business storytellingContent Marketing

How Shell uses creative content to tackle complex issues

By February 28, 2018 No Comments
creative content

The world of business is rarely simple. Every industry has its own intricacies and complexities, and even those people that have been embedded in a particular sector for years can struggle to comprehend certain elements from time to time. Energy is an apt example of a sector that relies on finding successful ways of simplifying the intricate. And, for many organisations, producing quality creative content is the answer.

When it comes to making interesting, varied and engaging content, Shell is arguably energy’s pacesetter. By actively attempting to reach audiences in ways that are instantly appealing, informative and unique, Shell is able to showcase its reputation as a pioneering business that is always seeking novel ways to share its message.

Transparency and trust

A key benefit of making creative content is that it breaks down the convoluted and makes it far more palatable, which is absolutely vital when looking to form a relationship built on transparency and trust. If people are aware of what you do and why you do it, they’re more likely to want to interact with your business. Lack of trust will, inevitably, lead only to doubt and uncertainty.

Being open and transparent is crucial when forging relationships. Clients, customers and suppliers want to be treated with respect, and that means speaking to them clearly about what your company stands for, what you’re trying to achieve, and how you go about your operations. Not everything you do must be disclosed, of course, but engaging people by making them feel involved, and by showing them you have nothing to hide, can be tremendously powerful.

Making energy vibrant

 The energy industry has traditionally been associated with oil, gas, hard hats and environmental ambivalence. It is a sector that has nearly always been male-dominated, and to a certain degree still carries that reputation.

These are stereotypes, of course, but stereotypes tend to stick around and take on a life of their own. Whether accurate or not, they permeate and percolate, penetrating people’s consciousness and, over time, graduating from hearsay to undeniable fact.

However, these outdated – and sometimes entirely unfair – connotations are now being robustly tackled. Companies like Shell are embracing creative content as a means of educating and informing its audience, and in doing so, are altering the public perception of what energy companies do, and what they stand for.

Shell is putting considerable effort into enhancing its global image by accurately reflecting objectives, methods, and employees. It uses writing, images and videos to establish itself as a brand that is appealing for consumers and job seekers with robust recruitment strategy. They have embedded personality and approachability into their content’s DNA, and their efforts not only deserve commendation, they warrant recognition.

Behind the Shell curtain

Something Shell does particularly well is giving people an insight into how the company operates, what it stands for, and why it is a first-rate employer. A terrific example of this is its dedicated Careers page, which does far more than simply list the jobs that are available at any one time. The page has been designed to give visitors an idea of Shell’s culture and approach to employee engagement. This includes outlining why there is a focus on continual development for current employees, and how the company is working to create an increasingly diverse and gender-balanced workplace.

The 2017 International Women’s Day campaign is a terrific example of the company’s use of creative content in recruitment marketing. To celebrate its female workforce, Shell shone a spotlight on eight employees to get a better understanding of what they do, why they do it, and how Shell has helped them in their respective careers. This image-led campaign spoke to engineers and HR advisors, department heads and supplier managers, to highlight the vast range of career opportunities available within Shell, regardless of gender or ethnic background.

By utilising images, social media posts and authentic employee-generated editorial content, the campaign was incredibly successful. Website interaction rose dramatically as a direct result of the campaign, and cost per engagement was far below what was predicted. The campaign also massively improved upon the previous years’ efforts; total visits increased 557% compared with 2016, and 568% compared with 2015.

The recruitment campaign helped bring to life roles that may, on the surface, appear exceedingly bespoke or intricate. And, while each interviewed individual is undoubtedly an expert in their particular field, the campaign served to underline the fact that they are, at the end of the day, only human. They have thrived in Shell because of their ability to work hard and learn.


Content marketing brings stories to life. It helps to establish a company’s personality, and gives readers a genuine understanding of its operations and goals. Large, multifaceted organisations, regardless of industry, can harness the power of content to make them more approachable, and to encourage people to engage.

By making complex issues easier to understand, and by approaching topics in a manner that is warm, friendly and captivating, businesses, like Shell, can appeal to their target audience effectively, and for relatively little upfront cost.

Find out what the energy industry can learn from content marketing. 

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