The Rebranding of DONG Energy to Ørsted: Wind–wind Situation or Just Hot Air?

Kristian Lindved Jensen & Lucas Kanne Caspersen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This master thesis examines the rebranding of the Danish energy company DONG Energy to Ørsted, which took place in 2017. The rebranding was part of a major green transitioning for DONG Energy, as a way to reflect its attempt to produce more green energy and be more sustainable, through its brand. The thesis is designed as a case study of the rebranding process and its effects, guided by the research question: “Given that rebranding is such a heavy undertaking, why did DONG Energy choose to rebrand to Ørsted and how has it affected them?”. As part of examining the rebranding, we have analyzed the various internal and external drivers, which motivated this rebranding and discussed these to evaluate their respective importance as drivers for the rebranding. Then a thorough analysis of Ørsted’s newly created brand elements is made, with special emphasis placed on three narratives we have identified and labeled as; Danishness, greenness and responsibility. We analyze how these respective narratives are present in the various brand elements, how the Danish people perceived them, which we analyze through a survey, and lastly discuss the narratives’ communicative effect. In the end we discuss how DONG Energy’s new identity as Ørsted has affected the company and evaluate how the brand will fare in the future, with special emphasis on potentially damaging aspects. The aforementioned analysis is done through various theories in different fields, ranging from analyzing the external factors with the PEST analysis, to the individual linguistic and visual connotations of words used in brand elements, analyzed through the likes of semiotics and shot-to-shot film analysis. However, the largest body of theory relates to branding, specifically the subcategories of brand elements and rebranding. The brand elements analyzed are the three key elements; name, logo and slogan, with the addition of an advertising film Ørsted had made for its rebranding. The justification of analyzing these lies in the fact that they are designed to convey the new brand identity and values of the company, which gives crucial insight in the intended identity and image of the brand. The thesis concludes that Ørsted managed to create a new identity with Danish, green and responsible connotations, through its brand elements and communication about the company. However, the brand still faces challenges of completely distancing itself from its unflattering past, and potentially even more damaging, a lawsuit against the use of the name Ørsted.

EducationsMaster of Business, Language and Culture, Intercultural Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages135