BP Takes To Social Media To Refurbish Brand

Todd Shriber
Printer Friendly Version

Social media is all the rage these days. Regardless of your age, you have at least heard of Facebook and Twitter and since you are reading something about the financial markets, I imagine you are no stranger to all the fervor regarding the IPOs from those companies, Groupon and some others.

Yep, social media is kind of a big deal. Even companies that do not exactly conjure up images of being on the cutting edge of technology have embraced social media. Want to follow Citigroup on Twitter? You can. Find yourself dying for updates on Tide? Well just ''friend'' Procter & Gamble on Facebook and you will be in the know.

I will tie this back to the oil industry and tell you that BP has taken to Facebook and Twitter, probably in an effort to drum up some much-needed positive PR and perhaps in an effort to re-energize a badly sullied brand. Brands are a valuable commodity and several business publications ranks brands according to value every year. The list usually includes familiar names like Coke, Pepsi, Apple, IBM and others.

Once upon a time, BP (BP) had a pretty valuable brand, but in September, Interbrand removed the British oil giant from its list of the 100 most valuable brands in the world for the first time in 11 years. Making that event worse for BP was the fact Interbrand put BP's bitter rival, Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-A), on the list in place of BP.

Enter Facebook, Twitter and YouTube where BP has engaged in a blistering campaign of goodwill. If you are so inclined. BP's Facebook page can be found (HERE). In the past week alone, BP has posted more than 90 messages on Facebook and Twitter, according to ClickZ.com, touting everything from the clean beaches in the Gulf Coast region to the start of Louisiana Seafood Week and the inaugural Great Gator Race.

Of BP's 90-odd Facebook posts in the last week, 32 centered on promoting positive reports on Gulf Coast beaches and other tourism destinations, while 30 heralded news and events about fishing and regional seafood eateries while a mere 24 had anything to do with the spill, ClickZ reports.

Actually, it is not rare to find big oil on Facebook. Exxon Mobil (XOM) has a Facebook as does Chevron and Chevron (CVX) plays up its ''We Agree. Do You?'' campaign on the social networking site, but the key difference is BP is basically forced into using social media, but it is rivals are not. The dichotomy here for BP is that, demographically speaking, it is pretty safe to say that a fair amount of avid social media users were not fans of big oil before the Gulf spill and now they are getting a good chuckle out of BP's social media foray.

Perhaps the company should try a social media blitz in Russia. I hear it needs all the friends, Facebook and otherwise, it can get over there.

Todd Shriber