With more and more PR people becoming lawyers and working for law firms there seems to be a growing push for having outside spokespersons, especially attorneys when crisis situations occur.
Minneapolis radio station KDWB is the latest organization to feel the sting and power of victims angered by an inadequate apology. The radio station’s pain comes from loosing advertisers because the station still refuses to take adequate responsibility for its gaffe of broadcasting a parody of Hmong.
Let’s hope BP’s new victim compensation fund may be the standard for helping people in emergencies.
Those in charge intellectually understand how important communication is when bad things happen. The problem is that their emotions got in the way of making communication operational until it was too late.
Rag on Tony Hayward of BP if you like, but his crisis management shut down the oil leak, and established a $20 billion restoration and victim compensation fund was established to be independently administered and prepay claims.
While some in the media are getting around to discussing the practice of letting anonymous comments continue to appear in news outlet web page responses, a wonderful article in The Weekend WSJ, “The Feuding Fathers,” reminds us that anonymous sources go back to well before the founding of our Republic and have always been an important part of the national discussion.
If you’re wondering what might by happening inside the minds of BP employees right now, let me give you an insight by quoting an April 18, 1989 memo from then Exxon Chairman Lawrence G. Rawl to all employees.
Lessons from ongoing crisis management and catastrophe mistakes.
The petroleum industry has little to fear from Congress or for its reputation. Like the bankers, insurance industry, real estate, Wall Street, the credit card industry, and even the auto industry, there is the Headline Phase, the Hearings Phase, and now the Independent Panel Phase. It’s the usual stuff, when the answers are hard.
We are starting to hear talk of boycotts and other punitive measures against BP. This attitude is total goofiness. The company is putting its money and energy where its mouth is to resolve the situation…so now we should punish them by driving by their gas stations? This is mindless meanness.