Crisis in Motion – BP Oil

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Crisis in Motion – BP Oil

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The Internet was also selected as the most reliable source of news by nearly 40 percent of adults, compared to 17 percent who opted for television and 16 percent who selected newspapers and 13 percent for listened to the radio.The latest online reputation crisis has come from a global giant that is seeking to clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast, and has meanwhile been bombarded online by Internet users furious with the lack of resolution from BP.

It all started May 19th with the launch of a fake Twitter account @BPGlobalPR and has since progressed to:

  • a response from a BP spokesperson on AdAge that admits BP is aware of the Twitter account but “I’m not aware of whether BP has made any calls to have it taken down or addressed. People are entitled to their views on what we’re doing and we have to live with those. We are doing the best we can to deal with the current situation and to try to stop the oil from flowing and to then clean it up.”
  • an article on MSNBC that calls the account “one big joke”
  • a troll video ranting about the goings-on of BP
  • the Wall Street Journal picked up on it
  • a YouTube video spoof

In sum, in just one week after the launch of the fake Twitter account, both @BPGlobalPR and @BP_America saw an increase in activity not only on the web but also on several international TV channels, regional news, international news, and radio.

The good news? The fake account and satire tee-shirts have so far helped the Gulf Restoration Network official put $US10,000 into the organisation’s PayPal account.

Maintaining your Online Reputation

The Internet is a place of highly visible conversations that are not owned by the company in any way. However, social media monitoring allows brands to stay on top of online word-of-mouth and respond quickly to crises, questions, and concerns. Fake buzz can go viral in a matter of hours and you may need to set in place a crisis monitoring.

According to a poll carried out by Reuters just last year,

The Internet was selected as the most reliable source of news by nearly 40 percent of adults, compared to 17 percent who opted for television and 16 percent who selected newspapers and 13 percent for listened to the radio.

Social Media Crisis Monitoring

Any business should be aware by now of the importance of the Internet in the maintenance of their brand image and have plans in place in case of a PR crisis to monitor online conversations. A good crisis monitoring strategy should:

  • set the monitoring into motion within an hour or less
  • send regular updates and digests of the conversations
  • identify influential blogs, sites, and people online that are discussing your situation
  • send regular reports that analyze the location of conversations and the speed at which they are being republished elsewhere on the web
  • be flexible to your demands and your situation

What are your thoughts on the situation? Is BP monitoring the situation or not taking it as seriously as they should?



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