American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 107

ConventionCoverage: Western Energy Alliance
they must have a presence on social
media. "Whether it is a negative comment
made by a company executive or when
something spills, the days of responding
with a news release dropped into a fax
machine are gone," he contended, adding,
"With a social media presence, you can
respond in real time and get in front of
the crisis."
The oil and gas industry has made
tremendous progress in the past few years,
Tonner allowed. He said, "The industry
accepted the reality of where things were
and said, 'We have to engage.' With truth
on your side and without browbeating
the audience, you can connect by giving
them something to hang on to."
Tonner said companies "get people to
like (them) by supporting interesting,
valuable content that is not necessarily
about the industry before talking about
controversial topics such as hydraulic
fracturing."
Look Beyond
Alliance chairman Jay Ottoson delivered a speech on the urgent need for industry leaders to better communicate, engage, and capture the interests of its customers.
"Our need to react quickly to the
downturn in product prices . . . along
with the fight against regulatory overreach
has made one thing very clear: the importance of an effective and proactive
communications strategy," Ottoson averred.
Paraphrasing President Dwight Eisenhower, Ottoson declared, "Improving our
industry communications is both important
and urgent."
Ottoson, who is president and chief
executive officer of Denver-based SM
Energy, described how using positive stories that showed the correlation between
people's everyday essentials and how
products made from oil and gas made
their lives better could help change public
perception and reduce some of the urgent
issues the industry faced.
He said his company conducted consumer research that found while the general public thought it knew about energy
companies, only a small number knew
the whole story. "If you really look
around, you will see an industry that is
woven into the very fabric of our society,"
Ottoson said as he pointed out various
items in the room made from oil and
gas.
"Even though it's right in front of
them, (people) won't see it unless we

those memories possible came from oil
and gas.
Ottoson said SM Energy's goal was
to capture the attention of consumers and
keep them interested where they already
were spending their time: online.
"Most importantly, we need all of you
to be actively engaged in pushing these
messages to customers through various
communication channels, especially in
the digital space. We also need your help
to come up with creative material that is
memorable, engaging, and entirely positive
about our products," Ottoson concluded.
He said LookBeyond.org would launch
in the fourth quarter this year.
Alliance Chairman Jay Ottoson, president
and chief executive officer of Denverbased SM Energy, describes his company's "Look Beyond" campaign during
the association's annual meeting in Vail,
Co. The purpose of the program, Ottoson
said, is to help the public realize the
tremendous impact oil and gas have on
people's everyday lives.

ask them to look," he remarked. "So,
that is exactly what we are going to do."
Ottoson said SM Energy was leading
the way by creating a website called
Look Beyond and a social media strategy
as a means to connect the public with the
many products made from oil and gas.
He said both could be used by the industry
to improve its message and modernize
its outreach efforts.
"We are launching a story-telling platform that will help consumers see all the
ways products made from oil and natural
gas impact their lives," he described.
Specifically, he said, all the content
on the Look Beyond website will encourage people to:
* "Look around" to see that most of
the products they use every day would
not exist without oil and gas. "Oil and
gas production allows us to enjoy the
benefits of plastics, fibers and fabrics,
packaging, household goods, outdoor
equipment, personal care products, and
so much more," Ottoson said.
* "Look again" to notice the surprising
things they didn't realize were made from
oil and natural gas. Ottoson gave examples
of electric cars and wind turbines as he
described how oil and gas products were
important to people now and in the future.
* "Look back" to think about the
memories that mean the most to them
and realize how many things that made

Budget On Track
The Alliance has made operational
adjustments in response to the industry
downturn, according to a staff report.
Brian Fakharzadeh, vice president of
development & operations, said the Alliance remained on track to meet its budgetary and membership goals for 2016.
"We have seen lower income this year,
but we will meet our budget," Fakharzadeh
said. "We renewed 272 members through
July. That is down a bit from last year,
but was not unexpected. I am pleased to
announce we signed 29 new members
this year, and that is more than expected."
Fakharzadeh credited regular travel
to Houston to meet with companies that
operated in the West. "Between those
visits and our press coverage on important
issues, many smaller companies are saying, 'We need to be involved,'" he surmised.
He said the Alliance would continue
producing events throughout the year that
helped fund its work in support of the industry. Among its more successful events,
the Alliance will again host a winter wine
tasting in Denver, scheduled for March
2, 2017, at the Westin Hotel.
Fakharzadeh also noted the Wildcatter
of the Year awards would return next
year after a one-year hiatus. The event is
scheduled for Sept. 9, 2017, at the Grand
Hyatt in downtown Denver.
Two industry veterans were recognized
at this year's Alliance convention. Lowell
Braxton, the Alliance's representative in
Utah, was recognized for outstanding
achievement in government affairs, and
Claire Moseley, former executive director
of Public Lands Advocacy, was recognized
for career achievement in public affairs.
r
OCTOBER 2016 107


http://www.LookBeyond.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Contents
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