My first social media team and core project at Ogilvy was like a bootcamp in crisis and reputation management.
BP continued to face reputation challenges in the years following its Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In Fall 2012 — two years after the spill — BP America’s social media presence largely consisted of comments and messages from active detractors. These often included trolls and people who only commented with profanity. BP largely replied with canned statements.
BP America then worked with Ogilvy on public relations and communications efforts, including social media content.
What really drives people to express their passion for a brand through advocacy in social media? What builds a "passion brand" ?
Ogilvy's research – the most comprehensive study of global social advocacy to date (2013) – analyzed millions of social brand mentions to better understand advocacy for brands online.
The data – which included about 7 million mentions of 20+ brands and 8 feature films across 4 countries including China, Brazil, UK and US – provided us with insights and clues on how to build brand advocacy.
Ogilvy took a series of steps, putting measured processes in place to ensure BP America would stay ahead of its competitors while building a community to support the brand again. This included the development of a proprietary research tool called the Advocacy Index. (Links 1, 2, 3)
Through research including social listening, we discovered that BP’s steadfast commitment to the Gulf and American energy had developed a sense of pride in BP employees.
Employees and their family members were actively defending and advocating for the company, especially on Facebook. While many BP employees do not self-identify as such on their personal social accounts, they outwardly shared their employee pride in comments to BP America on Facebook, and we needed to craft content that would bring them to the forefront.
Focusing on Facebook, where the majority of our advocacy was being generated, we created content to connect with BP employees and the pride they feel in their daily work to help fuel America. Whether by sharing a photo of a Gulf rig or designing a graphic to highlight offshore workers’ unique helicopter commute, we told stories that resonated with employees and prompted them to engage.
One of the core functions of my team was also social media management and response. We responded to a wide range of comments and messages (many of them negative), and also hid, deleted or blocked troll/spam accounts.