Light at the end of the oil barrel perhaps?

Written by Louise Douglas 

If you work in energy and it wasn’t on your radar, you must have been living down a hole since 2014. Yes, you’ve guessed it, the ‘oil price downturn’. Those words have been used in millions of articles, documentaries and whitepapers for several years now. The downturn in itself was horrific for a lot of people, it changed lives and it has changed the industry. But can we talk about the comeback story?

The other side of the coin – low oil prices have resulted in the potential comeback of deepwater projects. It’s projected that the gap in supply by 2030 will create an opportunity for new cost-competitive deepwater projects. Not only that but a lot has changed. In fact, you could say the oil and gas industry has, in some places, transformed itself. If the oil price had remained at US$100 dollars a barrel, would BP be expanding its horizons and looking at other means of energy? Energy transition is now a trending topic and a serious initiative for companies like BP who are renowned for their oil and gas expertise.

The energy transition…

The way in which energy is produced, consumed and distributed is changing dramatically. Even the way we view fuel has changed. If you told any oil worker at the start of the 20th century (the gusher age) that we would be driving electric cars and commissioning wind turbines offshore, their jaw would certainly drop or rattle with laughter. But, you have to be in it to win it. Whether you work in the financial services, tech or the energy industry, times change, things get replaced and if you don’t keep up, you are left trailing behind. Take digitalization as an example. There is no denying the oil and gas industry has a long way to go, but just in the last five years we have seen some fascinating things, from enterprise software platforms calculating risk on an offshore oil platform to throwing out the old Excel sheets and converting to the Cloud.

The ultimate comeback

So how does a leading brand go from producing carbon to being seen as a supporter of a low carbon economy? A creative fresh idea can have a dramatic impact…

I used to look at it, covered in dust, lurking in my Grandparents’ bathroom – Old Spice. Then boom! With the right communication approach, the brand was propelled to the top of its category. ‘Old’ Spice was new again. Who knew a topless man on a horse would change the brand forever? Well, its agency did.

Even closer to home is Statoil. A major player in the oil and gas space rebranded to the name of Equinor, as it moves into the green energy space and, in a bid, to attract young talent. After its rebrand the company did a survey where students found Equinor to be 10 percent more attractive as an employer than the name Statoil. Result.

Whether you are producing an aftershave or hydrocarbons, the way you tell your story can have a dramatic effect in the way your audience feels about your brand. Even in the darkest of places there is always the opportunity for a comeback story.

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