Read the text below on BP seeking to create an environmentally friendly image. Global rebranding…

Read the text below on BP seeking to create an environmentally friendly image.

Global rebranding of BP

In recent times the image of oil-based products has hardly been positive. As a fossil fuel it has been linked to CO2 emissions and therefore to problems such as global warming and the emission of other hazardous substances. It is factors such as these which have led BP, the company which started the Middle East oil boom in the early twentieth century, to state in July 2000 that its name in future would signify ‘beyond petroleum’ rather than British Petroleum. Chief Executive Sir John Browne spent over £100m over the next 12 months reinforcing this image with a new logo, a makeover for its petrol station and a media advertising blitz. The new logo has been named the Helios mark after the Greek sun god and is meant to signify dynamic energy from oil to gas and solar, said Sir John. The official reason for this rebranding from its headquarters at Britannica House is that it reflects the growing interest in cleaner, more environmentally friendly fuels such as natural gas and solar power. Since the recent takeover of Amoco, BP has certainly become a major gas producer and a world leader in the development of solar power, even though the amount of money being spent is insignificant compared to its oil exploration. However, some believe that Sir John also has ambitions outside of the energy field, and that the new

logo will aptly cover a growing product portfolio such as an office cleaning company or a supermarket chain as much as a hydrocarbon group. In fact a supermarket chain is on the way because BP has plans to open up retail outlets at all its major petrol stations as part of ambitions to increase retail revenues by 10%. BP Connect stores will feature in-store e-kiosks where customers can check weather and traffic conditions, use touch screen monitors to order food, call up directions, receive sports and news coverage etc. Even solar panel energy is planned for these petrol stations. Probably the most important reason, however, is an acceptance that the traditional image of the oil company has become a negative one in the hearts and minds of the consumer. Petrol prices are high and are meeting consumer resistance and there is also a growing demand throughout the business sector for a social and ethical dimension in all that is done. Further, the oil companies are aware that one petrol is the same as any other, making it almost impossible to build brand loyalty, as indicated by the fact that BP was 58th in a recent survey by consultant Interbred on globally recognized product names. Such rebranding is good business practice, and is being done by every truly successful brand around the world, says Robert Jones, a director at consultant Wolff Loins. Brands such as Starbucks, Disney or Virgin are despised by a few but liked by millions. In a market filled with coffee bars, Starbucks stands for sociability as well as beverages. Disney stands for much more than cartoons and theme parks. It stands for fun – while Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin is nothing if not youthful and irreverent. It can sell anything its founder comes up with – records, airlines, financial services, mobile phones and even energy.


1 Why has BP undertaken such global rebranding?

2 Comment on the prospects for the success of this strategy.



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