Strategic Branding & Corporate Communications
ExxonMobil Alaska came to Walsh|Sheppard in 2014 looking for a new way to speak to Alaskans in a market all too familiar with the traditional messages touted by other oil and gas companies. They wanted to be different. In their words, they wanted to be a little “quirky” but on brand. Still troubled with negative associations from of the 1989 Valdez oil spill, ExxonMobil also needed to show how it has contributed to positive changes in responsible production practices, and gives back to communities.
Together, we mapped out an economical, strategic communications campaign that was launched with the Kaktovik Knits sub-campaign. With an emphasis on “mobile” to play off of ExxonMobil’s name, we created a campaign to meet people during their everyday activities—surfing the net, checking in on social platforms, communicating with mobile phones.
The campaign is primarily digital and makes use of an ExxonMobil in Alaska micro site. It doesn’t hurt that ExxonMobil has great stories to tell. A handful of Pt. Thomson workers started knitting in their spare time and donated the hats to kids in nearby Kaktovik. We call them the “Magnificent Seven” of the 1200 employees working on the Pt. Thomson project.
Since then, we have launched additional micro campaigns, one around the Iditarod promoting the science and math used in the Iditarod where teachers can find a variety of class plans to further engage students. The second campaign is titled “Engineer A Career.” This campaign was targeted to moms and eighth grade girls, encouraging girls to consider a career in engineering, a field highly dominated by men. A component of this campaign won a Pinnacle Award, AMA Alaska’s highest honor.
Safety in Numbers
As a result of using unique strategic communications, ExxonMobil Alaska’s favorability rating is up an impressive 12 points in a very short period of time and with a relatively modest budget.