AJR Spin Zone

A Blog for real PR and marketing pros (and students) to discuss client and agency-related challenges ... as well as random thoughts on the biz of spin. Should be fun. alec

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

PR can’t fix stupid

PR can’t fix stupid

PR can fix a lot of crises, assuming there is a basis of truth and honesty to start from and build credibility up from that base, always linked back to the truth.

But, with BP, PR can’t fix stupid.

To fix Stupid, BP needs to start acting smart. Here’s a list to start from:

  1. Stop the leak and end the spin- we are not dumb, we see the oil and know that you’re playing a numbers game with the amount of barrels you claim spewing into the Gulf . Stopping the leak or killing the well will be start in the right direction

  1. 2) There is no such thing as a “secret” in today’s hyper-connected social media world. So forget about trying to hide the truth and start embracing it by allowing media FULL access to site and all the dead animals, as they will wash up sooner or later. Allow your workers to speak to the media, as they will be more honest and believable than your CEO or PR teams. Forget staying on message, the oily birds and dead turtles defeat your key messages and media embargoes. We have eyes, digital cameras and all sorts of smartphones to be our own reporters

  1. 3) Pay all claims and stop hiding behind the “legitimate ” legalese. You legally fouled up the gulf, now pay for it and make the process easy and transparent for the fisherman and other residents of the Gulf to understand and file a claim

  1. 4) Communicate. Be open, honest and we can handle the truth. Just say it and do what you say, and say what you mean. Otherwise your brand credibility is still 5000 feet below the surface

  1. 5) Finally, what ever your first reaction is, don’t do it. Stop, think and then you may actually do the right thing and stat acting smart

These will not immediately improve your image, but it’s a start, people will hear your messages and debate its merits, and if they are true, transparent and not self-serving, BP may once again become a respected brand. But that is a long ways from today.


I started my PR career in the Oil industry first with Royal Dutch Shell and then with Texaco, and have crisis communications experience with oil spills in the Amazon. We also have beachfront property in Sarasota, FL



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