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

Just Posted

WATCH: Washboard Union opens bull riding weekend in Sylvan Lake

Country artists Jason Benoit and Washboard Union played to a full audience Nov. 14

Alberta Justice Minister advocates UCP rural crime plan

Expanded property rights, more power to peace officers, demonetizing scrap mental part of UCP plan

Sylvan Lake artist to perform at BRC cabaret

Dylan Gillett will take to the stage Friday evening after the bull riders have finished

Wolf Creek Public Schools hit by budget cuts, insurance spike

WCPS is facing a sizable shortfall after a $1.8 million cut and $1 million insurance hike

Sylvan Lake Wranglers earn another win at home

The Wranglers defeated the Ponoka Stampeders 3-1, Nov. 10

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

Rebels ride 3-goal first period to 4-3 win over Brandon

Goaltender Byron Fancy with key saves in third period to save game

Supreme Court of Canada dismisses murder appeals in 2013 Calgary swarming death

Assmar Shlah and Franz Cabrera were convicted in 2016 of second-degree murder

One year on, most oil-and-gas bailout money has moved, federal government says

Sweden’s central bank says it has sold its Alberta-government issued bonds

Ski resorts selling mountain water is a risky move, critics say

Alberta allowed ski resort in Kananaskis Country to sell about 50 million litres to third party

Sportsnet looks at new options for Coach’s Corner time slot, post-Don Cherry

Spokesperson says Hall of Fame feature on tap this weekend after co-host’s firing

CN Rail confirms job cuts as weakening economy cuts into freight volumes

Railroad also said it was affected by a slowdown in the B.C.’s forestry sector

Most Read