How a Creative Marketing Agency Functions Like the Oil and Gas Industry

One has a focus on the messy world of the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, and involves heavy engineering and geology, machinery, tubes and pipes. The other specializes in branding, the digital world, SEO and media. Some people may assume one may be more left-brained than right-brained – but they’d be wrong.

Sure there are some similarities: Both are constantly searching for the latest and greatest technologies to improve their services. Fifth Ring specifically has a global focus like many oil and gas companies do. I'm sure there is a lot of coffee involved in both worlds.

But looking at the big picture, how does a creative marketing agency function like the multi-billion dollar oil and gas industry? As a creative who is continuing to learn about oil and gas in order to better promote clients within it, I constantly search for connections to draw between the two.

Below are some conclusions I've drawn comparing the creative processes at an agency to the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors in the oil and gas industry.

Upstream: The Start of It All

It all starts with the identification of an oil-rich area that has yet to be tapped, followed by the surveying that takes place to determine the possibility for return, appraisal of the site and eventually the extraction of oil or gas from beneath the Earth's surface through a variety of machinery, tubes and pipes.

No pipes, tubes or welding are involved in a marketing agency, but metaphorically, the idea of the creative process begins in the same way. We work with clients to identify a barrier or an opportunity for improvement, we survey the situation and most importantly, we extract as much raw material, or information, as we can from the client, much like oil and gas companies pull resources from the ground. We look for better ways to do things that will delight our clients, and as part of that we embrace the benefits of new technology, including digitalization. We bring different perspectives, opinions and issues to the surface to best identify a solution that's right for our client.

Midstream: En Route to Transformation

Once extracted, oil is transported via pipeline, rail, ship, oil tanker or truck.

At an agency, information from the client and initial research is "packaged" and throttled through the appropriate creative and digital teams who will revitalize the look and feel of it.

Downstream: Where the Magic Happens

Well in oil and gas, it's actually where the chemistry happens. Now at refineries, oil is transformed into the products we use every day, including gasoline, jet fuel, diesel oil and petrochemicals, which you find in things like water bottles, sunscreen, clothing and much more.

In agency life, this stage is where it all comes together: we refine the idea, the visuals, the content and strategy. At this point, an agency takes a client's company, line of products, website or idea, and transforms it into something entirely new and fresh that will stand out amongst its competitors. In the same way that operators and service companies work together, we agree outcomes with our clients and aim to maximize value from their investment.

Both industries have to be flexible, adaptable and not only move with the times, but lead them. And at the end of it all, we produce something that’s special, whether it’s a product that improves daily life or a marketing campaign that revitalizes a business. We both end up producing something that we’re proud to share with the world.

Can you find other connections between these two seemingly different industries? Or do you have another example of opposite industries that are connected? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @FifthRing.