Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Drillinginfo Collaborative

Ever since Roger Edmondson became marketing officer for Drillinginfo, he’s been working to put the Austin-based oil & gas information company into a new space vis-à-vis the market.

Drillinginfo is an active network of 10,000 North American oil and gas stakeholders, in about 3,000 companies, dedicated to providing and expanding the digital availability of current and historical oil and gas data.

Because it’s open source, engineers, geologists and landmen can use Drillinginfo on-line to expedite the process of looking for leasing opportunities in specific areas of interest. It’s also disruptive – any subscriber can access any data in the system any time, anywhere. (We used the words “unprecedented access, exchange and management of knowledge” to get the point across.)

What are “landmen,” you ask? For those of you unblessed by working in the patch, a landman is a company employee or self-employed individual who secures oil and gas leases, checks legal titles and attempts to cure title defects so that drilling can begin. If you’re politically correct, there are as many women as men who are landmen…which is why we often call the category “land services.” But out here, it’s still landman. Which leads, of course, to this chestnut: “What is 1+1?” The engineer answers, “Exactly 2.0000000.” The geologist says, “About 2.” And the landman responds with, “What do you want it to be?”

You can see the first portrayals of the company’s new position above. Roger and I worked hard to position the company against the competitive field and we arrived at the “Open to Explore” idea at the same time, in the same conversation.

Then Steve Willgren of Willgren-Rios Design brought the idea to life in a clean, effective way by combining classic type, “wide-open-spaces” photography, and white space (oilpatch marcom’s most precious commodity). Standing out in the oil-and-gas data space ain’t easy, yet here they are, one brochure for geologists and engineers and one for land services.

The copy inside is collaborative: I wrote on it, Roger wrote on it, even Drillinginfo’s Chairman, Allen Gilmer, wrote on it: more words than I’d like, fewer words than Allen would have used…but the message gets across clearly in each brochure. We supported the text with screen captures of Drillinginfo software tools and lease maps. Screen captures are standard for this part of the industry; but we kept ours large, supported them with captions to keep that stuff out of the brochure texts, and maintained white space. It’s worth holding the line on this design discipline, because wide open spaces are critical to the new position.

The company’s founders (and Roger) are classic Texas. I think that the “Open to Explore” position, created by us, visualized by Steve, is fresh and spacious. Thanks to everyone for letting me work on these: good examples of a productive partnership.

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