BP = Botched Positioning

“Welcome to BP. Our products and services contribute to a better quality of life. They provide the freedom to move, to heat and to see.”

Energy giant BP did the right thing this morning, saying it takes “responsibility for responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. We will clean it up.”

The company’s crisis communications staff is working hard, too, posting this detailed disaster response on the company’s home page.

BP’s real problem, however, didn’t begin with last week’s oil rig explosion. It began years ago with the company’s risk-laden “green” positioning.

Industrial companies should be applauded for manufacturing environmentally friendly products and promoting sustainable cultures. But BP painted itself into a “green corner” by championing its greenness too loudly, creating the impossible expectation of perfection. 

Toyota will sell cars again. And Goldman Sachs will surely climb back to the top of the hill. But BP’s image may be permanently befouled, no matter how hard the company works to repolish its reputation.

This time around it’s going to take a lot more than a new logo to fix that.