Key Index Shows Credibility Falls 25 Percent in Six Months

LIVONIA, Mich.—While BP has borne the brunt of public outrage in the wake of the Gulf     oil spill, the image of the entire oil industry and the broader energy     industry has taken a drastic dive, according to recent research from     Market Strategies International.

According to Market Strategies’ E2 (Energy + Environment) Index,  which     measures consumer perceptions of the energy industry’s economic     contribution to the US economy, environmental performance and     credibility on environmental issues, the oil industry’s image has     plummeted from a score of 40 in December 2009 to 30 in June 2010 –  a 25     percent decline in six months. The overall E2 Index, which encompasses     all sectors of the energy industry, has fallen from 48 to 43, a decline     of more than 10 percent.

The fallout from the Gulf oil spill will have a long-lasting impact on     how oil companies shape their overall business strategies and how they     frame their marketing messages, according to Jack Lloyd, a vice     president in the Energy Division at Market Strategies.

“The crisis in the Gulf has awakened consumer skepticism about the oil     industry and its relationship with the environment,” Lloyd said.  “While     the oil spill was unique to BP, it has caused consumers to question     whether a similar incident could happen to other companies. The entire     industry will be under intense public scrutiny for the foreseeable       future.”

The E2 Index measures the industry as whole and individual sectors,      including coal, oil, natural gas and electricity generation and     distribution, separately. The index is measured on a 100-point scale.      Market Strategies established the index in Q1 2008. At that time,  the     overall Energy Industry Index was 40 and the Oil Industry Index was 29.      However, both scores began to rise in the latter half of 2008 and by     December 2009, had reached 48 and 40, respectively.

Market Strategies’ E2 research has identified five public opinion     segments that share distinct attitudes and preferences on     energy/environment issues, and it is not just the environmentalists who     think less of the oil industry. In fact, the two segments that had the     highest opinions of the oil industry prior to the Gulf oil spill have     seen the largest percentage drop in their E2 Index scores.

The “Carbon is King” segment, which is the only one of the five to favor     increased reliance on fossil fuels, saw its rating of the oil industry     fall from 59 in late 2009 to 40 in June 2010. Other segments and their     ratings of the oil industry include:

  • Ultra Green – who strongly favor renewable energy and       conservation, dropped from 16 to 13;
  • Anything Clean – who support a full range of clean energy       options, including nuclear and clean coal, dropped from 32 to 28;
  • Atomic Efficiency – who see nuclear power as a key clean energy       solution, dropped from 33 to 28;
  • No Nukes – who strongly oppose nuclear power, dropped from 40       to 25.

“The oil industry and the energy industry at large had gained     significant credibility in the minds of consumers from early 2008 to     late 2009,” Lloyd said. “Much of the goodwill generated by the industry     in the past two years has been wiped out by the Gulf oil spill.  All     energy companies need to take a long, hard look at their environmental     policies, customer perceptions and marketing strategies to begin the     process of working to regain the trust of the American consumer.”

About E2: Energy and the Environment

A total of 1,010 interviews were completed online with consumers across     the nation in late May and early June 2010. The respondents were     recruited via an online panel to reflect key characteristics of the U.S.      population. The data have been weighted to bring the sample     characteristics into even closer alignment with the population.

Market Strategies International

Market Strategies International is a full-service market research and     consulting firm with extensive experience in the communications,  energy,      financial services, healthcare, and technology sectors. Market     Strategies employs more than 325 senior consultants, researchers,      statisticians, and project managers and specializes in the areas of     customer satisfaction and loyalty, market opportunity assessment,  market     segmentation, message and communications testing, usability evaluation,      and brand assessment and management. Founded in 1989, Market Strategies     is the 20th largest research firm in the world according to “Honomichl     Top 25,” published in the August 2009 issue of Marketing News.      Visit for more information.

Decus Strategic Communications, for Market Strategies International
Mike       DeVilling, 248-875-4207

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