The recent lorry driver shortage has seen drivers panic-buying fuel, pulling knives on each other, and even engaging in father-son tag-team brawls on UK forecourts. But have the chaotic scenes had a negative impact on public perception of petrol/diesel brands?
Looking at BP with YouGov BrandIndex suggests they haven’t. Between September 22 (the day before the company announced it would close some of UK forecourts) and October 2, Buzz scores – a net measure which tracks whether consumers have recently heard anything positive or negative about a brand – fell by 10.9 points from -3.1 to -14.0. Word of Mouth Exposure, a metric that tracks whether consumers have spoken about a brand with friends and family, was affected inversely: rising from 2.1 to 20.1 (+18). But despite the visions of mayhem portrayed in the national newspapers, BP’s Satisfaction scores actually rose from 12.9 to 20.3 over the same timeframe (+7.4).
The driver shortage hasn’t had a negative effect on overall perceptions of the brand either. Impression scores, which measure whether the public have a generally positive or negative opinion of a brand, saw a small rise from 1.0 to 4.6 (+3.6), as did Reputation scores, a metric that tracks whether people would be proud or embarrassed to work for a company (they increased by 3.4 points from 2.2 to 5.6). With Consideration scores rising from 18.0 to 27.0 (+9), drivers are now more likely to get their petrol from BP than they were before, and with Recommendation scores doubling from 2.9 to 6.3 (+3.4), they’re more likely to say they had a good experience.
These findings may surprise the national news outlets that have attempted to pin blame for the panic-buying on BP – and they might also be disappointed to find that the public are most likely to blame the media for the crisis.