Is the success of BP’s “beyond petroleum” branding is now turning into a liability for the company? It certainly was a bold move when BP underwent their rebranding. Now, with the Gulf spill the most recent and most visible environmental problem for the company, the BP logo is beginning to look like a green target to some people.
Just see at what fun Greenpeace are having at BP’s expense:
In fact, they are even inviting design professionals to re-design the BP logo.
I’m not so sure that there is a brand moral here. The BP branding was brilliantly conceived, designed and executed. It is the reality of the world that is messy. Did the branding make BP a bigger target than they otherwise would be? I doubt it. Look at how the Valdez incident shaped Exxon’s image for more than a decade. The magnitude of the spill overwhelms all else, sweeping away all of the good work, goodwill and honest efforts at improvement.
The wrong lesson would be to say that companies should not use their branding to help improve their reputation around environmental, sustainability and ecology issues. Over the next 12 months we’ll learn if the charges of “Greenwashing” will discourage other companies from moving ahead with their own efforts to improve their environmental standing.
What is our opinion?