Defense

Prediction: The BP Brand Won’t Survive

9 Jun , 2010  

There are huge unresolved questions around the uncapped well in the Gulf of Mexico.

  • When will it stop?
  • How long will it take to repair the environmental damage?
  • What will the total cost be to BP?
  • Will the BP brand survive?

For anyone interested in brands this last question is a particularly interesting one to think about.

Brands are the associations linked to a name, mark or symbol.  These associations can be positive or negative; a brand can help you or hurt you.  An unknown brand is better than a brand with strong negative associations.

I suspect BP has gotten more negative press than any brand in the history of the world.  The disaster has generated a stream of negative stories; it has gone on and on.  These stories have fed the vast global media machine.  People all over the world are writing about BP, blogging about BP and twittering about BP.  And all of this is negative.

When BP plugs the well and finishes the cleanup, the company will then have to make an important branding decision.  What should be done with the severely damaged BP brand?  Should the company try to rebuild it?  Or walk away?

My bet is that the company will drop the BP brand.  This might occur through an acquisition, where another company acquires BP and drops the tainted BP brand.  Or it might occur through a simple name change.

And this would be the right decision.  It will be virtually impossible to create positive associations around BP.  The media coverage has been so extensive and so widespread that the BP brand will always be tainted.

If BP caps the well in August look for the BP brand to fade away in 2011.


4 Responses

  1. Ed Burghard says:

    BP damaged more than its own brand. Read about the impact BP’s oil spill is having on local community brands and their practical challenge in getting back to being competitive for capital attraction.
    https://strengtheningbrandamerica.com/blog/?p=343

  2. craig kensek says:

    Pictures of beaches that people can’t go to because of this oil spill will refresh peoples’ memories for a long time. I predict that ultimately, the acronym BP will disappear and this company will rename itself.

    Years ago, Alleghany Airlines did a market research study. Many airlines scored more positively with the public than Alleghany did. Including some airlines that didn’t exist. That was part of the reason for changing their name to US Air.

    For British Petroleum – One anagram you can construct out of this – Big Trouble. RIP.

  3. Devang says:

    If BP handles this incident honestly and do an admirable job of cleanups then the brand has not only chance to survive, but opportunity to thrive.

    Let’s be honest. This disaster is not going to stop offshore oil drillings. This will not be the last spill ever either. In other words, unlike other petro giants, only BP has the opportunity to show that it can clean up the environment quickly and effectively after such accidents.

    Of course, if BP can not manage this accident well then it will disappear.

    In the digital age, media coverage is widespread and extensive. However, at the same time, people’s attention span is getting shorter.

  4. craig kensek says:

    BP has lost “billions” of dollars in brand equity because of this incident. Their executives should have done an immediate mea culpa. They haven’t learned from recent incidents some auto manufacturers have had.

    One document circulated appeared to have cut and paste material related to the Valdez incident. There aren’t many polar bears that need rescuing in the Gulf off of Texas.

    They are spending a lot of $$ on full page adverts in newspapers, though.

    BP now stands for Big Problem. Clean-up will take years.

Leave a Reply

Archives

Conversation Across the Site

  • David Rose { This sounds very very difficult. You put alot of energy into it and obviosly care. I would suggest you focus on the room and let... }
  • M E Lesniak { I think you picked the wrong hill to stand on. You work at one of the most expensive degree factories in the country and I’m... }
  • Stephen Calkins { Forgiveness based on income? What if it is a wealthy family that figured borrowing cheaply was a good deal, but there is massive wealth? What... }
  • Todd Holscher { Transparency in pricing is a very good idea. Students will still susceptible to the influence of marketing and advertising by colleges, but it’s the right... }
  • Emita Hill { Vast sums of money. Alternatively provide more support to state schools so they can lower tuition and maybe to privates strictly for scholarships. }
  • David Rose { Tim, I dont think your views are balanced. You obviously are being paid by these loans. The money has been given to your university and... }
  • Read more Comments »

Collaborate with Tim

Tim helps companies around the world build great brands. To schedule a program or event click here. To learn more about Tim’s books, click here.