Corporate Eye

New Study Shows BP Still the Bad Guys in Consumers’ Minds

bp-signI’ve written about studies related to the BP brand and consumer opinions related to BP since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that happened earlier this year — first about how BP tried to rebuild its reputation in May and then again in June about how BP’s brand image was faring after the spill could not be stopped for weeks and weeks.  Then in July, I wrote about how consumers didn’t trust more brands than just BP, which might have given BP some hope in terms of repairing its tarnished brand (even though the oil spill had yet to be cleaned up — months after it first happened).  Well, it’s August, so I guess it’s time for what has become my monthly post about the BP brand.

This month, results from an August poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications revealed that 66% of respondents disapproved (40% disapproved “strongly”), “of the way BP is handling the oil spill that was caused by the rig it was operating in the Gulf of Mexico.”  That’s down from the 83% who disapproved in a June poll, but it’s still far from giving BP any peace of mind that the oil spill is behind them yet even if that oil is no longer gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

Other brands have rebounded from similar events (Exxon comes to mind quickly), and it’s likely BP will rise again.  However, the brand clean up will continue indefinitely just like the Gulf of Mexico clean up will.  Fortunately, no one at BP had to die as a result of the event — something that can’t be said for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico.

The public is fickle and consumers are quick to move on from one event to another.  BP is lucky in that regard.  Of course, only time will tell if BP will actually turn around its practices, launch a new brand promise, and then actually walk the walk of that new brand promise.

What do you think?  Will consumers trust BP again or will they expect smoke and mirrors from the brand and company?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Image: Flickr

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.