Well, I may have to change the name of this blog to PR on the ellipitical trainer. I’ve been able to chase the belt on the treadmill a couple times in the last few days. But hitting the concrete. Nada. Sore foot. Sore foot. Oh, my. Oh, my.
Oh, well. More important problems facing us these days — the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico certainly among them, if not topping the list. And I wonder what BP can say at this point to restore public trust and confidence?
I was thinking about that yesterday when I was tethered to an exercise machine and watching the broadcast version of an ad that BP is using to apologize for the spill, take responsibility and convey the image that it is in control of the situation.
That ad should be effective. Hey, it’s classic PR strategy for crisis communications and management: apologize, get senior management involved and on the scene quickly, and take responsibility. That’s been pretty much textbook advice for more than two decades — ever since the Exxon Valdez catastrophe and the inept response by that company’s management.
So, is it working for BP? Doesn’t look like it.
Here’s from an interesting Associated Press story as posted on The Huffington Post, “BP Ad Backfires, Spur Criticism, Not Sympathy“:
The ads began appearing last week and have been criticized by President Barack Obama, who said the money should be spent on cleanup efforts and on compensating fishermen and small business owners who have lost their jobs because of the spill.
The ads also don’t thrill residents and visitors of the Gulf Coast, where the oil has blackened some beaches and threatens others. And others say the sentiments come too soon and insincerely.
“Their best advertising is if they get this cap (in place) and they get everything cleaned up. All you’ve got to do is do your job, and that’s going to be plenty of good advertising,” said Grover Robinson IV, chairman of the Escambia County, Fla., Commission, referring to BP’s efforts to place a cap over the gushing pipe and capture the oil.
BP spokesman Robert Wine said in an e-mail Saturday that “not a cent” has been diverted from the oil spill response to pay for the ad campaign. He didn’t know its cost.
BP management — and that of any organization in this kind of situation — has to convey a message that it cares, that it understands the scope and severity of the crisis, and that it takes responsibility for the fix today and as the situation evolves in the weeks, months and maybe years ahead.
But when you come down to it, results matter.
And today — in an era of Twitter, Facebook, and 24/7 news — that may well be the new standard for crisis communications and management.