BP recovering reputation after oil disaster

Stephan Shakespeare
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IN July, I reported that BP’s handling of the oil spill crisis was damaging its brand, and was even affecting the reputation of other British brands in America.

The crisis cost BP $40bn and saw its share price nearly halve. Negative publicity became front-page news when President Obama declared:

“We will make BP pay for the damage their company has caused.”

The good news for BP is that its brand has now recovered to some extent in the UK, and that some of its competitors have struggled to promote their own brands during the interim period.

The graph shows that BP’s BrandIndex “Index” score – which combines six measures of brand health including value, reputation and likelihood to recommend – hit a low of -13.4 points on 15 June. Despite the large dip, it had re-emerged back into positive territory by 27 September.

Texaco enjoyed a slight lift during this period, while Exxon Mobil’s BrandIndex scores remained consistent around -5 points.

The winner from this period of turbulence for oil company brands is clearly Shell, which saw its BrandIndex scores closely pegged to BP’s for the first four months of 2010.

Thereafter, Shell’s “Index” scores have risen to a high of +14.

Shell’s scores demonstrate that one brand’s crisis may not necessarily adversely affect the health of other brands in the sector.

The Eurosceptic mood of the public is clear from the results of YouGov’s polling during the past few weeks. 70 per cent think Britain pays too much towards the EU; 63 per cent want the organisation of the EU to contract, and 80 per cent backed Cameron’s attempt to block the proposed sixper cent increase in the EU’s Budget.

As the country braces itself for the economic impact of spending cuts, the last thing the Coalition government needs is a fight over Europe.

Stephan Shakespeare is chief executive and co-founder of YouGov.