I bet this will be question that many presenters on crisis communications and PR turn to –at the IABC World Conference in Toronto this week, and many other events.
Variations of this question could come range from “can social media rescue a company’s reputation,” to “Is this a warning shot for corporations dabbling in social media?”
You could say BP which has the nation’s largest environmental crisis on its hands should ignore the PR disaster they have inherited (as Len Gutman at ValleyPRBlog noted, “There are some things PR can’t fix”) and stick to fixing what it has wrought. It’s near impossible for them to address the ‘wisdom’ of the passionate crowd leveraging new media.
Take these responses to the oil spill:
- The BP Logo Redesign Contest. I’ll don’t need to tell you what this means in a Web 2.0 world where images are shared, commented on and archived forever.
- Fake Twitter Account for ‘BPGlobalPR’: With 129,000 followers and counting, it shows how seemingly powerless Goliath is when David’s got the slingshot. The tweets themselves are entertaining.
- Facebook Protests, including this one calling for a Worldwide BP Protest Day in the coming week -12 June 2010
- More logo attacks on Flickr – Behind the logo group
- Wikipedia edits. Lots of activity on the discussion pages of BP’s Wikipedia page, where editors this week seem to be dredging up –still unpublished– unsavory details of cancer etc.
In the face of all this, what in the name of crisis communications is the value of the full page ad in the New York Times, and some of those TV spots? Is there any value in using old media Tylenol-type tactics to fix the situation BP is in? I recall BP used to run a great series of ads, when it was re-branding, that said things like “It’s time to go on a low carbon diet.”
I think its time for BP to go on a low PR diet!