Blog article

14th January 2019

Raising the value and equity of three global oil & gas companies


At Merchant, our digital marketing expertise spans a range of sectors, from commodities and logistics, to travel, health and construction.

In fact, you only have to glance at our case studies page to see the variety of clients we've worked with over the past 36 years in business.

From big names in travel and transport, to companies turning over billions of dollars in revenue annually, we've had the pleasure of branding and digitally transforming some of the world’s most influential organisations. Applying our team's expertise in SEO, website design, and lead generation (among many other great skills) to ensuring our clients present themselves professionally, whilst continuing to stay digitally relevant.

One such area we've acquired a wealth of experience in is the oil and gas industry.

Having worked with clients including Oil Spill Response Limited, BG Group and Trolex, our knowledge of the oil and gas landscape, and the unique challenges facing those operating within its market, gives us an edge over other agencies.

In fact, our five years working with BG group on more than 400 projects, was instrumental in the company securing its ultimate $53 billion (£42 billion) buyout by Shell back in 2015. A takeover that hit headline news the world over and still remains one of the highest-value bids in UK corporate history today.

BG Group Oil and Gas tankers

Creating value for BG Group over a five-year investment

Prior to its purchase by Shell, BG Group was one of Britain's most successful multinational oil and gas companies, operating in 27 countries globally, and producing the equivalent of 680,000 barrels of oil each day. Furthermore, the Reading-based oil giant, had grown to be the largest national supplier of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to the American market, and had acquired commercial reserves of more than 2.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent by the end of the 1990s.

We worked in partnership with BG Group for five consecutive years, becoming the organisation's primary marketing communications partner, and completing more than 400 projects for the oil company over this timeframe. Activity we undertook for the Group ranged from branding and designing its global stakeholder and investor engagement tools, to creating its exhibition stand design, together with advertising campaigns, corporate videos, employee benefit communications and logo development. All of which was significant in growing the BG Group brand and creating its global market presence.

But it was the activity we undertook for BG Group in the year leading-up to Shell's acquisition of the company that significantly boosted the brand's value and equity. And in the 12 months approaching the sale our team worked closely with the Group's senior leadership team on strategic engagement tools that secured BG Group the $53 billion (£42 billion) price tag it ultimately commanded.

BG Group Oil and Gas Print Pensions News examples

Helping Oil Spill Response Limited centralise its operation

Another example of where our outcome-driven marketing value shines through is in the work we've produced for Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL).

The company is an industry-funded cooperative, established in 1985 by the world's most responsible oil and gas companies, to respond to oil spills wherever they occur in the world.

Thirty years on, representatives from Petronas, BP Shipping, Shell and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers are among the non-executive Directors on OSRL's board, and the cooperative has firmly established itself as a global leader in the fight against oil spills in our oceans.

At the time we were engaged to work with OSRL, the company was conducting its operations across several individual microsites, dividing out different aspects of its business. But deciding to change tack and centralise its operation, OSRL wanted to pool its separate sites together into one all-encompassing new website, thereby strengthening its brand. But this wasn't the only significant change the oil spill cooperative wanted us to implement.

In addition to consolidating the information contained across its different microsites, OSRL also wanted to introduce a new feature to its website, a member portal to manage its training programmes.

This technical requirement for an in-built intuitive personalised experience was one we had to take into careful consideration when auditing the content management systems available to us. Ultimately, it was this aspect of the brief that predominantly guided our development architects' decision to use the Goldvision CRM system, on which to build our bespoke new Oil Spill Response website.

New Oil Spill Response homepage shown on laptop screen Website Design by Merchant Digital Agency

Adding value for OSRL members

For Oil Spill Response Limited the accredited training it provides to those looking to advance their career in the oil and gas sector is as important to the future of oil spill prevention, as the worldwide clean-up response service the organisation offers. It's for this reason that OSRL wanted its training portal to be an embedded feature of its newly revamped online home. So we developed a unique hub that allows OSRL members the ability to autonomously manage their personal training requirements online.

Dubbed MyOSRL, the portal has its own dedicated page, accessible from OSRL's website burger menu, and once signed in, registered MyOSRL users can customise their own personalised dashboard, alongside finding and booking training events taking place in their region, and tracking the progress of any training they're undertaking.

Additionally we made it possible for members to also receive relevant news and alerts via their MyOSRL page, together with the ability to download and save any training certificates they've been awarded for safe keeping. To make it easy for OSRL to manage the portal long-term we also built in the functionality for all training course content to be updated automatically, whenever new information is added, or existing materials amended.

Website Build Oil Spill Response homepage shown on tablet

Putting life-saving engineering into context for Trolex

The ability to personalise an experience in the way we had for Oil Spill Response Limited, was also a requirement of a brief we were tasked with by another innovative organisation operating within the gas and oil market.

Trolex is a technical engineering company that, among other things, specialises in creating life-saving detection devices for the commercial gas and mining sector. The company applies years of research and development into every technology it manufactures, and an industry-wide reputation for excellence has led to its products being adopted in over 100 countries worldwide.

But although widely acknowledged as being unique in its approach, Trolex isn't the only producer of the types of sophisticated detection and monitoring safely solutions it develops. And a rise in market competition resulted in the brand approaching us to rethink the way in which it marketed its technologies to stakeholders.

Our task was to mastermind and execute a new advertising campaign, which would help reposition Trolex's products in the oil and gas technologies marketplace. Inspiring consumers and potential adopters to see each innovative Trolex technology in an entirely new light.

Website Build Oil Spill Response homepage shown on tablet

How we humanised Trolex's technological innovations

To rise to the challenge of enabling Trolex's products to be perceived differently, we had to present them differently, and this meant moving away from a traditional B2B campaign. Instead, we looked at each technology through the eyes of a consumer, approaching the brief in the same way we would if it was targeting a B2C audience.

Whilst the masterful engineering behind Trolex's products had been widely promoted as its USP up until this point, we knew that to get the brand to resonate with its target audience differently, we'd have to inject a relatable element into the product offer. For us, this meant steering away from the technical capability of each innovation, and focussing on the value it delivers its users instead. An approach the brand hadn't undertaken previously.

To create our new benefit-led campaign, two things were immediately necessary.

One, we had to create unique tailor-made messaging for each of Trolex's products. Two, we had to develop the photography assets that would be the campaign's main visual identity. We began with the messaging first, as this would be the anchor of our campaign, with the images simply helping to reinforce these statements.

Product Campaign for Trolex Engineering Branding example

Trolex had been explicit in the fact it wanted each product in its range to be individually highlighted, in essence, the subject of its own mini-campaign. The other key deliverable of the campaign would be conveying the research and innovation that Trolex invests into creating each of its technologies. Focussing on each product one by one, we began by identifying the main takeaway of each technology, i.e. the outcome it achieves.

We then developed this further, introducing an emotive element, which humanised each product, and created a relatable context that emphasised the benefit of investing in Trolex's innovations.

The result was a campaign message that left its audience in no doubt as to the very real difference Trolex's products make day-to-day in the lives of their adopters. A message we enforced through contextual photography that showcased each technology at work in a real-life scenario.

The campaign was so successful, it not only captured the attention of Trolex's target B2B audience, it also secured the company powerful editorial coverage in their key trade media. Free exposure, on a mass-scale, that only helped to boost the campaign's reach, with the added benefit of generating en-masse positive publicity for Trolex.

Trolex Engineering Print Brochure example for Product Campaign

Merchant: marketing activity that makes a measurable difference

The ways in which we added value for Trolex, Oil Spill Response Limited and BG Group are just a handful of the client success stories we've achieved over our 36 years at Merchant. As an award-winning, outcome-driven agency our strength lies in knowing the right activity to implement to achieve the results our clients want. Whether that's an uptake in services, an increase in sales, or a significant boost in market retail value ahead of a major corporate acquisition.

In fact, it's our ability to deliver value and ROI for our clients that's been instrumental in some of the world's most iconic brands contracting our services, and the reason we become the long-term marketing partner for many of the clients who engage our services. From our five-year collaboration with BG Group, prior to its sale to Shell for $53 billion (£42 billion), to our 10-year contract with Somerset County Council to ease traffic congestion on its roads. Not forgetting our ongoing monthly retainer with British groundworks & civil engineering supplier Mackoy Ltd.

To see some of the other ways we've helped to positively reposition leading organisations in the fields of transport, construction, telecoms and healthcare, take a look at our case studies.

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