Friday, July 8th, 2016 | 5 min read
It’s no small task to formulate a digital strategy for one of the largest oil companies in the world, but Americo Silva, global head of social and alternative media at Shell, is up to the challenge. I sat down with Silva to talk about how he drives his team to stay curious, and whether personalization can occur at a global scale. Below are some highlights from our conversation.
I manage the development of our social media strategy. I set best practices for the team in terms of content and analytics. I also work closely with different countries and businesses to help them execute against our social media strategy framework, in the best possible way. Basically, I help bring Shell’s social media strategy to life.
In a corporation like Shell, with multiple businesses and audiences all over the world, things get complex. The expectations are high and the challenges are unique. So, we are always improving and reinventing ourselves in order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape. We’re always finding a better way to do something than what we’ve done in the past. It’s almost like a small start-up inside Shell.
To that end, I try to maintain a sense of curiosity within my team. I try to make them feel excited about their jobs, while inspiring them to always do better. I work closely with them to bring our strategies to life.
That’s one of the benefits (and challenges) of working in social: you’re constantly learning, reinventing yourself, and overcoming new obstacles – all in real time.
Technologies like Sprinklr help us create personalization at scale. Clearly, this cannot be done by humans alone, because it’s just too much data and information. We need something like the Sprinklr platform, for example, to help us collect, analyze, and turn all that data into meaning experiences for our customers.
The most important thing to keep in mind is to always be searching for great customer stories and insights – to get to know your customers on a deeper level. What will trigger their attention? What will capture their interest? What do they actually care about? Once you’ve figured out what moves them, then you can create the right experiences and scale them out. Having technologies like Sprinklr can help you to achieve these outcomes, but only if you approach everything from the mindset of putting your customer first.
I think the traditional retargeting is very powerful when done well. For instance, if I’m searching for a particular subject, I’m interested in a certain moment, or I want to buy something – then later on, I start receiving information about those topics, I feel like I’m being properly served as a consumer. So when done well, retargeting is very effective.
But there are many situations where it does not happen properly.
I can’t even count the number of times I’ve purchased something from an ecommerce site, only to continue receiving ads from that same site about the same product. As a consumer, it’s like, “Guys, don’t you know that I just bought the product I was looking for?”
I would say automation is quite good and generates the scale that we need, but we need to improve it. It’s not perfect yet.
Mainly because they don’t see it. They think everything is working fine because those types of experiences are given to the consumers, not the marketers. So unless the consumers give direct feedback to those brands, the marketers themselves don’t see it. They just pay for the number of clicks at the end and that’s it. We clearly have some room for improvement, but I am optimistic about the future of automation and personalization.
I just saw today an example of a chatbot that an agency did for clients regarding customer service which was really, really clever. It was a very simple customer service interaction, but it was very well done. And you wouldn’t have guessed that it was actually a robot behind the interaction. Everything was designed with a very human touch. It looked like a live chat with another human being. I think innovative ideas like this, the ones that apply humanity, will help drive a future of personalization at scale.