ExxonMobil : Forgetting to go global

A US-centric holiday feature risks alienating international audiences.

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The feature

Last week ExxonMobil, the US oil giant, had a Thanksgiving story as the first feature on the home page of its online magazine – ‘Happy Thanksgiving: Stress less with natural gas savings’.

There were also mentions of the US holiday on Exxon’s Twitter and Facebook pages. This week, the story was still on the site, as the second item below the banner.

The takeaway

US companies are unique in trying to combine domestic and global sites – because ‘.com’ is theoretically US-based, but actually global, they do not have a lot of choice. It does mean that they have to be careful not to assume a US audience, because it risks alienating audiences around the world (especially, perhaps, at the present moment).

Web editors on these sites need a ‘foreign’ hat to wear, to check they are not making the assumption that everyone is American. Usually, adding the label ‘US’ or ‘American’ to the headline works – eg, ‘To our American visitors, happy Thanksgiving’ or similar.

First published 30 November, 2016
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