Well I think I might have put my foot in my mouth. I now realize that drinking Beer with oysters is extremely relevant to oil and gas companies, and they should be tweeting about it!
Last week at the iMedia Brand Summit in California I was speaking to a variety of different brands and was in a roundtable discussion on Social Media. I a sat at a table with Brand Marketers from the Allstate Insurance Company, and Cirque de Soleil along with the Chairman of comScore. The conversation was lead by Geoff Ramsey, Co-Founder of eMarketer.
I grew up in Alberta, Canada where the major industry is the energy sector. I was of opinion that there was not a strong reason for Energy and Oil and Gas companies to use Social Media (Facebook and Twitter, specifically) to connect with their consumers. This is largely due to the fact that there is insufficient understanding in general of the benefits of social media in this sector, and I was narrow minded and not seeing things outside the box. There are also a few regulatory compliance issues that regulated industries need to be mindful of so… check that out before you get running with things.
Over the weekend, a colleague of mine sent me a link to an article in the Calgary Herald. http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Oilpatch+told+tweet+better+image/2007449/story.html#Comments The article starts with “The Canadian oil and gas industry needs to embrace social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach a skeptical audience and spread a more balanced message about its products, an American public relations expert urged on Thursday.”
This article changed my view on the subject 100%. I think it’s a great way for companies in the oil and gas sector to change negative perceptions about their brands. Blogs can be used to talk about what these organizations are doing to be proactive in the environmental stewardship and sustainability realms. Organizations using green technology, or proactively taking additional steps to reduce the environmental footprint can use things like Facebook Fan Pages to connect with a younger more cynical audience. This is one side of the equation.
The second thought to this was sparked as I was thinking about “Marketing with Meaning” as outlined in a great book on the future of Marketing written by Bob Gilbreath titled “the Next Evolution of Marketing.”
Early on in the book Bob references David Ogilvy’s First assignment as the head of his own agency in 1951. He produced a full page print ad for Guinness Stout. This was an incredibly important project for David, and the agency. The headline on this ad was “Guinness Guide to Oysters” and the ad consisted of 9 detailed photographs of oysters along with a paragraph describing its history and nuances in flavor. The bottom right hand corner had a picture of a Guinness bottle and a glass with a single simple line of copy “All oysters taste their best when washed down with drafts of Guinness”. They also offered to send anyone a free copy of the poster if they requested it.
Well David learned early on that advertising must be respectful, that it must actually sell product, and that we marketers should aim high with our work. Well his first ad exemplified this… it did not scream “BUY A PINT OF GUINNESS” at you; it was a suggestive ad that actually offered the reader some useful information. Marketing with meaning – means to give your audience something valuable as part of the message.
So what do Oysters and Guinness have to do with Oil and Gas – and why would anyone tweet about this?
Social media is a perfect way for brands to connect with their users, influence brand perceptions, and also listen… We can’t live without oil and gas producers; they are integral to the delivery of products and services such as the textile industry, automotive industry, and heat our homes just to name a few things… Do we as consumers think about that? Not enough in my opinion.
I think that if the energy industry offered consumers more, as Mr. Ogilvy did over 50 years ago, and used social media to do so, they could build brand relationships before they needed them. Perhaps a “Top 10 Ways to increase energy Efficiency in your Home” as a Facebook page, with a daily tip tweeted out to its followers would be a great way to subtly increase brand affinity with consumers. Proactively building these relationships with consumers.
(Keith Ferrazzi can be quoted as the relationship Guru even in this model of building relatationships with consumers. www.keithferrazzi.com)
To sum things up, Social media has its place for all of us. eMarketer surveys show that 23% – 69% of marketers are increasing their social media spend. I was proven wrong, it has its place for all of us, even the oil and gas producers. I am also extremely excited about the resurgence of the theme of Marketing with Meaning, giving our customers something valuable at as many brand touch points as possible.
Lastly – go order these 2 books. I am not being paid for any endorsement, they are great so this is my version of marketing with meaning, (hope you found something in this post valuable) so if you need some help with tackling your social media strategy, give me a shout.
Hope you enjoy!