BP Chief Learns PR the Hard Way

September 26, 2007

BP
(image via BBC)

We recently reported on one of BP’s “green pr” initiatives here in the states. Turns out the company has another communications issue to deal with. BP’s new chief executive recently let loose on more than hundred fellow senior execs, and his words were almost immediately leaked to the press. The Financial Times reports:

Mr Hayward’s error was failing to anticipate how his internal message might be construed externally. Public relations consultants charge a lot of money to deliver common-sense advice and rule one is to keep internal and external messages aligned. Mr Hayward was addressing a fairly large gathering, so he ought to have considered that his comments were semi-public. He should have anticipated that casually using the word “dreadful” to describe BP’s performance might have ugly consequences.

The FT hits the nail on the head here. PR people work every day to develop messages that resonate, let alone keep them consistent across various audiences. Hayward, although we’re sure unintentionally, just made threw a wrench into BP’s messaging.

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