A construction worker walks past The Bow building where Encana Corp. has its company headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh A construction worker walks past The Bow building where Encana Corp. has its company headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Ovintiv name a ‘blank slate’ as Encana plans move to U.S.

‘Firstly, I think it’s a horrible name. Secondly, it doesn’t matter.’

The name Encana Corp. immediately brings to mind two things: energy and Canada.

Ovintiv, with which the oil and gas producer plans to rechristen itself once it moves its headquarters to the United States next year, offers no hint of what the company does or where it’s from.

Branding experts say that’s likely to be the point.

“It’s kind of a blank slate, which appears to be what they wanted to go for,” said Darren Dahl, a marketing professor at UBC.

Alan Middleton, a York University marketing professor, laughed at the mention of the new moniker.

“Firstly, I think it’s a horrible name. Secondly, it doesn’t matter,” he said.

“The only pure tests for a brand’s actual name is ‘Can you trademark it and is it rude?’ Beyond that, it’s up to the organization to deliver its meaning.”

Encana was created in 2002 through the merger of Alberta Energy Company Ltd., founded in the 1970s by the provincial government, and PanCanadian Energy Corp., the roots of which can be traced back to the construction of the Canadian Pacific railroad.

CEO Doug Suttles, who speaks in a Texas drawl and lives in Denver, has said the change in headquarters is meant to help the company tap deeper pools of U.S. investor capital.

A skeletal web page for Ovintiv says the rebranding is a nod to “continuous innovation.” Its red, orange and grey logo of dashes in a molecule-like configuration “symbolizes the human connection made possible by the energy we produce.”

Encana’s founder, Gwyn Morgan, wrote in a recent Postmedia column that the southward move and name change are signs Canada’s energy industry has gone from being viewed as “positive to pariah” because of “toxic” Liberal energy policies.

“The Americanization of the company is distressing enough, but the loss of the Encana name is particularly heart-wrenching,” Morgan wrote. “Apparently, the company’s board concluded even keeping a name that implies Canadian roots repels investors.”

Middleton said the Canadian brand’s problem is not that it’s viewed poorly — it’s that no one thinks much about it at all.

He said Canada’s energy sector is viewed as a “credible, but not a superior brand.”

Dahl said the Canadian brand still has value when it comes to things such as tourism, but it’s been on the wane for the last decade or two when it comes to natural resources.

“I don’t see many extraction industries branding themselves in the Canadian way, which is kind of sad. It’s a big part of our heritage.”

READ MORE: Oil would still be landlocked under ‘Wexit,’ experts say

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta RCMP launches online crime reporting across the province

A goal for the Alberta RCMP is to make sure all crime is reported, no matter how small

84 new cases of COVID-19 reported Friday

1,036 active cases across Alberta, 10,796 recovered cases

Lacombe resident creates labyrinth near Breton

Marsha Duggan encourages others to use their imagination

76 new cases of COVID-19 reported Thursday

Active cases at 1,036, 10,713 recovered cases

Stettler to celebrate rich prairie culture throughout September during Alberta Culture Days

Stettler has been selected as a “Feature Celebration Site” for Alberta Culture Days

Charges likely in fatal attack at central Alberta medical clinic: RCMP

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

Premier Jason Kenney in Lacombe to introduce rural Internet

Shaw to provide 1g Internet to all AB residential customers

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

‘So sorry:’ Man pleads guilty for gas-and-dash death of Thorsby gas station owner

Mitchell Robert Sydlowski was charged with second-degree murder, but the 29-year old pleaded guilty to the lesser offence

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

AB Infrastructure Minister announces $8,522,800 regional water transmission line

Funding is covered jointly by the province, Ottawa and benefiting municipalities

WE Charity registers as lobbyist, lays off staff, looking to sell real estate

WE Charity said its financial position has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools receive grant from Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

WRPS has received $15,975 from the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation.

Most Read