Is Oil Fan-Friendly?

Let me hop up on my soapbox here and proclaim that the oil and gas industry needs to cultivate raving fans from the general public. Yes, people who “Friend” us and “Like” us and “Follow” us on various forms of social media. People who support our field activities rather than protest them. People who feel a warm emotional connection to oil and gas.

I subscribe to Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Caffeine e-newsletter, which comes out every Tuesday. There are many motivational articles in there, so even if you are not a salesperson, you can still benefit from the attitudes and philosophies therein. Here’s the link: http://www.gitomer.com/sales-magazine/Sales-Caffeine.html

Anyway, in the last Sales Caffeine e-newsletter, there was an article by Stephanie Melish, who calls herself the Double-Tall, Non-Fat, No-Whip Sales Barista, about how “fan-friendly” the NASCAR racing folks are, and it got me to thinking. (Oh, geez, not again!)

Stephanie had a “hot pass” to go down to the pits where they change the tires, and said the folks there were “overly friendly” despite the fact that she doesn’t even know how to change a tire. “There were no looks of annoyance, only looks of smiles and acceptance, allowing me to feel like I belonged, where so clearly I did not,” she wrote. Then she asked the following questions:

How much access do you allow your fans/customers?

How close do you let them get to the inner workings of your business?

Do you let them revel in your successes?

Do you allow them the right to look behind the curtain?

Are you fan friendly or fan unfavorable?

Allowing people access makes them feel important and trusted, which fosters loyalty. They feel connected, part of the team. And they would be truly amazed at the technology, the capital investment, the tough decisions made, and the excitement and jubilation when a new well comes in. And they probably would not be urging their local government to pass legislation outlawing fracking.

I recall reading about a very successful demonstration of this sort of access in Norway.  One of the oil companies (I think it was Saga) had a contest and the winners (maybe 20 of them) got a chance to go via helicopter to an offshore platform in the North Sea (I think it was Snorre). The folks who got to go were totally amazed, blown away by the size of the equipment, how high-tech everything was, how knowledgeable the personnel were, how great the food was, and on and on. They were turned into raving fans and became veritable oil industry ambassadors when they returned home.

Do we have tours of our facilities? Do we throw a party when a big new well comes in and invite shareholders? Do we provide all kinds of detailed information about our operations, not just to analysts, but to everyday Joes and Suzies? How accessible are we as an industry? Do we enable access and connection? Do we foster trust and loyalty?

If we did more of these things, would we possibly be able to drill along the East and West Coasts of the US? Would we be able to fracture Marcellus shale reservoirs in New York State and Pennsylvania?
It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth taking positive action to improve our fan friendliness.

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Quote of the Day:

“We should reach out to people to try to go after the fans the way other sports do. Because we can’t just depend on the fact that it is a great game.”

– John McEnroe, US tennis player, b. 1959

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