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Traci Alford of Shell confesses ‘not everyone likes us…’

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 11.03.56By John Donovan

Interesting Marketing magazine interview published today with Traci Alford, the global head of Shell’s fuels branding located at Shell’s new regional HQ in Singapore.

Traci confesses that “not everyone likes us…” How perceptive.

Talks about Shell’s painful experience online. 

Claims that Shell wants a online dialogue with consumers.

Perhaps she is unaware that Shell once launched an online platform for free and open discussion with consumers called “Tell Shell”.  Initially Shell attached great importance to the innovation, which had the enthusiastic support of John Hofmeister. Shell even tried to seize a related domain name for a competing online forum we had set up – “” – but lost the case

However, when the online discussion became critical of Shell’s activities, Shell first secretly censored unwelcome comments, then closed down “Tell Shell” altogether. 

That was Shell’s first attempt at an online dialogue. An utter disaster. 

The Internet is a bottomless well of information, but wells are vulnerable. 

Extracts from a Marketing Magazine interview with Traci Alford, head of fuels branding for Shell. Published 28 May 2014

First, despite the company’s fairly painful experience online, digital is where she hopes to take the brand. In terms of media spend, it only takes up 10% of the budget. But she believes the brand needs to increasingly be part of a dialogue with consumers.

“For a business like Shell, it is difficult, not everybody likes us for various reasons. We have to be selective; we take incremental steps instead of running out there. Not all digital mediums are for all businesses, not all of them drive value,” she says.

Shell launched its bold brand positioning with its global brand campaign, “Let’s Go”, intending to showcase how Shell is behind multiple energy sources and cleaner fossil fuels. This ran without a hitch until 2012 when Greenpeace activists led a fake counter campaign mocking Shell.



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Earlier this year, Alaska’s eccentric tax environment forced us to temporarily defloat our 28,000 ton rig near the island of Kodiak, endangering our plan to develop the Arctic’s rich oil belt in 2013. It’s not the first time onerous regulations have given us trouble– and surely it won’t be the last! –but with your help, we can get the “Classic” Kulluk repaired and ready to once again conquer the frozen North. Some regulators and environmentalists are letting emotions stand in the way of America’s energy destiny, but we refuse to be victimized. By donating to Shell’s #RepairingFreedom campaign, individuals who truly believe in our Arctic mission can help bring the Kulluk back to her former glory.

RELATED: Was Greenpeace’s Shell Hoax Brilliant Or ‘Villainous’? One Of The Guys Behind It All Speaks.

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