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How social media fuels digital transformation at Shell

Oil & Energy
Company Size
Netherlands, United States, and countries worldwide
of brand budget allocated to social and digital
social media accounts managed

The Challenge

Royal Dutch Shell started in 1833 as an antiques firm selling — among other things — shells. It is now number five on the Fortune Global 500, and one of the world's most valuable and recognized brands. But how does such a large global organization deliver personalized customer experiences at scale?

Americo Silva joined as the Global Head of Digital and Social Media for Shell in 2015. "I remember my first day on the job," he recalled. "I had a queue of people at my desk complaining about the technology that we were using for social media management." He added, “Every market and team was interacting with customers on social, but we couldn’t really work together. We didn't act like one brand, and I think that was evident to the customer."

“Social offers endless possibilities,” Silva noted. “It allows us to create more personal, genuine customer experiences. Ultimately, it can help us transform our brand in the eyes of our customers.” But with abundant room for growth comes commensurate room for error. “Social is a difficult beast to tame. In a corporation like ours, with multiple businesses and audiences all over the world, things get complex quickly,” he added.

"There was very little measurement, campaign planning, or cross-team collaboration. The process was not at all streamlined, and our team was struggling as a result," explained Davey Strachan, Shell's Digital Operations Manager.

Shell had 100 accounts and dozens of social teams worldwide. They needed a technology partner that could:

  • Unify siloed teams, processes, and tools
  • Give executive visibility into every step of social campaigns
  • Give better engagement and a more elegant experience to customers

The Solution

After looking at a number of different solutions, Shell chose Sprinklr’s industry-leading unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform.

"One of my most critical decisions was to identify the best-in-class social media platform in the market," Silvo added. "After a lengthy process, we selected Sprinklr. It was the only platform robust enough to serve our needs as a global organization and innovative enough to keep up with our aspirations for social."

Shell implemented a directive for their marketing strategy to become less about “marketing the brand” and more about focusing on the customer, stakeholder, and target audience. Shell’s brand budget shifted from being primarily driven by traditional channels to digital and social. “80% of our budget is now allocated to social and digital. Why? Because we know that these channels allow us to reach and engage with customers at scale,” Dean Aragon, CEO of Shell Brands International and Global VP of Brand, said.

The benefits of having a Unified-CXM platform were almost immediately apparent.

"We have visibility every step of the way for every campaign — from content creation, to approvals, to publication, to amplification through paid. As a result, we can move through the content lifecycle much more efficiently than ever before, and with fewer errors," said Strachan.

There was also greater visibility into the customer journey. Srachan further noted, "We can tie activities and outcomes from social to other parts of the customer journey — whether that's a digital conversation on our site or a customer service question on X, formerly Twitter."

The Outcome

Shell has now unified social operations on Sprinklr across two essential customer-facing functions: marketing and advertising.

"It really improves the experience internally on the way people manage social, and it empowers a bigger group of people to have access to the information they need to do their jobs effectively," Silvo said. "You can detail by business; you can detail by geography; you can detail by particular pieces of work. This cuts down risk, cost, and time."

Because multiple teams are working from the same platform, those teams can communicate in one brand voice. And because they're engaging with customers in a consistent voice and adding value during every interaction, customers want to continue the conversation.

Most importantly, the customer's experience is more meaningful. "We're working together to provide a consistent experience for our customers," said Silvo. "And proving to them — one interaction at a time — that we're here to put them first."

“We’ve been able to grow our audience; we see thousands of customer engagements every month; and some of our most passionate advocates are our customers,” Silvo added.