What we can learn from BP’s odd rebrand.

Mariam Rehman
August 27, 2020
BP spent $211 million on their re-branding soon after the Deepwater Horizon crude oil spill. Remember? That accidental mishap that cost them $65 Billion in U.S fines and a complete brand re-haul. 

I’m going to make a few statements. Decide whether they sound like facts to you or not. 

A marketing poll in the UK showed BP as one of the top 10 green brands. BP claimed a position above Greenpeace as a sustainable green company. BP reposition from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum to showcase their ability to explore ‘new ways to live without oil’. After BP’s CEO accepted a link between burning fossil fuels and global warming, they invested in alternative energy development. 

Astonishingly so, these are all facts. Facts that might be disturbing to some as we all know that no company thats main principle and functioning is to pump pollutants into the air and remain a catalyst to global warming is a ‘green brand’. 

However, there are many valuable lessons we can learn from this. Lead agencies Landlor and Ogilvy explored valuable ways to ensure consumers could regain trust in their brand and see their long-term vision rather than their ‘short-term’ mishap. Though many media sources claimed that BP is ‘greenwashing’ and lying to consumers to regain their image, Landlord conducted research to elucidate on the success of their brand redevelopment and its impact. 

From brand repositioning, communications strategy and launching a campaign 10 years after the incident, BP has truly nailed the impact of rebranding. It was risky business, for sure. But what is riskier than losing loyal consumers as a company? Probably nothing. Now, whether the way they adapted this is ethical or not, is up to you. You know where I cast my vote.

We as consumers build confidence in brands by the way they act on their ethos. If BP had one focal point or purpose, then it would not need to ‘pretend’ like they care later on. That can allow room for skepticism by their consumers such as ‘why are you only looking into renewable energy after you spilled crude oil into the ocean?’ 

The way a brand could come back from a disaster such as this would be to showcase the development of the company brand, its strong purpose of providing an ultimate experience for each customer and it’s continued persistence amongst adversity. To make amends with loyal consumers, you take ownership and walk the walk by reminding consumers of the all the positives rather than allowing one negative to eradicate the basis of the company. Not just talk the talk. 

Many companies can find themselves zigging while everyone else zags. What I mean by that, is to really structure your brand equity so strong and adaptable, that it will relate to all your next business moves. 

Be the company that knows the art to branding. But knows how to remain ethical by verifying their consumer confidence by quality campaigns and service. 

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