In 2017, Statoil made the strategic decision to become a broad energy company investing up to 20 percent of annual capital expenditure in new energy solutions. Naturally, they needed to consider a complete rebrand to reflect the new ambition.
By May 2018, they officially changed their 46-year-old name from Statoil to Equinor. The change had the press up in arms and drove public opinion, particularly in Norway. The strategic reason for the change of Equinor raised concerns and disbelief amongst the general public, and most failed to see the long-term effect and positioning plan of the company. Listening to only the Norwegian media you might believe that Equinor was not sincere in its approach to renewable energy sources, as well as having “thrown away” billions of dollars in actual brand value by changing its name.
In early 2019, Equinor enlisted The Brand Project to review the change, define the value lost or gained, and simplify the findings from the Brand Finance valuation report, as well as make recommendations for future growth.
Empirical and quantitative research based on Equinor´s 2018 brand and business management showed that Equinor did not only retain its position as the most valuable brand in Norway, it even increased its overall brand value and cemented its place in the global top 200.
There was a slight decrease from 2018 to 2019 when Isolating brand strength alone, which is 1 of 3 factors in determining the overall brand value and is the most conclusive driver for brand management work. When benchmarked against major global players like Shell, Exxon, Total, Chevron, Aker BP and Ørsted, Equinor came out at the top in brand strength alone.
Based on this insight, it was concluded that the rebranding effort was a measurable, clear success for Equinor. If anything, it only marginally decreased their brand strength globally (which was to be expected after a complete rebrand), and has not harmed their position, or their quantitatively-measured perception.
The Brand Project recommended 4 defined actions to define local perceptions and positions, strengthen and prove the aspired position of the sustainable energy company and continue to aggressively market the sustainable ambitions of the Equinor brand globally.