From what I read, see and hear online, the oil company is the manifestation of the greedy uncaring corporate monolith with the devil incarnate for a CEO. The company seems impotent in any effort to stop the crude oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, polluting environments and destroying livelihoods along thousands of miles of the US coast.
I don’t believe any of that. What I do believe is that BP is working flat out to fix this catastrophic event – and doing so with all the good will and desire to get the result everyone wants to see.
Will it be enough, and soon, when you constantly see news headline like these:
- BBC News – BP says more oil than estimated is gushing into Gulf
- BP Oil Leak May Last Until Christmas in Worst Case Scenario
- BP shares plunge, US threatens new penaltiesâ€Ž – Reuters
- Gulf residents angry about BP and claims process
- The plight of the pelican is the poignant symbol of this disaster
The company’s share price on the London Stock Exchange has fallen 40 percent since the end of April.
The trouble is, it seems to me, is that in the high stakes game of winning public opinion – surely in this case, one of the biggest challenges facing any company at any time – BP has a gun to its own foot and keeps on pulling the trigger.
From the satirical @BPGlobalPR Twitter account – with its now close to 150,000 followers – with words of advice that seem to be serious, to serious advice that looks worth listening to, and one of the world’s most experienced PR firms, Ogilvy, providing counsel on the role of social media, you’d think there would be plenty of scope to have developed and visibly executed a plan by now to win hearts and minds.
Anger proliferates on the web, says the FT. I really hope BP can defuse that before the effects on the environment, people and wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico area cause severe damage in the long term. The same for BP’s brand and reputation.
You need a large number of quick wins, BP. Apart from stopping that oil leak. (And a repeat question from a week ago: Where are all the other oil companies in this?)
(The oil-dripped version of BP’s logo, above, is unashamedly grabbed from BPGlobalPR’s page on Twitter. Seems an appropriate image for this post.)