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Social Media Helps the Chemical Industry to Amplify Awareness and Importancy Amongst People

In an interview with Dr Martin Brudemueller, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors, BASF by Business Line, he was asked what he thought about the following: In general, the chemicals industry has not been viewed in favourable light and is largely seen as not being environment-friendly. He answered as following:

“It is a misconception. We are conducting programmes to create awareness among people. One should understand that we are not part of the problem, but in fact, provide solutions. Our innovative products are used for various applications to save energy. In fact, the chemicals industry is the starting point of any innovation. It is imperative to have innovative solutions to sustain high living standards; especially in developing countries which are growing at a faster pace.”

Deploying social media for the purpose of awareness and engagement

It’s exactly that, the importance of the chemical industry for the global society, its needs and anxieties, the starting point of (m)any innovation(s) in the various value chains that it makes the case to deploy social media for the purpose of awareness and engagement.

Since 1992 Cefic has carried out a biennial pan European survey so as to measure the public’s perception of the chemical industry. In a Cefic-led pan-European survey released in 2010 on public perceptions of the EU chemical industry, survey respondents ranked the chemicals sector sixth out of eight benchmark industries in terms of having a favourable image and ranked it below the overall average for all sectors. The image of the chemical industry in 2010 is still at the same level as in 2008.

It is the gap of having a favourable image against the importancy of the chemical industry that can be tackled with social media. Online culture is disillusioned with corporate behavior. Consumers are looking for brands that conduct business in a more open, human way.

Marketing 3.0 – Trust, transparency and reliability

Kotler’s horizontalism says that people put more trust into each other than brands/corporations. Chemical organizations can do two things to become more human, more horizontal, more flawsome. They can provide platforms where people can talk about their needs and anxieties, or they can be present on social networks where large groups of target audiences are present.

Trust, transparency and reliability are achieved by communicating with them and other external stakheholders, that can turn misconception into a perception that is aligned with what it wants to achieve or to be seen as.

Market-driven innovations

Creating engagement has a fourth advantage, namely that it fuels market-driven innovations. The industry will focus more and more on end (consumer) markets. By collaborating with –external- stakeholders, bottom-up inspiration can steer innovations. What it does in any case if giving people a voice, making sure they are heard and create that much needed horizontal relationship and creating a virtuous cycle.