What Happens When You Hit The News…For All The Wrong Reasons?

By joanne | 3rd June | Marketing Skills, Marketing Training

If you regularly watch the news, the BP crisis in the USA will I’m sure have caught your eye.  A British company in the midst of the worst environmental disaster in the United States; they have been forced to “perform the equivalent of open heart surgery” via the international news channels.

And the cost… containing the oil has cost over £1 billion already.  But the cost to the shares has been far higher – the company has lost one third of it’s share value since the beginning of the crisis.  And that’s been affecting stock markets – and pension funds – all over the world.

To be fair to BP, they did a lot of things right from a marketing point of view. And these form our top tips…

  1. Take Responsibility.  You can fight about the details later, but someone has to take responsibility and sort out the problem.  BP seemed to do this immediately, even though it wasn’t their platform (according to early reports).
  2. Keep Communicating.  ‘No comment’ is not an option in these situations.  If you say nothing, the media will still report something – and it may make the situation worse.  You need to say something, even if you have bad news.
  3. Be Honest.  Gone are the days when large corporations could fool the public and spin any story they liked.  The public – and the media – are much smarter than that, so whatever you say, tell the truth.
  4. Start with an apology.  If you’re to blame, admit it and say ‘sorry’.  Nobody wants to hear excuses; they want apologies and action – regardless of blame.
  5. Offer Reassurance.  We know that people make mistakes – it’s natural.  But we want to be certain you’re doing what you can to stop the situation getting any worse.  So keep talking and telling people what’s happening and what you’re doing next.

Today brings another unfortunate example, as a madman shoots 12 people dead in Cumbria.  It’s absolutely the last thing any county needs – but especially Cumbria, right now.  The Lakes are gearing up for another busy holiday season – and they need it after the floods and the snow brought many businesses to a halt over the winter.  But in the last two weeks, the region has hit the news again with the coach crash in Keswick and then the mass shooting.  So, despite all the best efforts of the people responsible for marketing the area, such as Cumbria Tourism, events can overtake you – and you need to respond quickly.  The reason for me raising this issue in the blog today is to communicate, be honest and reassure you – the reader – that Cumbria is very much open for business… and always has been.

The county looks amazing in the sunshine today and we’re looking forward to Appleby Fair this weekend.  We need your support now more than ever, so please keep your plans to visit and bring vital business into the region.

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