BP: Marketing Case Study
Sarah Allen, Matthew Earhart, Amelia Pye
I. Case Summary
BP plc, formerly known as British Petroleum and Anglo-Persian Oil Company, is a multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, England (“BP”). It is the fifth-largest company in the world measured by 2012 revenues (BP Annual Report 51). Its extensive corporate history has created a non-malleable image and reputation which present-day marketing strategies must overcome in order to effectively promote the ideals of industry leadership and ethical responsibility.
BP is faced with significant challenges to its brand as a consequence of its widely-known safety and environmental policy ...view middle of the document...
Since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, BP has been on the defensive in terms of its public image and legal liability. Public relations efforts have been directed at salvaging the reputation of the company, while legal efforts have addressed avoidance or minimization of criminal and civil liabilities. This negative impact on the company’s brand identity comes at a time when the oil and gas production industry faces increased pressure from commercial, non-profit, and governmental sources regarding the environmental and sustainability factors of its business. In 2011, BP launched a public relations “10 Point Plan” to emphasize and enumerate the components of its commitment to “building a stronger, safer BP” (BP Annual Report). In 2012, BP launched a $500 million marketing campaign for its U.S. retail brand, which signaled the company’s renewed focus on improving public perceptions of its operations. This campaign consisted of several initiatives, including a new high-detergency fuel brand, a redesigned customer rewards loyalty program for gas pump savings, and media advertising to increase awareness of BP’s multi-million dollar philanthropic community aid program (Trefis 2). These initiatives are strategic responses to the increased financial risks and decline in customer trust which have resulted from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, they have been described as superficial and insincere in scope by various members of the public, addressing only the broadest aspects of the company’s image issues, while ignoring fundamental organization problems (Allen 1).
The explosion and oil spill are still a concern for many American consumers. Stock prices remain down 35% from pre-spill levels. Additionally, social media indicators, such as Facebook likes and Twitter followers, suggest that public opinion of BP remains depressed despite recent marketing efforts (Allen 3). BP faces the challenge of demonstrating their commitment to improved operations in order to repair damaged consumer trust. Promoting increased stewardship in the areas of safety, renewable energy research, and industry ethics could be the foundation for a marketing campaign to increase public approval and restore belief in the values which originally brought BP to a position of leadership within the energy sector.
II. Situational Analysis
BP’s current marketing objectives promote its brand image primarily by focusing on restoring public opinion in the wake of the media attention from the Deepwater Horizon incident (Trefis 1). Its internal guidelines emphasize the need to create value for shareholders by efficiently managing the supplies of energy for the world in a safe and responsible way (Our Strategy and Sustainability). Many of these efforts attempt to “position BP as an efficient player in the oil and gas space” and “stay away from highlighting environmental initiatives” (Trefis 1).
BP’s new $500 million marketing campaign is a...