Posted June 7, 2010 10:04 am by with 2 comments

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“BP: Stock rises after it reports oil spill progress”

That’s the headline from a CNN story today.

And that’s the bottom line for BP executives. They can run all the TV ads they want, take-out all the full page print ads in the world, pour money into Google AdWords, and tweet until their heart is content, but it really all boils down to this:

Fix the oil leak, before you try to fix your reputation.

Even BP’s shareholders understand this simple concept. News that the oil company is making progress on the Gulf of Mexico leak, leads to an increase in share price. Fix the problem and shareholders will fix your stock price.

The problem is, BP is not fixing the problem fast enough. I’ve lost track of how many days this disaster has been going on, but it’s closing in on 50 and that’s simply unacceptable to even the most staunch BP supporter.

50 days X 19,000 barrels a day = the worst reputation crisis in recent history.

Not that BP had a great reputation to start with–none of the oil companies did. The memory of $4+ gallon of gas is still fresh in our memories. So are the $30 BILLION in annual profits! That’s a big number compared to the $1.25 billion BP has spent in an effort to stop the spill and clean-up the Gulf.

Look at Dell. Look at Dominos Pizza. Heck, even look at Tiger Woods. Would each of these “reputations” be on the road to recovery if they continued to provide lousy customer service, unhygenic pizzas, or continued to sleep with umpteen women?

Crisis communications is important, but even more important is actually fixing the problem. Telling the world that you care about the oil spill and will work to fix it, is not the same as actually fixing it. In the world of social media, any attempt to “spin” or talk in carefully prepared soundbites will become nothing more than ammunition for your detractors:

(a sample of tweets from the BP parody Twitter feed)

(img credit: Reuters)

  • gene erbe

    buld a concrete form enough to cover from top to bottom 100,000 lbs then pour concrete all around form till leak is trickling out or stopped please send to bp brains at the top its not so hard to figure out.the form walls should be 3 feet thick all around with a rubber substance on the top for the pipe 6000 lbs of pressur will not push that much weight off the top of tube

  • Navin Brijbassi

    I feel that the leak can be fixed by inserting a pipe made of a strong material such as an alloy of titamium or stainlees steel. This pipe should be equipped with back flow preventers and be perforated to allow the easy escape of gas and oil. This pipe should be inserted as deep as possible into the well. Once this is pipe is in place then a flexible wire should be fed into the pipe. This will eventually fill the opening and slow the flow. Once the flow is slowed then top kill or implosion can be used to finish the sealing process.
    If wire does not work the try lead shaped as tear drops and make the pipe as larger as possible.