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American Petroleum Institute

Background & Challenge:

Based in Washington, DC, API is the only national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry. With more than 600 corporate members – from the largest major oil company to the smallest of independents – they are producers, refiners, suppliers, pipeline operators and marine transporters, as well as service and supply companies that support all segments of the oil and gas industry.

In 2019 celebrate the centenary of its founding and to mark the leadership of new CEO, Mike Sommers, API sought WANT Branding’s help to rebrand the organization. API wanted to create bold change through the different levers of branding – one that would both underscore the importance of American energy to the future of the planet, as well as the organization’s acknowledgement of climate change and the role it would play in reducing the effects of fossil fuels.

Solution:

Our work began with working sessions with API brand leadership team to understand the heritage and role of the organization within the industry and their vision for the industry’s future. We completed an extensive interview program with more than twenty stakeholders including leadership from API, industry lobbyists and beltway insiders. We also spoke to numerous API members – Marketing/Communications and Government Relations SVPs from leading national oil and gas organizations like Shell, Exxon and Marathon.

Our discovery phase revealed unanimity around the need for brand change – not only the logo which was widely viewed as dated, but also around the need to create a united sense of purpose of the API organization and brand.

We collaborated extensively with API leadership and API’s Communications Committee, a working group comprised of twenty high-ranking members from some of the US’ biggest oil and gas companies. After several months of work and refinement, we finalized two big ideas – a new Brand Positioning ‘We are the problem solvers’. This bold, broad idea captured the most defining competency of API – as the leading organization helping to solve some of the biggest energy issues and challenges. This idea was universally meaningful to all audiences and stakeholders.

In parallel we agreed on a brand tagline ‘Advocates for tomorrow’ which could serve as a clarion call for the organization and its members for next 100 years. This bold tagline underscored API’s support of the agendas of its members in a way that could achieve results. This idea would not only underline API’s advocacy for the Oil & Gas industry, but also support its role in creating tomorrow’s world.

We then took the new brand positioning and vision and wrote a five hundred word Brand Manifesto which was met with universal adulation by both API leadership and the Communications Committee.

With a clear brand platform in place, we then then began work on logo design. Literally hundreds of symbols ideas fonts and color schemes were considered.  The new selected logo shows the API letters sitting atop an abstract earth shape outline helping to support the organization’s leadership as problem solvers as well as future advocacy

Outcome:

The new logo was announced in the Summer of 2020 to great acclaim.

API said in a tweet that its new logo “reflects the industry’s growth and showcases the modern, future-focused, collaborative, problem solving, and nonpartisan nature of our work.”

“The clean lines and color scheme match our belief that meeting the nation’s energy needs is unifying – as is creating opportunity for all Americans, as energy does,” – Megan Bloomgren, API’s Senior VP of Communications

Services

  • B2B
  • Brand Strategy
  • Brand Identity

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New York, NY
j.bell@wantbranding.com

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