ExxonMobil launched Be An Engineer (BAE) in fall 2014 to help kids better understand the engineering field and the opportunities it offers. The program – which includes a range of original and shared content (including the launch of beanengineer.com) – highlights the meaningful contributions engineers make in the world, engages engineering influencers and provides resources to encourage students to choose engineering careers. In the first six weeks, the program reached approximately 19.4 million people across Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine, BuzzFeed, YouTube and beyond.
The need for engineers across many disciplines has never been greater. According to research from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, college graduates with engineering degrees can expect relatively low unemployment rates and higher wages when compared to their non-engineering peers. In addition, the initiative was developed with the following facts in mind:
- An estimated 250,000 more engineers will need to be added over the next 10 years (Kelly Services Engineering Employment Outlook)
- Underrepresented minorities hold only 10 percent of science and engineering jobs, despite making up more than a quarter of the U.S. population age 21 and older (National Science Foundation, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2013)
- Women earn only 18 percent of bachelor's degrees in engineering (Change the Equation Analysis of U.S. Department of Education data, 2013)
The BAE initiative is a truly integrated communications campaign incorporating social / digital media, public relations, advertising, a media partnership (with CNN Digital), internal communications and public affairs. During the program, ExxonMobil exceeded its goals of driving people to the BAE website; generating awareness and favorability of the program; increasing the number of social media followers; and creating interest among target audiences.
Goal 1: Generate action by driving 1.4 million page views to the new beanengineer.com website.
Goal 2: Generate awareness and favorability of BAE by leveraging online video assets created for the media partnership with CNN digital. Generate 2 million combined views of the eight videos created as part of the CNN "Build Tomorrow" video series.
Goal 3: Engage ExxonMobil social media followers and non-followers in the BAE effort and increase followers on Twitter, LinkedIn, Vine and YouTube channels and views of the sponsored "What kind of engineer should you be?" BuzzFeed Quiz.
Goal 4: Create buzz about and interest in BAE among the target audiences and generate organic engagement.
Be An Engineer targeted multiple audiences and generated a series of integrated, original digital content across a range of channels to communicate the rewards of engineering. The team used a variety of tactics to engage target audiences and establish a movement around this crucial issue.
- Parents and students: BeAnEngineer.com was developed to drive students and parents to a hub with resources that would both promote the benefits of engineering and provide information on how to pursue it. The website includes engineering profiles; a list of engineering disciplines; links to information about programs and scholarships; a list of crowd-sourced reasons to be an engineer; and multimedia assets. ExxonMobil also reached audiences through organic and paid social media posts on Twitter and LinkedIn; BAE video promotion used to debut ExxonMobil's Vine channel; multiple sponsored BuzzFeed posts; a media partnership with CNN Digital involving production of an educational series; and traditional TV ad spots that were also promoted on YouTube.
- The engineering community: To substantiate the value of engineers, the team activated the engineering community (i.e. associations, universities and ExxonMobil employees) to promote the cause. ExxonMobil provided the groups with tools related to the initiative and developed branded collateral including fact sheets, t-shirts and posters for distribution. The partners engaged their own followers by posting to their social channels, tagging ExxonMobil and using the hashtag #BeAnEngineer. ExxonMobil also engaged its own 15,000 engineers through employee communications soliciting reasons to "Be An Engineer" and a video recording booth that was taken to ExxonMobil campuses to collect hundreds of inspiring messages about why young people should consider engineering.
- Engineering influencers: ExxonMobil also reached out to high-profile influencers with strong followings and name recognition to reach a broader audience. Influencers including Steve Wozniak, John Glenn and Ursula Burns, among others, served as advocates by providing inspirational, authentic quotes about engineering and their personal journeys. We also featured leaders of prominent engineering organizations – National Academy of Engineering, National Action Council of Minority Engineering – with authored blogs on the ExxonMobil Perspectives blog.
Metrics / Results
Result 1: BeAnEngineer.com received 1,266,911 unique visitors and 2,431,400 total page views in six weeks.
Result 2: CNN "Build Tomorrow" received 3,261,279 total video views across all 8 videos.
Result 3: 19,431,262 total engagements across Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, Vine, BuzzFeed and YouTube.
- Twitter: 1,953,734 engagements on three ExxonMobil Twitter channels
- Vine: ExxonMobil video content was named "Vine of the Week"
- LinkedIn: 76,299 engagements
- ExxonMobil Perspectives Blog: 1,388,382 total site page views.
- BuzzFeed: 208,438 views and a social lift of 1.5 (for every 10 views, 5 are shared) of the "What kind of Engineer should you be?" quiz
- 8,533,576 YouTube video views
- 54,110 new followers/fans to ExxonMobil's LinkedIn and three ExxonMobil Twitter channels since the start of the program
Result 4: Research revealed that the overall campaign resonated amongst all target groups, performing strongest with girls/women. The research also showed that the initiative inspired teens (+52%) to consider engineering as a profession – particularly young girls (+94%). Unsolicited responses to the campaign included:
Video for ExxonMobil Inspires the Next Generation to “Be An Engineer"
- My 9-year-old watched your commercial about engineers and Googled, 'Engineer'...He said he wants to be an engineer to create things like Spiderman shooters so he can climb walls.
- My daughter is planning to pursue engineering in college. Most of her friends don't know anything about the profession. Your ads help to reinforce her decision as well as those of other young women.
- I am 14-years-old and saw your website. It has made me more curious about engineering.