06 May Natural Gas Genius Campaign Enters Second Year
Published in APGA’s THE SOURCE
APGA’s long-awaited marketing campaign, called Natural Gas Genius, launched on March 14, 2019, which is the official Genius Day. On this day, Natural Gas Genius Facebook and Instagram accounts began posting original and paid content, and a website (www.NaturalGasGenius.com) launched. Social media assets like pictures and captions intended for posting were also made available to APGA members and campaign partners.
As a bit of background, almost two years prior to the campaign launch, it was decided among APGA members that a large scale, national level campaign to reach consumers was needed. And if it was to be effective, it would need to be based on extensive research. A small group of dedicated members began to work on this initiative. They held brainstorming sessions, created an RFP, interviewed public relations firms, and decided to work with the firm Porter Novelli (PN). Over the next year or so, this team along with PN conducted audits, research, in-person focus groups, online consumer surveying, and developed a campaign concept. They outlined the goal: Increase consideration of natural gas as a preferred source of energy. They found that the takeaway they wanted is for audiences to say, “I choose natural gas to live better.” Overall, the concept was simple: Consumers want to provide better. They want to give themselves and their families a good place to live. From this sentiment, the idea of Natural Gas Genius was born.
Per the campaign concept, “Natural Gas Genius is a consumer marketing campaign that speaks from the heart and mind of today’s homebuyer/remodeler. It’s refreshing, sassy, and right on target with this target audience. In each component of the campaign, we experience people’s stories that show us how they are transforming into providers of better living for themselves and those they love because they are choosing natural gas. The voice of the campaign comments on this transformation, acknowledges the “genius” moves these people are making, and encourages them to do more with natural gas – all while poking a little fun and laughing with them about who they used to be and how far they have come. The campaign look shows a primary photograph of the person in the story, with several smaller images that give us glimpses into the person’s family and friends and the warm, cozy, comfortable, fun moments they are enjoying enabled by natural gas.”
Thus, extensive work went into the development of Natural Gas Genius, and it was all done in order to execute the campaign effectively on March 14, 2019. Throughout 2019, Natural Gas Genius continued to post organic and paid Facebook and Instagram content, directed consumers to its website, and supplied APGA members and partners with social media assets and other marketing collateral.
2019 was a foundation year as it kicked off the Natural Gas Genius campaign; launched the NaturalGasGenius.com microsite; grew our social media presence; amplified through paid media; and, learned about our audience. In its first nine or so months online, the campaign saw 5.9 million paid media impressions; 41,605 click-throughs to the website; and, 14,669 people reached on Facebook.
Some interesting takeaways of what worked for posts include:
- Usable content, like recipes
- Variety of CTAs
- Natural gas as a lifestyle, not a product (sell feelings, not features)
- Tie into seasonal hashtags, holidays, and “holidays”
As for NaturalGasGenius.com, it is the one-stop-shop for everything natural gas including stories that showcase “provide better,” a searchable directory, FAQs, and links to social channels. The website saw:
- 14,045 page views
- 3,097 clicks to member websites via the directory
- 5,943 content interactions
- 1,392 FAQ interactions
2019 was clearly a huge year for Natural Gas Genius development, and the team at APGA and PN intends to continue growing the brand in 2020. The team has been working on 2020 plans since mid- to late-2019 and are excited about what the second year of Natural Gas Genius has in store.
As Natural Gas Genius resonates and builds with our target audience, we are going to build upon the idea of “betterment.” Betterment means that consumers increasingly value products and brands that help them “be better” in some way – whether it’s being healthier, having new experiences or greater knowledge. Using betterment, we can more directly target the audience. In 2020, we will drive deeper relevance and connection by focusing on our primary audience subsegments. Natural Gas Genius will drive greater engagement by introducing more utility, information, and entertainment by leveraging “influencers” with subject matter expertise while extending our campaign reach and engagement.
Influencers are those active in online engagement that have a large following of our target consumers; and we are looking to partner with several influencers over the course of the year. The extended reach and content opportunities are two key benefits of working with influencers. One influencer will be featured each season and aligned to the target audience subsegments. This will also help drive traffic to the microsite and optimize our SEO presence.
2020 will feature a blog on our website. The blog will be able to feature fresh content routinely from PN and influencers. The content will be used on social channels and paid media. Influencer content used on social media will allow for new audiences and more engaging content through a third-party voice. This will allow for new ways to talk about usage occasions and relate to our audience in a different way thus increasing consideration of natural gas. Paid media can go to the next level now that we have an established audience and have been able to learn their behaviors and profile online. Influencer content will also be utilized on paid media.
2020 is the time to build upon our foundation with audience subsegments and expand our reach through new tactics to build on a strong strategy – all to help our audience provide better.