How the company's oil spill is testing the limits of branding
May 10, 2010 [EXCERPT]
The spill, which could potentially eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez’s in terms of its ecological impact, is at the moment providing an ironic commentary to BP’s green-tinged advertising. The question is: When the present catastrophe is finally over, will BP still be able to claim it’s beyond petroleum, or will the accident mark the end of such positioning in the category and put other would-be green advertisers on notice?
Critics and branding gurus say something that drastic is unlikely, but they’re split on the amount of damage BP is likely to incur. One school of thought is that by declaring itself a thought leader on eco issues, BP raised the stakes with environmentalists and consumers and thus had no further to fall. But some argue that BP’s advertising built up enough brand equity and goodwill to ensure it will win back the public’s trust -- assuming it handles the crisis well. (Reps from BP could not be reached for comment on this story.)
But Ted Marzilli, svp and global managing director for YouGov’s BrandIndex, which polls 5,000 consumers daily about their brand preferences, doesn’t believe BP will suffer at the pump. “I’m not sure somebody drives past a BP station to fill up at Exxon or Shell because they’re angry,” Marzilli said. BrandIndex’s data shows that consumers’ general impression of BP is still positive, even though they’re hearing more bad news about the company.
Dealbook ColumnJune 14, 2010
Lots of people are talking about what is happening at Goldman Sachs. This is a column about what is not happening at Goldman.
Despite all the bad headlines — the accusations of fraud, the talk of a big settlement, the risk, however remote, of criminal charges — there’s an inconvenient truth that’s been largely ignored: Most of Goldman’s big customers are not bolting.
To the contrary, nearly all of the
m are standing by Goldman, despite come-hither looks from Goldman’s rivals.
What gives? To many people, Goldman has become America’s most reviled engine of capitalism. Even now, as thousands of barrels of oil gush into the Gulf of Mexico every day, people think less of Goldman than they do of BP, according to the BrandIndex daily survey of consumer perceptions conducted by YouGov.
There will be rejoicing in the corridors of Goldman Sachs tonight: BP has finally overtaken it in the most-loathed company stakes! Yes, Goldman is still plumbing depths rarely seen in the modern era. But BP, even after putting aside $20 billion and grovelling to the president, continues to implode: it’s now hit a level of -47.6 in the latest BrandIndex poll. That’s not far from Toyota’s low point, which was -52.7 at the end of March, but it’s going to be a much harder fight back for BP than it was for Toyota.
It’s amusing to remember that earlier this year BrandZ put out a piece of glossy research saying that the BP brand was the 34th most valuable brand in the world, worth $17.283 billion. (Love the specificity there.) Is it possible for a brand to have negative value? If so, BP has probably achieved that distinction at this point.
Meanwhile, for those of you keeping count, BrandZ put the value of the Toyota brand at $21.769 billion, post-recall, while the Goldman Sachs brand was worth $9.283 billion, up a whopping 25% from 2009. How quickly these things can change.
Another landmark for BP.
By Jonathan Russell, City Diary Editor
Published: 6:30PM BST 24 Jun 2010
Not how many days the oil leak has been going on – we’re still some way off the century – or how many barrels of oil have been spilt – the estimates are so vague, at anything from 325,000 to 3.2m, it’s hard to pin that one down. No, it’s the race between BP and Goldman Sachs to the bottom of the popularity pile. According to the YouGov’s BrandIndex, BP now has a score of -42.1. Of course I have no idea what that means except that it’s low – and for the first time it’s less than Goldman’s score of -40.3. In fact, it’s so bad that just about the only company that has done worse was Toyota (-52.7) back in the dark days of its car recalls in March. Tsk, that’s just 10 points away from where BP is now and there’s a lot of oil left in that well. It shouldn’t take the company long