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Crisis Communication: British Petroleum

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Eric Sirvinskas

on 1 May 2013

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Transcript of Crisis Communication: British Petroleum

Crisis Communication:
British Petroleum What is Crisis Communication? Low-Level Responsibility 4 Types:
1.Non-existence Strategies
attack & intimidation
2.Distance Strategies
3.Association Strategies
4. Suffering Strategies
victimization Preparing for a Crisis (continued) BP Oil Spill
(Deepwater Horizon) Principles for Effective Crisis Communication
Preparing for a crisis

Define the type of crisis

Communicating about the crisis

Taking actions to contain the crisis Alekxa, Abigael, Emily, Eric, and Eric The efforts taken by a company to communicate with stakeholders when an unexpected event occurs that could have a negative impact on the company's reputation.

Main purpose is to protect the brand identity and maintain the organization's firm standing within an industry. : Types of Crises Preparing for a Crisis BP and Crisis Control Strategies What Happened? "The company initially tried to cover up the severity of the spill, misleading both Congress and investors about how quickly oil was leaking from the runaway well, according to the settlement and related charges." New York Times “All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident, as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf Coast region,” Robert W. Dudley, BP’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We apologize for our role in the accident, and as today’s resolution with the U.S. government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.” organizations can identify probable crises and develop contingency plans
5 different levels of contingency plans
Stage 1: minimal planning
Stage 2: more extensive planning but limited to nature disasters and potential human errors
Stage 3: includes training of personnel so that employees can implement these crisis procedures
Stage 4: involves an organization-wide consultation of potential crises and their impact on stakeholders
Stage 5: incorporates environmental scanning and early warning systems to identify crises as early as possible Faux pas Background of BP Spill In 2007 BP paid a criminal fine of $60 million for violating federal environmental regulations in Alaska and Texas.

2006: Over 200,000 gallons of crude oil spilled in the Tundra.

Economic value vs. Safety

Pressure to resume drilling quickly

Low number of plans in place for deep drilling Terrorism Accidents Transgressions Unintentional Intentional External Internal It is important to develop communication plans for probably crisis scenarios and establish key responsibilities:
identify organization's key spokespersons
media training of CEO , executive directors and key spokespersons
establish a crisis communication team to handle the release of information
establish safe crisis locations where the media can meet and briefed during hazardous situations
identify contacts at relevant external agencies who may need to be contacted in case of a crisis High Level Responsibility The Drilling Process BP's lack of preparation leads to stained reputation BP didn't have a public relations strategy prior to the crisis
when the accident occurred, the company failed to communicate three key messages the public needed to hear:
1- BP was accountable for the disaster
2- was deeply concerned about the harm it caused
3- had a plan for what to do to make it better The process:
Begins with drilling through rock.
Casting is installed to line the hole.
Pour cement into gap between the casting and rock.
Two options for the end:
1.Run a single string of casing from the well head to the well bottom.
2. Hang a liner from the last section of the casing that is cemented, and slide that into a second steel liner tube called a tieback.
Final defense is a Blowout Protector (BOP). It is a five story tower that can shut off the well. Restoring the Company's Image BP hired Purple Strategies: a Corporate Communications firm
The Brunswick Group: a financial PR agency
Oglivy & Mather: creators of BP's beyond petroleum campaign and advisors on social media efforts
Targeted political ties in Washington D.C. as well as advertisements and social media
Purchased the key words such as "oil", "oil spill", "gulf spill" and "natural disaster" on Google, attempting to redirect people to their website What went wrong with the BP Process? A Wall Street Journal investigation found that BP used the cheaper, riskier single string method in the gulf far more than other operators.
A faulty BOP:
One of the pipe rams (horizontally opposed plates that clamp around the drill pipe to block methane and fluids had been changed with an inoperable test version. On April 20, 2010, high-pressured methane gas from the Macondo well expanded and rose into the drilling rig. It then ignited and exploded. The Results Oil from the well flowed into the Gulf of Mexico for 85 days.

September 19, 2010, Federal officials declared that the well had been sealed for good after workers drilled a relief well into the damaged one and inserted a permanent cement plug. More than 8,000 birds, sea turtles, and marine mammals were found injured or dead in the six months after the spill.
172 million gallons of oil flooded into the Gulf.
Severe damage to local tourism and fishing. 2 Types:
1. Acceptance Strategy
Full Apology
2. Accommodative Strategy
Rectification Robert Bea "It's clear that the problem is not technology, but people," says Robert Bea, an engineering professor at the University of California-Berkeley. "It was a chain of important errors made by people in critical situations involving complex technological and organization systems." BP's High Level Responsibility
Communications Plan Goal - To kill the well, clean up the oil in the shortest amount of time and most effective way possible; and to restore the environment, the local economies and the company's image.
Knowledge: To have the public know that BP acknowledged it was accountable for the disaster, was deeply concerned about the harm it caused and had a plan for what to do to fix the environment and local economies effected.
Predisposition: To allow people to see and hear that BP understands the magnitude of the oil spill, and the effect it's having on people's lives, livelihood and the environment.
Behavior: to fix the damage that has been caused ecologically and economically

Target Audience:
Primary Audience - Residents living in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida that were affected by the oil spill, the American public, and BP's shareholders. TONY HAYWARD, CEO "Well, it wasn't our accident, but we are absolutely responsible for the oil, for cleaning it up." - May 3, 2010

“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.” - May 14, 2010

“I’m sorry—we're sorry—for the massive disruption this has caused their lives. And there's no one who wants this over more than I do. You know, I want my life back.” - May 30, 2010 $50 Million Ad Campaign Newspaper - BP bought full page advertisements in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Television - Featured CEO Tony Hayward apologizing and seabirds chirping in a coastal setting.
"For those affected and your families, I'm deeply sorry. We will make this right."

Social Media - twitter, facebook, flickr, branded YouTube channel, purchased search engine terms In the End Acceptance Strategy - BP issued an apology and is offering remediation through claims made by individuals and organizations

Accommodative Strategy - BP is taking corrective action to prevent a recurrence of the crisis in the future and is currently cleaning up the spill Current Efforts BP's current focus lies on portraying BP as a changed company:

Helping the local communities
Changing its management operations forming stronger governance over its contractors
Focusing on new affordable and clean energy
Safety BP Oil Spill:
Type of Crisis Internal Accident
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