Marketing / Branding

BP fuelling change!

Communicating change in hard-hit businesses.


Global disasters, a heavily scrutinised company history and now an industry-wide pressure from both climate change groups and the government. BP and the wider Big Oil industry has come under some hard-hitting times over the past 50 years, but in the midst of all, is a glimmer of hope beginning?

It was only a few weeks ago that BP announced they were setting themselves to become carbon net-zero by 2050. The same target the UK government has set. However, for an oil supermajor, this requires a drastic turn of policy, way of working and messaging. Today, I’ll be taking you on a discovery of how a major company is aiming to lead the oil industry to become a sustainable and climate forward one and how it’s using marketing to do so. 


Top-down decisions.

When BP first announced this, the oil industry and its peripherals were shocked. Never had such a big company made such bold claims and statements to do with climate change. Once the news was digested questions were raised over how Scope 3 emissions  would be reduced as well as others. Scope 3 is essentially the emissions from the oil and gas BP produce and buy from other companies.

We’re not going to go into the difference between Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions because, quite frankly, our bounce rate for this blog would go through the roof, but there’s some great stuff here.

BP announced a new CEO Bernard Looney, which is a great marketing tactic. A new face means a feeling of freshness to the business. With a pair of new eyes and the bold a start as Looney had, it shows immediately that change is here. 


“The direction is set.  We are heading for net-zero. There is no turning back” – Bernard Looney, CEO, BP 

They also announced their biggest change to head office operations in more than a century creating a core team of leaders who run their own streams of the business. 


Change in brand feel.

The vocal consumer is young, vibrant and climate aware. BP has directly tapped into this by utilising hand-drawn elements, removing the corporate and aged BP logo from their social channels and replacing it with a monotone look. 

One of their key 10 aims is to change away from reputation advertising with immediate effect and instead “re-direct resources to promote well-designed climate policies.” The 10 key aims messaging comes with a hand-drawn text element and highlights, giving a much more relaxed feel to what BP is putting out and also relates directly to youth advocacy groups who have been campaigning against ‘Big Oil’ recently.  

A drastic change in brand feel in a relatively unchanged brand is driving forward the petrol retail industry for consumers and I predict that BP will lead the way in a modernisation of the look of the petrol retail industry as we head into a new era of AFVs. 


C-Suite Advocacy.

As mentioned earlier in the article, the new CEO of BP, Bernard Looney, has become a professional face of the brand.

His LinkedIn posts are relevant, engaging and show a very human side. In his profile introduction, he sets out that he wants to be transparent and says that he does get some help with managing his feed, but he does as much as he can.

Within a hard-hit industry, having a person communicating key business strategies and becoming a major player in outgoing company messaging is becoming ever more important as consumers look to people over brands for trust.  

BP, in fact, the entire petrol retail industry, has never had such a vocal, outwardly facing CEO and in an old industry stuck in its ways perhaps this drastic change is the only way to break the mould. 


Want to speak to us about communicating in a heavily scrutinised industry? Contact us today!


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