Why Isn’t BP Spilling Anything Else?

Filed in Current Events by on June 17, 2010 2 Comments

It’s quite apparent that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been the focus of the United States for the past few months. Animal rights activists are concerned about the ecological impact of the spill and the stock market hasn’t been in the best shape since the messy disaster, either. As expected, though, getting the most attention is BP, the company whose line burst on April 20, 2010.

You would think that during a time when everyone is focusing on your pipeline and your failed recovery efforts, that a company with quite a large stake in the oil market would want to make matters easier for themselves.  Much like the Exxon Valdez oil spill, it’s going to take quite some time to clean up and restore the Gulf Coast to some sense or normalcy.

So, why isn’t BP letting everyone know that they’re sorry? Why does the government feel they need to step in to hold BP accountable for cleanup efforts and restoration costs?

And, my biggest question – why hasn’t BP launch a major social media campaign to try to clean up this huge PR mess they’ve made. For every gallon of oil that seeps into the Gulf, it gets that much harder for BP to come out of this thing alive and on top. From the looks of it, it’s going to take them a long time to come clean and head in the right direction.

The Past Holds the Future

I’m not a big fan of the whole “history repeats itself” mentality because I believe we all have choices in life and we can make sure history does not repeat itself. However, when it comes to social media campaigns, I think that the past holds the fortune of the future because in my mind, if it’s worked once, it’ll work again.

Let’s rewind a few months ago to the devastating Haiti earthquake. As soon as the disaster struck, social media campaigns by the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and tons of other organizations were springing up. Millions and millions of people were touched by the stories that were told and the gripping images that were shown on the news each night, leading to quite a hefty amount of donations to help victims recover.

Action was taken quickly and goals were pursued relentlessly. Lives were changed and rearranged. Giving abounded and millions of people across the world felt the pain of Haitians. All of this was because of a major push in social media? You bet.

Although the disasters are quite a bit different, the same core concepts apply to BP and the oil spill.

  1. Action needs to be taken – now!
  2. People need to be touched emotionally
  3. Misconceptions and judgments need to be cast aside and the facts need to emerge.
  4. No matter how much it hurts, a no holds barred pursuit of positive PR needs to happen.

The Learning Factor

Just like the Haiti disaster, there are a ton of things that you and I can learn from the BP oil spill. I think Justin Kownacki (@JustinKownacki) said it best yesterday when he tweeted, “Aspiring PR pros could save a bundle by quitting school, subscribing to the #BP hashtag & then doing the exact opposite.”

It’s the truth – if you want to see how to do things the right way, look at the example BP is setting and do the opposite. Don’t follow in their footsteps.

I think the most powerful lesson we can learn from this situation is that when your dignity is on the line, make sure that you do everything possible to restore hope in your brand. Customers won’t be buying from BP for a long time because of the company’s lack of response to this situation. BP can’t sit around and hope it gets better. The company is losing its reputation with its oil and they should be doing something about it.

Eric Alpin is the Associate Editor of Folk Media and works for a telecommunications company in Baltimore, Md. He is a social media enthusiast, blogger, writer, and student with a passion for leadership and self-development strategies and techniques. Find out more about Eric on Twitter.

*Photo by Greenpeace USA 2010

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Comments (2)

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  1. The population and its requirement is increasing time to time in this situation who thinks about environment? What do you think? I think we should find out some substitute of oil.

  2. seo company says:

    this is very important as far as polution is concern.i plant one plant every to save environment and expect the same from others.


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