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Public Relations - Essay Example

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Press Releases BP, Gulf of Mexico Name Date Course What is the general context of the Press Release (PR)? This press release is an effort at damage control. In the summer of 2010, there was a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. One of BP's oil rigs exploded…
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Download file to see previous pages This was the situation in this case. BP was trying to clean up, but its stock was sinking and everyone was turning on it. Many of its press releases from this period seek to reassure the public and the media. BP wanted to convince people that it was doing its best to help clean up the spill. They wanted people to think they were working very hard and tirelessly to do their best and ensure that the livelihood of people in the Gulf area and many of the marine animals were protected. This context is very important to understand. BP was dealing with a massive public relations (and natural) disaster. It was a challenging environment. One of the things that they worked hard to do was be open and transparent about the actions they were taking to solve the problem. That is in part what got them through the mess intact. What was accomplished in the communication? Consider more than just the obvious message. The obvious message here is one of damage control. BP wants to be seen to be working hard to clean up the environment. They also want to tell people that they are willing to pay for the damage caused. Below this message is an effort by BP to show that they are in control of the situation. They are working hard, but more than that they know what is happening, they can quantify the damage, they are being very responsive to each of the problems that come along. The press release shows to the world that BP is not only working hard but is able to talk about each step of their action in a clear and direct way. For BP, there are no secrets. Everything is above board. That is what is accomplished through this communication. They wanted to send a message with a lot of facts about what they were doing but more than that, they wanted to be seen to be open and transparent. They didn't want to appear to be hiding anything in this situation. Were the press releases related in any way to each other or to major news or industry trends occurring at that time? The press releases were closely related to the events in the Gulf. Indeed, they were a direct response to the oil spill that was happening. Because BP was held to blame for the spill, the press releases were used as a way to assuage the public anger over the issue. It was also a way to get the media to try to start reporting on the story from a positive point view, i.e. what BP was doing to solve the problem. In a situation that extended over many months, BP issued a great number of press releases. The communications department of the company was definitely working overtime through the summer of 2010. Did the company send a consistent and coherent message? The company for the most part sent a consistent and coherent message. The press releases focused on what BP was doing to try to clean up the oil spill. The press releases also focused on some of the technical aspects of the clean-up and effort to stop the well from leaking anymore. Efforts to communicate BP's compensation for those affected by the spill were also included in the press releases. It should be noted that BP received a great deal of criticism when its CEO strayed off of this topic and began to offer an inconsistent message, saying in public for example that the spill was also very hard on him and that he wanted his life back too. That sort of inconsistent messaging caused the company a great deal of grief. In situations like this it is very important to understand that the media will be looking for any perceived inconsistency. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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