With vast strategic expertise in the global oil & gas industry, Allan discusses the sector specific challenges to achieving employee engagement.

At Genoa Black, we believe that employee engagement is important, and a fundamental part of any successful brand. Irrespective of company size, your people need to be brand ambassadors that understand what you do and why you do it, to ensure your brand is consistent across all its touchpoints.

In 2000, BP undertook what is possibly the biggest re-branding exercise ever undertaken by an oil and gas company. Following a series of mergers and acquisitions in the late 1990s, BP became the third largest oil company in the world. Thinking about the company’s future following this success the then BP CEO, Lord John Browne, publicly re-defined the company’s vision. The new strapline Beyond Petroleum led a charge to redefine the vision and strategy for BP in the 21st Century, which included:

  • Positioning the company away from being a big oil company, to being an energy company, focused on performance, progressiveness and a respect for the environment;
  • Re-branding the logo that BP had traded with since the 1920s; and
  • Future proofing the company by positioning it as a leading provider of energy solutions, not just oil.

This exercise has become a great example of how to overcome the challenges of employee engagement in the oil & gas sector and provides lessons for supply chain companies across three key challenges BP faced.

Employee’s Brand Perception

Supply chain companies need to understand what their people think and know. Measuring how internal perceptions have shifted and changed, and whether they are still on-brand is vital. Given the dramatic changes the sector has experienced, there can often be variety in what your people think about the industry and key gaps in their knowledge about the business. The cost of the new ‘Helios’ logo design and the global rollout is rumoured to have cost BP around $211m. Yet, following the campaign, 97% of BP staff indicated awareness of the new brand and 9 out of 10 employees agreed that BP was heading in the right direction nine months after the brand launch. This poses important questions for oil & gas supply chain companies to reflect on – what do your employees think your brand stands for? What are their knowledge gaps about your business offering?

Diversity in Employee Skills

Companies operating in oil & gas employ diverse skills sets from technical, commercial to business development. The variety of skills inevitably fosters different views on the company’s purpose, customers, proposition and personality. Engaging all employees in a communications programme will ensure every employee is promoting the same brand message. BP’s Annual Helios Awards were started to honour employees whose actions were on-brand and reinforced BP’s commitment to Beyond Petroleum as a way of doing business. This is a great example of an oil & gas brand confirming what their people think and know about the brand and engaging all employees in the communications programme. Exemplifying this is the attention paid to redesigning BP’s physical environments right down to the plants in BP’s offices. Aloe plants, the most efficient plant producers of oxygen, became on-brand fixtures in every office, ensuring the brand story started the minute you stepped in the door.

Global Views

The international nature of the oil & gas industry requires companies to ensure their employee engagement plans are globally inclusive and consistent. Planning an internal engagement strategy that is thorough and detailed, with consideration of key objectives, techniques, activities, resource, timing and budget is essential. BP’s re-brand exemplified this and included the training of 1,400 brand champions across 19 countries who spread the Beyond Petroleum message to staff globally.  Teams were also given toolkits containing activities to help them understand the new Beyond Petroleum positioning.

As a recommended agency on the recommended agency register for B2B brand strategy and B2C brand strategy, we have extensive experience of building brand propositions for clients and ensuring there is a successful internal engagementContact us now to discuss how we can help you grow through the power of your people.


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