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December 14, 2020 Websites | Content

Insights from Spirit Energy: the role of storytelling in corporate reputation

By Rowena Crowley 

We are always interested in learning about our clients' challenges and industry insights. We recently caught up with Ross Davidson, Communications Director of Spirit Energy, to get his perspective on communication challenges and the role of storytelling in building reputation.

What are your biggest communication challenges? 

One of the main challenges is getting cut-through. There is a lot of noise in our market so identifying what we want to be known for, sticking to our guns on that and being consistent with our messages is really important and can be a challenge.

From a societal perspective, our industry is quite rightly under pressure about what it's doing around a couple of big topics, including representing the communities where we operate and what our role is in contributing to tackling climate change. I think the industry has a lot to say on both of these areas, but for us as an industry and us as a business, are we explaining that and setting out our stall on those areas clearly enough?

How has the new website helped build Spirit Energy’s reputation? 

It's really about laying down markers. At no point on our website do we say, 'This is Spirit Energy and this is the reputation that we want'. It’s more about laying down milestones for what makes us us. It’s about strong design, a really clear and consistent tone of voice and sharing our stories about our projects and people and using all of that to create a really important pillar of our reputation.

I've had a lot of feedback on the website and at no point has anyone said the website doesn’t really look like you. Having that reputation already in the market for doing things differently and setting ourselves apart from our competition is clearly the reputation that we have and the website underpins that and strengthens it as well. It’s a really important part of setting out the kind of reputation that we want.

What role do you think content has in building corporate reputation? 

Watch Ross's response in this video or else you can read it below:

I think it’s predominantly about storytelling. Going out and saying, 'This is the reputation that we want' and shouting that from the rooftops is not particularly effective. Instead, having the content and the range of content that tells the stories that you want to tell, which again underpin the reputation that you want to establish or want to be known for. That feels really important to me and it's really powerful as well. I think everybody is hardwired to open their ears and open their mind if they hear something that sounds a little bit like 'Once upon a time'. Then they're on, you've got them.

Storytelling is a proof point. Saying 'We're Spirit Energy and we do things differently' doesn't really get you there but having the people, the projects, the successes and the challenges as well which set out why we're different and why we're proud of that is what makes the difference. It's a bit like saying 'I am honest'. If you have to say you're honest, then you've probably already lost the argument. But being able to have those proof points for why we are who we are and telling those proof points through the stories of our people and their voices, the content that we create helps us do that and build that reputation.

How can agencies best support you and your team and how do you like to work with agencies? 

The most important thing in that relationship is trust. If at any point anyone feels like they can't be honest with the client or the agency, you're going down the wrong road. For me, anybody that we work with should really feel like part of the team, or at worst, an extension of the team. If it feels like any kind of transactional relationship, then it doesn't feel like it's going to work for me. It should feel like everybody is pulling in the same direction and getting something out of the relationship. That way, it's far more of a mutually beneficially partnership. It needs to be built on trust from the outset.

Huge thanks to our client Ross Davidson, Communications Director at Spirit Energy, for sharing his perspective with us.

Learn more about our work with Spirit Energy

James Handslip

James Handslip

Agency Director London


+44 (0)20 8609 4908

Charlotte Naversten

Charlotte Naversten

Content strategist


+46 73 985 55 77

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