Think like a video creative; lessons learned humanising energy

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Fridrik Larsen
CHARGE Energy Branding
Omar Zaafrani
Chair of the World Energy Council’s Communications & Strategy Committee
World Energy Council

Mark Gavhure
Partner Manager ,Programme Partnerships
BBC StoryWorks

If we manage to build into the brand a storyline that resonates with stakeholders, that evokes emotions, then we are on the way of humanizing something. If we want to love a brand, we must understand it and connect with it on a personal level. This is what Fridrik Larsen, Founder, CHARGE Energy Branding addressed this year at CHARGE Energy Branding Europe in moderating a discussion with BBC StoryWorks and World Energy Council on what humanising energy means and how we can achieve it.

We were honored to have Omar Zaafrani, Chair of the World Energy Council’s Communications & Strategy Committee share insights on how they and BBC StoryWorks leveraged the power of community and storytelling to make a social impact. The question World Energy Council asks themselves is what has been done to engage, to enable and prepare society and communities for the energy transition. Their humanizing energy vision aims to champion a more active and inclusive society-centric energy agenda.

In partnership with BBC StoryWorks, the Humanising Energy series is raising awareness of how societies and communities can and in fact are preparing for the energy transition by using storytelling.

Mark Gavhure, Partner Manager, Programme Partnerships, BBC StoryWorks shared best practices on how brands can think like a storyteller to increase media attention for the energy sector. BBC StoryWorks is world-renowned for humanizing pressing issues that impact society.

Mark shared that energy brands may know who the audience is and genuinely care about the urgency in tackling climate change, however, there still remains a massive disconnect. Audiences are seeking out solutions, they are looking for the tools they need to understand how energy transition impacts them and that´s where the right time is to connect audiences.

BBC StoryWorks and World Energy Council are doing exactly that by delivering compelling solution-led, human-focused, stories. In a world saturated with content – to formulate a powerful story one must first create a high-quality experience, the second is to know the audience, and the third, the most important is being character-driven.

When asked by Fridrik Larsen – is it different to work with people within the energy community, then let´s say consumer goods or someone else?  Do they see differently? Do they differ in terms of what they think is a story?

Mark underlined that the people within the energy sector aren´t so different from people across different sectors once you get into it. But sometimes you have to get to them personally, in order to tell the story. Omar emphasized that irrespective of what message you’re delivering the story needs to really have strong characters. If we can humanize the CEO, he/she becomes a strong character in that story we are trying to tell. Being able to construct stories around a narrative is crucial.

With the oil and gas sector, there is a great story to tell on the role that the energy industry plays to ensure basic needs are met and energy access is fundamental. How we cannot have a modern-day society without energy access and that is really the role oil and gas companies play.

One of the surprising findings from Humanising Energy series were the number of submissions received from different parts of the world and how eager people were in sharing their stories. Although the challenges they faced were very different, the way they approached those challenges were very similar. The World Energy Council was excited to be able to tap into their community, to inspire, to inform and to connect with the audience in an impactful manner.

When asked by Fridrik – What have you learned that would be impactful in shaping attitudes, behaviours, and habits through the energy transition? What have you learned that will help energy brands on that journey?

Omar´s answer was that the success of the energy transition is going to be about bringing society along on the journey. Mark added that resilience and adaptability is a positive message that we can take to people, and that should hopefully inspire people to get more involved. Together with the willingness of the members of the community to step up to the plate and really involve themselves. In addition to that, he expressed that it is important to focus on your characters, and to focus on solutions focused journalism as well. This in conjunction with the right platform and social media to get the message out.

Omar has a rather radical view; he thinks the future of corporate storytelling is going to be user generated content. And that costs you nothing. If you have a platform to share people’s content then user generated content will be authentic, it will be real, and cost effective. Of course, that carries risks, because you are putting your narrative in the hands of your audience.

In a CHARGE Europe exclusive with BBC StoryWorks and World Energy Council, we hope you found the session rather inspiring to connect with your audiences in an impactful way and humanise the energy transition journey.