions at the end of the presentation strayed from tariff confusions to asking for phone numbers from the masseuse.

By their own admission, 3 was relatively new to Unity and not as involved as they aim to be in future. Nonetheless, it was a typical 3 experience – a pub quiz, in this case, with prizes,and a talk at the end about tariffs to do with music bundles.

Maybe the manufacturers didn’t get enough time to see the dealers. Certainly the afternoon Q&A forum gave the dealers a chance to fire questions at a panel comprising the networks plus Steve Fraser from Carphone Warehouse and Bob Sweetlove of Hugh Symons.

That was a lively exchange, though, and the networks clearly got as much out of it as the dealers. As Steve Allen of Orange put it to us, “A Unity dealer offers consultancy, not just a sale …This is a great opportunity for us to send a message to our consumers through reliable and knowledgeable people.”

All in all, the Unity Day was a chance for the best dealers in the business to feel a real part of the industry. The dealers and networks got close, perhaps closer than they usually do. A big hand for Hugh Symons, who managed the trick of making the day useful and enjoyable without too much distinction between the two.