Industry Marketing Analysis: Oil and Gas

In 2019, the energy industry in Canada employed and supported more than 800,000 people, making up 10% of the country’s GDP. These impressive numbers point to a strong and resilient industry – but, as with most industries, they were hit hard in 2020 through pandemic shutdowns.

As the economy recovers, the time is right to not only replicate past accomplishments but improve them with a new approach and fresh eyes. For the industry to flourish and reach beyond past potential, it must face the future with open arms and continue to innovate.


Producers and Current Trends

Even before the pandemic, one of the biggest cultural shifts happening in energy was the green revolution – the rise of solar, wind, geothermal, and other sources of energy generation. These numbers are growing steadily, with hydro, solar, and wind generation creating 78,000, 1.8, and 9.7 megawatts in 2014, and 82,000, 3.1, and 12.8 megawatts in 2018, respectively. They still lag behind fossil fuels, but the consistent rises herald the future of the industry – and why embracing its potential will be crucial for success.

COVID interrupted the adoption of this technology, presenting a unique opportunity to create a more fulsome and ingrained pivot toward recovery. After all, traditional and newer energy sources are two sides of the same coin – they need each other to scale properly and to meet the needs of an expanding population. Solar panels and wind turbines cannot be built without gasoline and existing electrical sources to power the manufacturing plants; but the fundamental flaw of fossil fuels is coming into play a little more with every passing year: as a non-renewable resource, its time has always been limited. With Shell opening discussions on the end of its own peak oil production, the time has never been better to focus forward and shift the narrative for the public.


Challenges for the Energy Industry

In an industry as broad and far-reaching as energy, there are unique challenges to address. Climate concerns dominate many conversations, with new discussions of net-zero emissions targets and green technology emerging daily; resources are getting more difficult and more expensive to reach, as the most cost-effective reserves have been tapped already. The most notable challenge is public perception – especially the idea that energy companies pursue only profits to the expense of everything else. The ramifications extend beyond everyday conversations, too: Shell recently lost a ruling against climate activists about its emissions targets.

What does this mean? Energy companies face an uphill battle to engage not only with their customers and stakeholders, but with the court of public opinion. The good news: there are stories waiting to be told. For decades, oil and gas organizations have led the way in innovative technology, more efficient energy solutions, and an unrelenting atmosphere of constant improvement brimming with potential. These stories exist; they just aren’t loud enough.


Successful Marketing in the Energy Industry


Planning for the Future

Moving forward, the key to success in energy comes down to marketing for the future, highlighting a commitment to the rapidly approaching revolution. New developments like carbon capture technology, cleaner batteries, and smart energy management in urban settings are the tip of the iceberg. If you want people to support you, join you, and promote you, it’s time to focus more on a bright future, instead of a storied past.


Connecting with Customers

Consumers in the modern world have considerations beyond the simple cost of the products and services they buy. They want stories: does this company share my values and beliefs? Do they align with the goals I attribute to these philosophies? Every industry has its diehard supporters, but explaining to outliers why your brand suits them is crucial in creating a strong base to build from.


Sending the Right Message

There are more tools than ever before to tell the right story to the public, and that public is eager for information and innovation alike. With a properly planned content strategy, the most important points of the industry, its accomplishments, and its ideas can be told. It sounds simple, but this involves finding the right core messages and delivering it to the right people, while avoiding formulaic missteps and cliches that many people come to expect from corporate communications. Submitting publications like ESG reports detailing what your organization does for society beyond business operations can be a major benefit for this.


Collaborate with Other Organizations

Throwing support behind other organizations can bolster your position. Government agencies, non-profit organizations, complementary companies – all of these can help enhance your public image. Decide how you want to be seen, and find partners that will align with your vision. This will help you get where you want to be. This can also reinforce strengths and mitigate weaknesses.


All of this works well in theory, but how do these concepts translate into practice? In a follow-up, we’ll dive deeper into one of these elements and illustrate how you can apply it to your own operations. We are entering a business world where plans can change quickly, which will require unprecedented adaptability and strong, clear communications about your values and decisions – and all of that begins by identifying not only where you are, but where you want to be in the future.

Oil and Gas Strategies to Stay Globally Competitive in 2020

When the oil age began, building a company around the product wasn’t nearly as difficult as it is today. Landowners could strike “black gold” while digging wells or hunting, and many oilfields were short distances from major population centres.

But that was a long time ago, and the world has changed since then. Now, highly specialized technologies and their operators travel to all corners of the earth (and the bottom of the sea) to extract petroleum and gas products, and the operational costs alone can dissuade growth and expansion. After all, if large global players are trimming staff and tightening belts, how can a growth strategy be justified? Is the effort of finding new markets worth the trouble?

The fact remains that the world needs that energy to function. Growing – or in some cases, simply retargeting – your business to take over new markets is possible once you have laid the groundwork, but for oil and gas companies, landing on a successful strategy takes some custom solutions. Here’s how you can go global (or stay competitive while you’re there) in 2020 and beyond.


Moving Toward Global Success

Canada used to be considered a paradise for oil and gas extractors, but in recent years that attitude has shifted. Other markets have opened up, leading to companies like Calgary’s longstanding TransCanada Corporation to become TC Energy and focus more on the United States and Mexico markets, or Encana changing its name to Ovintiv, uprooting its Canadian headquarters, and moving south to Texas.

These moves allow the companies to focus on strong markets (and a bigger consumer base) across the border, which at its core is just good business: Encana themselves say that “[t]his is not a political move; this is quite simply accessing the capital trends in the marketplace.”

What are the capital trends that inform your market placement? As other companies move around, there are niches left to be filled, and knowing where you will be strongest is a key component of international success.

As we discussed in our prior article about going global, it’s not enough to simply be present in a new location – branding and customer mindset is everything. Will you proudly identify as a Canadian company selling in another country, or are you a true global entity with an overarching global brand? The stories you tell at a local, national, and global level will all be different. Local brands should speak to the communities you work in and the people on whom your operations have a direct impact, while national ones have a defining characteristic tied in with the entire country’s identity. And global brands have to transcend all of that – to be truly global, your value and promise must speak to people of all cultures and backgrounds, giving something back to each in turn.


The Future of Energy

It’s no secret that oil is non-renewable, and will eventually reach the end of its usefulness – and other factors play in as well: public opinion, economic viability, ease of extraction, environmental concerns, and so on. At some definite point in the future, by choice or by necessity, it’s a reality we will face.

Thus, companies that anticipate this stand to do better in the long run. Diversification of assets and revenue sources, penetration into other markets, and more efficient operations are all key takeaways that successful global companies must implement in order to ride the turbulent waves ahead of us. 


Embrace Relevance & Avoid Replacement

New technologies and trends are emerging all the time, and the general direction of the oil and gas industry is toward green energy sources and increased efficiency. Embracing this perspective will help you face forward and meet the challenges of tomorrow as they arise, and ensure you do not get left behind in a rapidly changing global marketplace. Here are some immediate tips:

1. Redefine what’s essential: Even though it may seem impossible, it’s a good idea to analyze your whole business model and operations and keep only what is needed. This dedication to leanness will serve you well both at home and abroad, and free up valuable resources for redistribution in areas that need it. Also, we know more than most that marketing budgets are often the first ones to get cut. But, research indicates that marketing is integral to surviving, especially during economic downturn, so do consider all your options before cutting marketing all together).

2. Embrace the digital age: This idea goes beyond the simple use of software and technology like cell phones and iPads. There are dozens of programs, services, and apps that will enable you to streamline your operations, make plans from your analytics and data, predict where your best performance will be, and ultimately, promote your business to the world. And, taking advantage of technology doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. Find the right partners to help you make the right decisions).

3. Plan for the long-term: Everyone has more confidence in a company that plans to be around through thick and thin. When you create a long-term plan and have it available to analyze, reference, and deploy, it shows people both within and outside of your organization that you’re taking that idea seriously and making progress toward your goals. It also means you can measure that progress more objectively, allowing for fine-tuning of the process along the way.

If one thing is for certain, it’s that the oil and gas industry is built on adaptation. Local companies and corporate giants alike must be proactive about making tough business decisions in order to stay competitive, stay focused, and be successful. Taking your business global in this economy is one thing, but keeping it there is entirely another. The key is to not go in to panic mode – know who you are, what you stand for, and the values on which you will not compromise. Look at your costs, think strategically, reassess the importance of what you’re doing, and be bold. And, when in doubt, reach out to a trusted source who’s done it before.

Why Marketing is Integral to Surviving Economic Downturn

A few years ago, we published the blog The Importance of Marketing in a Downturn Economy, a title very similar to this one. The Oil and Gas industry had just crashed, businesses were struggling, and Alberta was in a full-blown economic crisis. Most large-scale companies in the industry attempted to survive by laying off thousands of employees, and many small businesses folded completely, regardless of industry. Times were hard, and while we may not be in as large of a crisis right now, the current state of the economy has some entrepreneurs and business owners thinking about keeping costs down.

Despite learning from the ongoing ebbs and flows of the economy, businesses always seem to fall into a pattern of cutting their marketing budgets when times get tough. While cutting excess spending to keep afloat is crucial during tough times, research (and experience) has shown us that cutting all marketing initiatives will do more harm than good in the long run. Business owners often feel marketing is the easiest expense to let go of because it doesn’t demonstrate immediate return on investment (meaning they feel the business can survive without it for a while), and it doesn’t seem as important as other factors such as employee retention and business development. What they fail to realize, though, is that ensuring that marketing stays as an integral part of the operation will pay off in the long-term, helping to save jobs, fortify your brand’s presence, and ultimately bring in new work.

In tough times, marketing is often viewed as an expense when it should be considered an investment. Maintaining a strong brand and communication with audiences sets a business up to appear strong in the public eye. During times of hardship, taking a step back to re-evaluate if your marketing efforts and brand are still aligned with your organizational goals and values will help you visualize the future rather than put out immediate fires.

Ensuring you have the right budget to continue marketing in a downtown can also help your business do a few other things in times of uncertainty:


Strengthen Your Brand

While it may seem like a challenging time to strengthen your brand as there is less work and, in turn, less money flowing in, think of this time as an opportunity. It is a chance to reassess your “why.” Remember what brought you into this business in the first place. Your business provides some sort of value and solution (otherwise, it’s not the economic downturn that’s causing you trouble), so take advantage of the time you have and go back to the drawing board. Work with your staff on marketing efforts to communicate to your audiences the value of your brand – showcasing who you are and what you believe in in a consistent and sensitive way.

Stand Out from the Crowd

Cutting marketing in times of hardship is a common practice. Many businesses see it as the only way to avoid complete annihilation (however untrue that may be). While everyone else plays it safe, this is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd when others are no where to be found. No matter what the situation may be, continuing to invest in marketing will appear as a sign of continued strength in the public eye. So, while your competitors are hiding, you’re staying top of mind with potential customers.

Maintain Transparency

We often say that people do business with people. With so much choice and information out there, consumers, whether B2B or B2C, are looking to do business with brands they can trust. Continuing to support marketing efforts while your business lays off valued employees and loses business may seem like poor optics, but in fact, it’s the opposite. Being honest with your audiences (both internal and external) and showing that you are still thriving despite setbacks shows strength, and during times of crisis people are looking for signs of strength.

Your business will take a hit in an economic downturn – that is inevitable. The key is to not succumb to fear and go into panic mode. Understanding the benefits marketing is bringing to your business will allow you to reassess its importance. Marketing is integral to survival, but it is likely you will need to reassess your spending to become even smarter about your marketing efforts, enabling you to adjust as needed. However, identifying where to allocate marketing costs effectively is not easy. Luckily, we’re experts. We’re here to help you in your time of need and find the best way to bet your brand out into the open without losing it all.

Need a hand? Give us a call.

Energy Series – How to Get Potential Customers to Notice You

The energy sector is Canada’s beating heart. While being a challenging industry inundated with competition, significant opportunity exists for business. To not only survive, but excel, brands must shift their way of thinking in order to stand out from the crowd. But how?

Whether you’re targeting B2B or B2C consumers, here are five ways to get potential customers to notice you.

  1. Have a Stand-Out Portfolio

Your portfolio should tell your brand story, describing the “why” you do what you do and “why” you are the best at doing it. A good portfolio includes an “About” section (your brand story), samples of your work, testimonials from past clients, and how to get in touch with you. Features of your work from a range of different clients should be the primary focus of your portfolio, and should be chosen based on the audience you are trying to attract. It should define your strengths, and follow suit with your brand both through language and stylistically.

To build the best portfolio, do research on your target audience. Understand their drivers, motivations, what they value and what they don’t. Cater your content and projects to them. Do you have both B2B and B2C clients? Multiple audiences mean multiple portfolios and sell-sheets specifically tailored to that audience. One size does not fit all.

Having both an online portfolio as well as physical copies allows for increased visibility. For online portfolios, you can use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that when consumers search for something related to your business, product or industry, your company name will be ranked higher in the search results. Be sure to have something impressive and relevant for them to look at when they find you!

  1. Be Social – Use Social Media

Get on consumers and clients social radar – how can they choose your company if they do not know who you are, what you sell, or why you’re the best choice? Social platforms and energy news platforms allow you to target content specifically for the audience you are trying to attract. You can also decide exactly which platform to use based on who you’re targeting and which platform they are the most active on.

Social and energy news media offers unparalleled access to target audiences and decision-makers on their own terms, and on platforms of their own choosing. And guess what? They appreciate that. They also like when your social activity is an authentic representation of your brand, is honest, and is human. Know your audience, their interests, values, lifestyles and aspirations, and play to them. Whether it be sharing a relevant article, or just commenting on last night’s hockey game, communicate and encourage two-way dialogue. In all your communications, remember to explain the “why” of your brand and to share your story in a relatable way. While being social on social media is likely not going to close any major business deals as that will likely require face-to-face interactions, it will get your foot in the door and keep your “brands” in front of  people.  Out of sight….means out of mind!

  1. Network, and get Face-to-Face

Face-to-face conversations are the comeback of the business world. You will not be able to close any major deal without some sort of face-to-face interaction, be it at a networking event, tradeshow, community volunteering, client meeting, or so on.

Some of these events are likely to be outside of business hours, so be prepared for that. At the very minimum, invest your time and attend at least one after-hours industry-related event a month. While you may have business representatives for these sort of events, it never hurts to have high-level management present at important speaking engagements or conferences. Ensure that whoever represents your brand is fully aware of your products, services, and what is included in your portfolio and sell-sheets. They will be the human depiction of your brand, and will leave a lasting opinion in the memory of consumers and partners alike. Be sure they’re the right fit.

Fill up your tank, get business cards printed, have your impressive portfolio on-hand, and get ready to go full steam ahead. Networking and being present is a sure way to get noticed, and be remembered.

  1. Create a Common Enemy. Be the Solution, and Incentivize

Let’s first define the term “enemy.” Your common enemy is not a competitor, but rather a common problem that your target audience has, and one that you have the solution for. For example, think of early Apple advertising which considered PC as the enemy. Apple marketed themselves as partnering with consumers to solve any identified PC defects to create a better tech experience. Or, think of automotive companies which classify bad weather or the winter as the enemy, identify their product as the solution, and encourage consumers to unite with them to fight this enemy.

Ally with your target audience to unite against a common enemy. If they see the relevance, they will get fired up to purchase your products or services. It’s important to be extremely cautious when determining your common enemy. Do not relate it to politics, race, religion, gender, or other sensitive topics, as this could cause people to dislike you and your brand.

Instead, locate your clients weak or sensitive points, and use them to come up with your enemy. Create a sense of urgency and make a case for why this enemy is a problem that needs fixing quickly (i.e. winter is coming). Be and offer the solution, and incentivize these value-added services or products to inspire quick action. If its relatable, it’ll be sure to get you noticed.

  1. Invest in Your Brand – Invest in Marketing.

Nothing promotes growth quite like effective marketing. Depending on your target audience, you can differentiate your brand and gain a significant amount of attention if you base your marketing on the right strategy. Tactics compliment strategy, including social media advertising, SEO, radio ads, digital marketing, print collateral, or any combination thereof. The use of marketing tactics such as blogging can also help humanize your brand which helps distinguish you and make you more relatable. If your business looks attractive and is being promoted correctly, there’s a much higher chance that more people will walk through your door or reach out.

Your time, effort and investment in marketing can help you outshine your competition, build brand equity and enhance your overall reputation. In truth, an investment in marketing is an investment in your brand, and one with a high ROI if done properly. Even a moderate marketing budget can make a world of difference when it comes to getting your brand noticed.

Get going, and get noticed.

Energy Series – Don’t Fall Victim to These Social Media Fallacies When Promoting Your Energy Business

As social media madness continues to progress, the phenomenon has acquired a bit of a reputation. Companies operating in highly regulated industries like the energy industry often perceive social media as more of a risk than a strategic asset, with its dynamic and fluid nature seeming like more of a legal or PR nightmare waiting to happen. However, energy companies need not fear. Like most presumed reputations, not all the assumptions are exactly accurate, and with a thorough strategic plan, companies can harness the power of social media to attract, compel and have conversations with their audience.

Understanding social media and its challenges is essential to conducting yourself appropriately and not wasting valuable time and resources. Read on to ensure you don’t fall victim to some of the most common social media fallacies.

1 – It is not free. Yes, the download and sign-up are free, but that’s where the gravy train ends. In order to use social media properly and for the best return on any investment you will need to devote something integral into it – some time. No one ever got into shape with a gym membership by not showing up to put in the work.  You will get out what you put in.

And as we all know, time equals money. Businesses which think they can just sign up, post a cookie-cutter post once in a while and expect miracles to happen are bound to be faced with a social media-tinged reality check when they realize their number of likes and followers are consistently staying in the single digits. Each social media platform has best practices associated with it, and it is important to familiarize yourself with them before embarking on your social media mission. Posting spam to Facebook, not interacting with other users consistently on Twitter, posting the same pictures of you equipment working on Linkedin simply due to a shortage on time, are all social media faux-pas that businesses should tenaciously steer clear of. 

2 – It is not just a marketing and advertising tool. Social media is a method of communication, a tool which enables us to connect with humans from all walks of life, humans whom business giants would have previously not been able to reach directly on such a large, yet still intimate scale. Human connection is a breeding ground for loyalty—the holy grail of branding. Human beings want to be acknowledged, validated and seen. Social media is a bridge between your business and its customers, and it’s not a second or third-degree connection, it’s a direct overpass. GoPro, a wildly successful manufacturer of action cameras, is an example of using social media to build connections with its customers, and thus, brand loyalty. By using the photo-sharing app Instagram, GoPro shares daily pictures with its 9.7 million followers, submitted to it by consumers who have taken their photo with the GoPro camera. This user-generated content is completely free for GoPro, allows it to recognize and celebrate individual customers, while still promoting its business and product in an authentic manner.

3 – Contrary to popular belief, your business should not utilize any and all social media platforms available. There are currently dozens of social media apps offered to businesses, but social media is another case of quality versus quantity. When writing the social media strategy for your business, decide which platforms or apps are the most in line with what products or services you are offering. For example, a landscaping company may decide to target Instagram and Houzz (an online community which shares architecture, interior design and decorating, landscape design and home improvement) as these apps will allow the company to share photos of their work. Twitter, which is based on short, 140 character messages, is likely not a medium the landscaping company should focus it’s time, efforts, and money on, and instead stick to apps which are comprised of more visual content.

4 – You’re using Twitter, Facebook is your friend, and you even have Instagram and Linkedin running somewhat smoothly – shouldn’t you be good to go? Unfortunately, you will likely never be completely free to rest on your laurels. Social media is constantly evolving and spawning new, unique platforms, primed for businesses to realize their potential power. In addition to the above social media platforms, energy companies will also want to use platforms that are focused on their specific target audience. In Canada, in particular, is one of those platforms that not only delivers energy industry news, data and events on a daily basis, but their platform also strategically markets the products and services of energy companies as well…very effectively.

Currently, the mobile app Snapchat is cited as being the fastest growing social media platform, with over 100 million active users, and increasing at a rate of 8 per cent, while other platforms have remained stagnant, such as Twitter, which has not grown in number of users since 2014, according to a survey from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. If you, like many, are lost on how to effectively use the app, which allows users to share photos and videos which can either “self-destruct” after ten seconds or be pinned to their “story”, which disappears after 24 hours, simply do your research. Keeping up to date on the social media trends and emerging technologies will allow your business to get an edge on the new platforms and with that, create a link to the growing audience of millennials, if that’s who you’re targeting.

The bottom line is that social media has taken on this fluffy reputation, a reputation which precedes it as being easy to manage and needing little time or effort in order to maintain. Of course, you could treat your business’s social channels with those kind of kid-gloves, or you could recognize that these platforms are a direct link to your customer that should be strategically handled with the utmost professionalism and care. As an energy company, you need not be afraid. By understanding common misconceptions and taking advantage of social media, you can successfully take advantage of opportunities and possibilities that other channels cannot offer.

Energy Series – How to Determine Your Ideal Marketing Budget

Energy companies without a marketing department or executive level marketing staff member too often arrive at an annual marketing and sales budget by determining how much the company can comfortably afford, subtracting sales person salaries, and then revising that figure downward to make it more palatable to the Owner/President/CEO. While some understand that marketing plays a vital role in empowering a company to meet its objectives, others do not, and do not spend accordingly.

But if not based on affordability, on what should one base a marketing and sales budget?

Company Objectives: You can also set an optimal marketing and sales mix based on a sound strategy to achieve certain objectives. This approach requires that experienced marketing and sales managers create a Marketing Communications Strategy that is designed to accomplish the company’s targets and objectives. The plan must include detailed tactics with associated costs. Those costs are then totalled, and that figure is the required budget.

Percentage of Revenue: The time-honored method of setting a budget is to base it on a percentage of historical or projected revenue, which is a common top-down approach. Revenue is a result of marketing and sales, so not spending enough on it hampers a company’s revenue generating potential. Few small to medium-sized energy companies (1,000 employees or less) spend this large of a percentage of gross revenue on marketing. Still, companies need to leave room in their budgets for marketing and should spend between 1% and 5% of gross revenue on marketing, depending on industry maturity, reputation, customer churn, and level of competition.

Volume: Another means of determining one’s marketing budget is to calculate what the cost of marketing and sales is for each unit of the product or service to be sold, not to be confused with cost of goods sold, and then to determine the expected volume of sales. This is a variation of the percentage of revenue method, but it frames the budget in a way that focuses on units of sale. The limitation of this method is that without accurate historical data it can be difficult to determine the cost to sell each unit. This method is excellent for companies that are limited by production or service capacity.

Competitive Parity: This approach is based on competitors’ marketing and sales spends. Simply look at what a competitor of around the same size is spending on marketing and sales, and spend the same. This on its own is rarely an efficient strategy as companies’ have different marketing and communications strategies, resources, and situations. It can also be difficult to obtain information on competitors’ marketing spends.

Many successful companies will cite 10% of annual revenue as the prevailing wisdom, but the truth is that the amount companies spend on marketing and sales varies greatly depending on their industry, service type, stage of growth, and competition, among other external factors. Specifically, in the energy industry, B2B companies have elaborate and extensive sales functions that require strong direct sales representatives whose salaries range from $100,000 to $300,000+ CAD. This is critically important for Oil and Gas companies in Western Canada and the United States, where deals often go to the firmest handshake.

For most energy companies to be competitive, they should spend at least 7% of annual revenue on marketing alone, including planning, digital marketing, brand upkeep and strategy, and advertising, among other marketing initiatives. A company that makes $100 M annually should spend around $7,000,000 on marketing to be competitive. One that makes $6 M annually, should spend at least $420,000 to be competitive.

Regardless of which of the above methods your company chooses to determine its marketing budget, it will likely be limited by available funds, regardless of its needs, objectives or how much revenue it is expecting to make or has made. Limiting factors are a fact of life, but particularly in the highly competitive Western Canadian energy industry, you cannot forget the link between promotion and revenue. A budget should be determined by following an objective, well-reasoned process that makes available the resources your company needs to succeed.

Stampede Marketers, Where Art Thou?

Get your cowboy boots, hats, and sunscreen ready, because Stampede season is here!

While the Calgary Stampede is a summer event that Calgarians (and especially us here at WJ) anticipate, there is a noticeable lull this year. Have you felt it?

In 2012, Calgary celebrated its 100th Stampede, and the city was packed with stampede-themed advertisements, decorations and, of course, parties. This year, though, we’re not seeing the same level of Stampede advertising (even the coveted Cowboy’s Stampede party isn’t sold out yet). Although the economy is slowly starting to get better here in Alberta, there appears to be less participation and less marketing from local businesses surrounding the Stampede.

While this is to be expected, we’re here to tell you that the value of marketing and demonstrating your commitment to the community in which you operate cannot be underestimated. In times of economic downturn, the concept of community is more important than ever. While consumers are spending less, communicating the idea that “we’re in this together” can help relate you to your target audience, who will subsequently develop a positive connection with your brand.

This is especially so during the Calgary Stampede – an event which only four years ago brought Calgarians together in a strong, emotional and unexpected way during the chaos and stress of extreme flooding. While spending capital on marketing may seem like it will cast a negative light on your brand, especially when falling oil prices have affected our city so greatly, it’s understandable that you’re cautious; however, a little can go a long way in terms of marketing.

Not sure what to think? Here are some things to consider:

Your brand is your most important asset

Your brand is one of your most valuable assets. Organizations which support efforts aimed at improving their brand and reputation are the organizations which are the strongest (and come out with the highest profit margins, even in a downturned economy).  Recessions don’t last forever, and businesses which recognize this fact and think long-term are the ones which succeed. What does that mean for you? Spending capital on improving your reputation and ensuring your brand is strongly represented amongst consumers and the community is not a waste of money. An investment in marketing is an investment in improving your brand equity, and that is just smart investing. See our previous blog on reputation versus brands here.

While your marketing budget may seem like an easy cut, consider this: a cost-cutting analysis of 1,000 firms during previous economic downturns produced by PIMS (Profit Impact Marketing Strategy) found that the most successful firms cut costs in manufacturing, administration, and spare capacity, and those that cut marketing budgets take a much harder hit profit-wise. Research conducted by AdWeek in 2009 similarly found that firms which cut marketing budgets during recessions saw sales fall anywhere from 20-30% over the following two years as a result. That’s a major loss.

Don’t make it about you – make it about them

While you may not have the marketing budget you once did, consider shifting your focus to your consumers who are also affected by the economy. For example, when do you think Calgarians most need your positivity, support and community involvement more than right now?

This doesn’t mean that it’s time for a big budget, flashy billboards and an aggressive social media strategy. What it means is show that you care, that you’re in it together and, most importantly, that you’re willing to show up for them. In other words, make an emotional connection between your audience and brand by playing a part in local and community-driven events, such as the Calgary Stampede. As AdWeek puts it, “word of mouth is a powerful amplifier”, and showing support for your community can build an emotional bond between your brand and your consumers, get mouths moving, and help to improve your overall reputation.

Maybe the economic climate means that you can’t sponsor as big of a Stampede pancake breakfast as you once did; however, there are still ways to add value. Consider how you can save consumers money or time, or think about showing your employees how much you appreciate their dedication by sending personalized thank-you’s for all of their hard work (they are your biggest brand ambassadors, after all). Of course, this advice can be taken into consideration for any relevant community-centred event, not just the ones that involve plaid, short-shorts and cowboys.

Make the Most of the 2014 Global Petroleum Show

This year’s Global Petroleum Show is taking place from June 10-12 at Calgary’s Stampede Park and promises to be bigger and better than ever before. For companies operating in the oil and gas sector, this event is the premier opportunity to connect with customers, partners, suppliers and prospective employees.

But just setting up a booth is not enough. With over 2,000 companies exhibiting and 60,000 people in attendance, how do you draw the right people to the booth?

William Joseph is a marketing firm that works with companies to do just that: our team of experts analyzes your organization and its corporate goals to produce a strategic plan and innovative branding and marketing initiatives that optimize your return on investment for exhibiting at the Global Petroleum Show.

From pre-show initiatives to invite qualified customers to your booth, to onsite data collection methods for research purposes, to post-show follow-up strategies, William Joseph can help you maximize your 3 days to fill your sales funnel.