Oil brands stay resilient as BP crisis continues

BP’s brand reputation crisis following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has left rival petroleum companies relatively unscathed, according to YouGov BrandIndex data.

BP’s Index rating, an average of a number of scores, including Recommend, Buzz and Quality, has plummeted from a high of 18.6 at the end of April to -2.7 on Friday (14 May).

Comparatively, its main rivals Esso and Shell have seen a slight decline but their Index scores are now back, if not higher, than when they were in the run up to 20 April, the date of the explosion that caused the oil spill.

BP’s Index score remained positive until last Monday (10 May), when it admitted the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has cost it $350m (£235m) so far. The Index figure has fallen from 6.4 on 20 April, when the spill began, to -2-9 last Friday (14 May).

Looking at BrandIndex’s individual Buzz score, a measure of whether a person has heard a positive or negative statement about the brand, BP’s rivals are also seeing improved ratings. Shell has risen from -10.1 before the crises to – 3.4 while Esso has moved from -10.6 to -3.6.

As expected, BP has seen its “Buzz” crash dramatically. The Buzz rating has dropped since 20 April from -6.9 to -47.9 on 14 May. It fell as low as -50 earlier in the week.

All the petrol companies saw their Buzz ratings slide as petrol prices increased at the pump in the run up to the BP spill but they have since recovered. The Automotive Association warns that the average price of petrol in the UK has gone up to a record high of 121.61p a litre, despite wholesale cost falling.

Earlier this month, BP declared a 135% surge in first-quarter profits to $5.6bn (£3.8bn), from $2.4bn (£1.6bn) a year ago.

Rival Shell also posted a 60% rise in first quarter with earnings rising to $4.8bn (£3.2bn) in the first three months of 2010, compared with $3bn for the same period last year.

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