Case Studies

Positive Energy

Positioning an iconic global energy brand


One of the largest energy companies in the world was consistently ranked at or near the bottom of the industry in terms of corporate reputation. This issue was beginning to negatively impact its ability to win lucrative exploration and production bids and was also affecting its share price. The company sought not only to reverse this trend but to identify a highly motivating and relevant positioning with which to define its corporate brand. Among the many challenges it faced was the need to address increasingly important environmental and sustainability issues in a way that was differentiating and representative of its corporate philosophy and business operations. Another challenge was to work with all major business units to define a compelling, unique, and credible positioning for the corporate brand, along with a brand architecture that established the optimal relationship between it and the business unit and product brands.


A current FullSurge partner in a previous role led a project team that conducted cutting-edge qualitative consumer research across five continents with key stakeholder groups including consumers, opinion leaders, business customers, and policy makers. This research uncovered invaluable insight around the ever-changing perceptions these influential stakeholders held regarding the role of energy in their lives… and in the world. It also enabled us to develop several high-potential positioning options for the corporate brand. While the positioning options were clearly distinct, each highlighted a higher-order energy-related benefit that was relevant to the most important stakeholder groups and unique to the company. We then conducted quantitative research to determine the impact of various positioning and architecture combinations on brand favorability and purchase intent. Sophisticated business modeling allowed us to determine the financial impact of our brand strategy alternatives, and to select the optimal go-forward strategic direction.


The resulting new master brand positioning and architecture recommendations were embraced by Corporate and by all business units. Brand activation followed, including extensive work on the visual identity system, tagline development, and the overall messaging strategy. With consistent execution, the company began to significantly reverse years of negative corporate reputation and brand perceptions. The company now enjoys the status of most highly regarded brand in the industry, essentially catapulting its brand reputation from last to first in a matter of three years.


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