In the wake of a PR crisis, time to reflect

In the wake of a PR crisis, time to reflect

Ana Mangahas

Ana Mangahas

I really enjoyed listening to this Guardian podcast on ‘reasons to be cheerful’ despite the glum economic environment. A key topic was Tony Hayward’s departure from BP, and with it, the end of some truly lamentable public statements. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll know that Mr. Hayward plus the word ‘gaffe’ have gone hand-in-hand since the explosion at the Macondo oil well that triggered this human and environmental tragedy.

What I found interesting was one of the podcaster’s comments which suggested that Hayward’s many PR failures (the key reason he’s going) may have seriously overshadowed fundamentally ‘OK’ managerial decisions he made during the crisis. There are two different but related themes at work here: ‘good’ PR can define leaders. In the case of Hayward and his predecessor, ‘bad’ PR also has the ability to also take them down. Secondly, I personally don’t believe PR is enough to paper over, or indeed, obscure (business, ethical, environmental) cracks of as profound a nature as those which led to the Gulf oil spill. Which also raises a third question: what is your best asset when fighting a crisis of BP-sized proportions?

The incoming CEO, an American, will have a major job on his hands in helping repair the ocean-sized reputational damage to BP. Let’s hope he and his advisors understand that good communications, as part of a bigger whole that includes accountability and  responsible action, are not mutually exclusive.

Share this story:

Read more from the blog

Blog

Does cybersecurity have a comms problem?

Cybersecurity is crucial in today's world. However, many people still struggle to understand what it involves - is poor comms to blame? ...Read more

Alexandra Kourakis
Alexandra Kourakis
Blog

Avoiding the pitfalls of impulsive PR

While it is tempting to be part of the hottest media topics of the day, businesses should be wary of getting involved in conversations they really shouldn’t be ...Read more

Matthew Healey
Matthew Healey
Uncategorised

Setting Sail: Navigating the Business Seas with Reputation

In the vast and often turbulent waters of the business world, organisations must navigate through ever-changing currents, unpredictable storms, and shifting tides. ...Read more

Selina Jardim
Selina Jardim

Add a comment

Time limit exceeded. Please complete the captcha once again.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Is it time to shape your reputation?

We operate in London, Paris and Munich, and have a network of like-minded partners across the globe.

Get in touch

Sign up to Spark, our newsletter

Receive thought pieces from our leadership team, views on the news, tool of the month and light relief for comms folk

You can unsubscribe at any time, please read our privacy policy for more information