09.06.17 / BHP redefines its brand story

The latest BHP brand marketing campaign has been launched with a new identity and a “Think Big” story. Through research, BHP uncovered that they did not have a narrative that resonates today with stakeholders and the community. They needed to tell an authentic story of who BHP is, what it does and why it matters. 

When BHPBilliton merged in 2001, the company had a clear story and that was about “transformation" - they were not the mining company of old. 

The identity design strategically evolved from that positioning and reflected a bold and brave global corporate intention. I was the Design Director of FHA Image Design which created the BHP Billiton “three blobs” design.

The CEO at the time, Paul Anderson, was passionate about design making a difference to corporate purpose, culture and engagement.

The thinking behind the BHPBilliton identity was both strategic and creative - left brain and right brain synergy - to deliver a distinctive message that was in accordance with the corporate vision. 

The new BHP identity with its minimal letterforms does not reflect the dynamics of BHP as a global brand that aspires to a leadership role in future solutions. There is nothing aspirational or forward thinking about three bold letters in a standard font.

Most companies do not use design thinking to contribute to success, as the majority of CEOs focus on the linear aspects. However, a corporate culture that embraces creative process, enables new solutions to be more easily arrived at.

In the new economy, Return On Imagination is just as important as Return On Investment. How many CEO’s can say that they “love” their brand identity because it beautifully symbolises the company’s story? 

There are many companies out there struggling to connect in an increasingly congested and confusing marketplace. The noise is at crescendo levels. Getting back to basics as to "why it matters" through story telling and engaging audiences creatively can get cut through and impact the business bottom line. Every enterprise, from start-up to multi-national, can benefit from bringing their story to life imaginatively to empower their brand marketing messages and promote more effective connections.

I am sad to see the old BHPBilliton identity disappear. It suggested ideas and innovation. The new identity is simple and pragmatic, but doesn’t BHP deserve a more intelligent solution, one that can be admired for the corporate imagination that inspired it ? 

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Richard Henderson

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