The explosion and subsequent oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico last April rapidly became the worst oil spill in US history and the single event that severely affected energy company BP‘s reputation on a huge scale. In this episode of FIR Live, Gerald Baron, founder and director of PIER, and Neil Chapman, a BP communicator, discuss the communication efforts since the event and consider the lessons for crisis communication.
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About our Conversation Partners
Gerald is the author of three books on business and marketing, including Now is Too Late 2, one of the best books available on crisis communication in the digital era. More recently, he wrote the white paper Unending Flow: Case Study on Communications in the Gulf Oil Spill, available for download as a PDF (free) or as a Kindle ebook ($6.99).
Neil has been on the communications front line for controversial industrial projects, company takeovers, restructuring and lobbying campaigns. He also has experience working on developments for growing business in Latin America, Africa and Asia. As an oil company executive, he was PR chair for three energy associations – the US Natural Gas Supply Association, Center for LNG and the UK Offshore Operators Association – when they each faced some of their most difficult communications challenges. He has trained and counselled scores of business people at all levels on honing their communication skills, particularly when delivering hard messages or facing hostile audiences.
Neil was a journalist in the UK, working for newspapers, TV and radio.
- In May 2010, Neil took part in an FIR Interview about Deepwater Horizon communication.
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[Photo at top: The Gulf Coast Management Team in downtown New Orleans, LA on 21 September 2010. Incident Command Posts in Houma, LA and Mobile, AL were consolidated into this location in order to manage day-to-day operations in the Gulf Coast region. Photo © BP p.l.c. Used with permission. More BP photos.]
(Cross-posted from For Immediate Release, Shel’s and my podcast blog.)