LONDON/HOUSTON: Royal Dutch Shell, the Anglo-Dutch energy giant, is seeking to build up its established global brand with a renewed focus on digital and social media engagement, the company's deputy head of marketing has said.

David Bunch, the London-based vice president of marketing at Shell Retail and chairman of Shell Brands International, told the Houston Business Journal that the company wants to employ an "aggressive" digital audience engagement strategy.

Speaking ahead of the AMA Houston's Marketer of the Year event in March, he observed that up until now Shell had largely had a one-way dialogue with consumers when communicating its key tenets of "trust, innovation and quality".

The advent of social media platforms has now changed the conversation, he said, and social media provides the means for better audience interaction.

"What technology has done is provide a unique … way to enable a two-way conversation. It's real time," Bunch told the paper.

"Our approach is one of transparency, education and engagement," he added. "We have a strong brand amongst our peer groups, but also a strong brand amongst global brands. The thing about brand building is it takes time and consistency and effort."

Even though social media is a platform that can't be controlled, he still thought "the pros clearly outweigh the cons (of the new era)".

For example, Shell faced an online challenge in 2012 when Greenpeace, the environmental campaign group, launched a fake Shell website to draw attention to climate change issues, yet Bunch still thought it critical to allow opponents to express their opinions and that transparency and engagement are key responses.

Data sourced from the Houston Business Journal; additional content by Warc staff