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Marketing Week (MW): How do Tullow’s digital corporate communications contribute to its brand?
George Cazenove (GC): Tullow Oil is not a consumer-facing brand, so our main interaction is with investors, analysts and industry and business media. Part of our brand is tied up in our share price and part of it is tied up in our new markets in Africa.
Our investor focus means that our website is geared towards making sure that people understand the work we are doing and how we create value. That is where we lay a great deal of the emphasis in our digital communications.
MW: Who does Tullow consider to be its customers?
GC: Shareholders, analysts, governments and people in our new markets of Uganda and Ghana, where Tullow has brand recognition far above that in the UK. Oil and gas are synonymous with Tullow in Ghana. This is why our website has very specific Ghana and Uganda pages that explain what we are doing in those territories.
MW: What kind of content do you feature on your corporate website?
GC: We are keen on local content, which includes employment, users and suppliers. Our homepage has a link to our ‘Doing business with Tullow’ page. It is a portal for local suppliers to find out how they can come up to the standards required to fulfil our needs.
It is geared towards keeping those that are keenest to know about Tullow up to date about what we are doing. Our news releases are all about keeping people up to date about our activities.
We tend to focus on regulatory news statements because they are the main tools that we use for updating individuals and the market.
However, we also have an alert system that sends out an email the moment any new press releases appear on the site.
MW: How else do you update your digital audiences on real-time corporate news?
GC: We have to be very careful about updating people in real time because you can’t drip-feed news about drilling or upcoming wells. It has to be a single point of news and a single timing.
We wouldn’t do that and we wouldn’t encourage it. It is not a way that oil companies can do business, when it comes to price-sensitive news.
MW: What is your strategy for updating social networks, and who are your followers?
GC: We have a Twitter feed that we mostly use to promote the fact that we have issued a statement. We have just hired someone to run our social media sites and corporate website.
Currently, one of my colleagues just uses Twitter for us when he has time, but I think it is something we would look to use more. In a crisis situation, we would certainly look at using the website and Twitter to keep people updated on a regular basis. We are well aware of the power of Twitter.
A colleague replied to a tweet and within 24 hours, the number of people following Tullow had doubled from 1,000 to 2,000 – all people in Kenya, who tweet more than people in Uganda and Ghana. Most of our Twitter followers are African. We tend to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and other services to amplify what is on the website. While the content on those extra channels is currently driven by the website, I do wonder if that will change in time.