By Heide Malhotra
The Epoch Times
After BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill and subsequent environmental disaster, the BP brand was soiled and U.S. gas stations lost customers.
BP is still facing pressure from many corners, especially in the United States, to rename its American service stations or provide those who sell BP brand items with tools to counter the loss of customer loyalty.
The debate over a possible name change, which started at the beginning of this year, has not made much progress, with BP remaining stoic in the face of all the pressure from declining U.S. sales, boycotts, and protests from station owners.
At issue is the fact that most gas stations are independently owned, franchises, or under contract to buy the BP products.
According to brandchannel.com, “Most of the 11,000 stations selling BP fuel across the U.S. are independently owned, and they have seen reductions in sales of up to 40 percent in the wake of the disaster.”
What’s little known is that companies such as BP bind the service station owners to long-term contracts that are ironclad. The station owners are stuck and unable to seek recourse by branching out to different name brands.
Truth be told, these gas station owners were clearly not responsible for the environmental disaster, or BP’s subsequent public relations nightmare. But they are bearing the brunt of the backlash over the oil spill disaster.
“Some things definitely need to go. … So here’s an idea that just might work. Bring back the Amoco name. You purchased the brand some years ago, and ultimately shuttered it. It may be ready for a new look and a comeback,” said Jamey Boiter, a brand strategist at BOLTgroup, in a FastCompany report.