How effective re-branding helped OilCareers.com expand in the US market

Fifth Ring Integrated Corporate Communications is a fully integrated, corporate communications company with an international reputation as an energy industry expert. Founded in Aberdeen in 1991, it prides itself on providing solutions to a wide range of client sectors. It offers support in five areas: advertising, brand and strategy development, design, digital media and public relations.

Launched in Aberdeen in 2000, Oilcareers.com was one of the first niche job boards targeting the worldwide oil and gas segment. The business attracts an international client and candidate base and carries around 7,000 jobs per month for an impressive range of clients, including many of the world’s leading oil operators and service companies.

The acquisition of OilCareers.com by Jobsite (owned by DMGT) in 2008 offered new investment, which in turn enabled the senior management objective of opening an office in the world oil capital Houston, in 2010.

Fifth Ring was appointed to support OilCareers.com after successfully winning a competitive pitch in September 2009. It tasked Fifth Ring with a re-branding campaign that would enable it to branch into the competitive US market, the first step in its expansion plans.

Following the success of the re-branding campaign Fifth Ring is now entering its second year of working with OilCareers.com, with a number of exciting future projects in the pipeline, including supporting its expansion into the Middle East this year and subsequent plans to branch into Canada, Alaska and South East Asia in 2012.

Background

Prior to working with Fifth Ring, OilCareers.com had undertaken a ‘smattering’ of brand advertising in Pipeline magazine, also exhibiting at a number of conferences including the Global Petroleum Show 2008, ADIPEC 2008, Gastech 2009 and OTC 2009.

OilCareers.com acknowledged it needed specialist expertise to take it to the next level and now utilises a range of integrated corporate communication tools from Fifth Ring, including digital media, PR activity, advertising and design work.

Implementation of Strategy

Fifth Ring pitched to OilCareers.com on the basis of its capability to help the company grab a slice of the American oil & gas market, with Houston at the hub. The primary objective was to increase the size of the company’s CV database by appealing to job hunters.

With offices in Aberdeen, Houston, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Fifth Ring’s geographical footprint was immensely attractive to any business looking to develop an international offering in the key energy geographies. During the initial pitch, a conference call with Brad Leone, the PR Leader of Fifth Ring’s Houston office illustrated the company’s presence on the ground in the city.

Fifth Ring’s primary task was to give OilCareers.com a new “look and feel” that included a new corporate logo. The old logo was tired and dated and it was imperative to have something new in place before the company commenced its plans for expansion into Houston.

Examining the brand-scape of a number of OilCareers.com’s competitors, Fifth Ring’s creative director, Stewart Fallowfield and his team concluded there was a proliferation of clichéd imagery, including the smiling-staff photographs, anodyne reception areas and pictures of oil rigs on existing energy sector websites. He was adamant this was something Fifth Ring would not replicate.

Size Matters

During discussions with the client, Fifth Ring identified the key differential between OilCareers.com and similar websites – size really did matter. It was something that clearly set OilCareers.com apart from the competition as the number of people registered on the site far outweighed any others in the sector – and appealed to both prospective employers and job seekers.

Fallowfield had been to Houston on several occasions and as a result had a number of personal observations about Texas, Houston and the oil & gas industry in general, all of which lent themselves to the re-branding concept.

He noticed that in Houston there is an expression people use (particularly in bars): “Texas, where everything is bigger.” The whole ethos: big cars, big hats, big people, big food was something Fallowfield hooked on to, ‘big’ imagery which lent itself perfectly to the concept of branding OilCareers.com for the US market. He was aware of the work of LA-based illustrator Charlie Hill, having been a fan of his work for a number of years. Fallowfield instinctively knew that the 1930s, iconic, propaganda poster style used by Hill was the best option for OilCareers.com.

The use of a strong, instantly identifiable illustration was untested by competitors’ websites and Fifth Ring knew the use of a distinctive image was one that they could capitalise on for OilCareers.com. Commissioning four sample options provided plenty of material to use in the OilCareers.com campaign.

Use of Media and Multimedia

Fifth Ring recommended a three-month period of radio and external media advertising prior to the Houston launch and also designed and built a distinctive and high profile stand at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) – the world’s premier oil & gas event – in May 2010.

Additionally, Fifth Ring advised OilCareers.com to invest a substantial figure to buy out the entire advertising space for one day on leading Houston radio station KTRH’s website and www.click2Houston.com during OTC 2010, significantly raising brand recognition in the US.

The tactical use of advertising billboards along main transport routes, for example around Aberdeen airport – where many people travel to and from Houston, particularly during OTC - helped promote OilCareers.com. Billboards in strategic areas in Houston were also chosen for maximum impact, such as those on oil corridors and in view of specific energy-sector offices.

Results

The key aim of the re-branding exercise was to enable OilCareers.com’s successful launch in Houston and to increase its CV database to attract a greater number of potential businesses to post vacancies on the job board.

The brand extension/development work undertaken by Fifth Ring on behalf of OilCareers.com has seen a number of positive results, from an increase in the number of new CVs being uploaded to increasing numbers of new registrations to the OilCareers.com site.

The number of monthly site visits increased by 63,750 (from 735,586 to 799,336) between September 2009 and November 2010, while the number of unique users increased by 20%. In addition, since the brand extension, the number of total registrations to the site has increased by 23%. The total number of vacancies posted to the job board has also increased, from 6,231 in September 2009, to 10,033 in November 2010 – a rise of 61%. This is the highest value recorded by the company since January 2009. OilCareers.com has also seen a resulting 27% increase in the number of total stored CVs.

Client Testimonial

“Since day one, Fifth Ring has been a great company to work with. We’d been discussing how to take the next step for OilCareers.com with a view to looking at global expansion for our brand, with a particular focus on oil & gas hubs in the US (Houston) and Middle East (UAE).

“Stewart and his design team instantly hooked on to what we were trying to achieve and delivered on the creative and messaging we were looking to put across to the industry. It was something we knew we could use to really make ourselves identifiable as a brand.

“Fifth Ring’s knowledge of the industry and the different territories within it really helped us formulate an effective marketing strategy and this was never more evident than during OTC, when the strategic placement of our advertisements and a visually appealing booth designed by Fifth Ring really caught the attention of the American energy sector. We’ve come to really trust Fifth Ring to do what they say and now use their whole range of integrated services.”

Mark Guest, Managing Director of OilCareers.com

This case study was submitted as part of the entry process to The Drum Marketing Awards and was awarded a Nomination in the category of brand development or extension strategy

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.