In today’s rapidly evolving world, effective communication remains the key to tackling misperceptions – a never-ending obstacle the energy industry knows all too well. According to research by Populus and Ipsos MORI, only 16 per cent of the UK public view the sector in a positive light. It’s also the second largest industry in most countries facing the greatest reputation challenges. From lack of consumer trust to media scrutiny, a constant stream of negative information via the web puts the industry at risk of being on the defence or misunderstood – but there is hope.
Content to the rescue
The value of quality content is priceless. In light of the energy industry’s unique set of challenges, including environmental changes, investment needs, fresh competition from new suppliers, and increased regulator scrutiny, companies are now expected to define what they do and how. At the core is a call for authenticity, as 63 per cent of consumers would buy from a company they consider to be authentic over and above its competitors.
Content marketing has the power to amplify a company’s brand values and respond to customers’ concerns, using a format as simple as a blog post. British Gas launched its own back in 2014 following a year during which it lost nearly 400,000 customers after criticism from politicians and consumer groups. The blog, which was updated three to five times a week, was informative and relatable, and has since evolved into a content hub called The Source. The clean and simple platform features useful tips, helpful information and lifestyle content, presented through videos, infographics and attractive imagery. It also includes interviews with celebrity influencers known to its customer base.
Content can also provide an insight into an organisation’s culture, and can champion employees – a company’s biggest asset in strengthening its reputation from the inside out. Our work with Shell is a prime example of how this approach can be successful.
To celebrate International Women’s Day 2017, Shell hired Southerly to coordinate user-generated content to showcase the brilliant women that work for the company. Using video, photography and written content, each employee produced a mini journal of their typical daily routine, including their successes and what they do away from work. Not only did the project empower Shell’s female employees by honouring them, but it presented the company as a conscientious brand engaged with societal issues.
The Global Recruitment Team at Shell also turned to content marketing to boost its recruitment programme through an effective storytelling approach. Southerly developed a full content marketing, channel and distribution plan to attract the best jobseekers. Social media channels were used to amplify a range of content including articles, photos, videos and infographics – effective formats in delivering key messages.
As technological trends offer further advances in the content marketing space, there’s an opportunity for the energy industry to get on board in new and exciting ways. This can increase customer and stakeholder confidence in businesses, making fundamental strides in transforming its reputation, and more importantly, secure its long-term future.
Need some help with your employer brand and careers content?
If you are keen to introduce a similar strategy and regular calendar of content to support your employer brand and careers communications, we’d love to help with that. Get in touch if you would like to discuss this further and find out more about how it could work.