Everbridge: BP - What Not To Do When the World Is Watching


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Boycotts, public outcry, and a tarnished reputation - some of the lasting side-effects of one of the worst oil spills in history. Despite having significant resources, BP has made one crisis communications mistake after another. Could it happen to you if a major disaster were to derail your best-laid plans? Dr. Robert Chandler, renowned crisis communication expert, dissects the missteps of BP's messaging and tell us how to avoid a guilty verdict in the court of public opinion.

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Everbridge: BP - What Not To Do When the World Is Watching

  1. 1. BP: What NOT to Do When the World is Watching Robert Chandler, PhD Director, Nicholson School of Communication University of Central Florida
  2. 2. About Everbridge • Leader in incident notification systems • Fast-growing global company with more than 1,000 clients in more than 100 countries • Serve the Global 2000, federal government organizations, healthcare systems, state and local government, military, financial services firms, and universities • 100% focused on incident notification solutions that merge technology and expertise 3
  3. 3. Agenda Part 1: Presentation • Crisis communications mistakes and missteps • What to say to mitigate public outcry during a crisis • How to clean up your reputation after a crisis Part 2: Q&A
  4. 4. Q&A Slides are currently available to everyone on blog.everbridge.com twitter.com/everbridge facebook.com/everbridgeinc youtube.com/user/everbridge Use the Q&A function to submit your questions.
  5. 5. Bracing for the 2010 Hurricane Season to Do BP: What NOT When the World is Watching Dr. Robert Chandler University of Central Florida
  6. 6. No one is worried about braking anymore…
  7. 7. Toyota’s braking woes quickly subsided as Tony Hayward and the BP crisis captured our attention 3 months ago
  8. 8. The oil spill timeline
  9. 9. A timeline of mistakes
  10. 10. What not to do: BP’s lessons learned • Don’t take too long to respond to the crisis • Do not shift the blame – take/accept responsibility • Actions should fulfill promises made • Don’t drag your feet • Don’t make unrealistic promises • Don’t lose sight of your audience and critics • Don’t fail to understand all facets of the situation
  11. 11. Advance planning • All too frequently, there is a lack of adequate advance planning and preparedness to communicate effective messages – or even understanding that various types of message options exist. • Most managers have little training in what to say to best protect their image or help repair it when it has been tarnished.
  12. 12. Script out your communication beforehand There is no substitute for carefully preparing communication in a crisis to prevent the blunders and missteps we have seen with BP • Prepare messaging in advance • Focus on a set of key messages that need to be delivered • Each phase of the crisis should be well scripted and practiced • Keep comments respectful to all parties involved • If you expect to speak in front of a camera, practice beforehand • Avoid sounding scripted • You will be more comfortable when unexpected events occur “There’s no one who wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back.” - Tony Hayward, CEO, BP
  13. 13. Don’t stray from your plan Practice your crisis communication plan early and often to prevent swaying from key messaging. In two distinct instances, Hayward’s message has contradicted BP’s oil spill disaster plan. • Media statement: Promised that BP would clean up every drop of oil and “restore the shoreline to its original state”. • National TV commercial: Pledges "We will make this right.” "No statement shall be made containing any of the following: promises that property, ecology or anything else will be restored to normal." -BP’s oil disaster plan filed with the federal government in 2009
  14. 14. Every stage of the crisis dictates your audience’s information requirements and your response BP
  15. 15. Stage 4: Management • The crisis either moves toward resolution or gets worse with deepening layers of complexity. • Organizations must provide regular status updates to their various audiences, change or add to previous instructions, control rumors, and conference with leadership and responder teams. • Course-correction may be needed to respond to changes in the situation.
  16. 16. Stage 5: Resolution • The crisis has been resolved and is drawing to conclusion. • Communicate resolution in the form of all-clear alerts and messages of reassurance. • Recall or demobilize emergency response or management protocols and procedures. • Change (transfer) of command authority or structure. • Indicate status of return to “normalcy”. • Indicate transition to “recovery”. • Provide closure.
  17. 17. Stage 6: Recovery • Convert this turning point into opportunity. • Revolve all communication around post-crisis counseling and return to pre-crisis policies and operations. • Offer relief, celebration, and acknowledgement for getting through the crisis. • Evaluate, modify, and execute planned recovery strategies. • Examine damages, losses, and costs. • Acknowledge any shortcomings and how they will be rectified in the future.
  18. 18. Deliver messages the right way BP’s lessons learned • Speak clearly, simply, and calmly. • Convey compassion, conviction, and optimism. • Recognize and acknowledge anger, frustration, fear, outrage, or concern. • Indicate that you genuinely share your audience’s concerns. • Provide 3 or more positive points to counter negative information. • Gain trust by admitting there are things you don’t know. • Accept and involve the public and the media as legitimate partners.
  19. 19. Responding to rumors and inaccuracies • Move quickly to correct. • If a rumor is confined to a small • Keep the level of response audience—correct it within that appropriate to the level of the group, don’t create a major public problem. event. • Overreacting to an isolated • If a rumor is widely known and mistake attracts attention to the spreading—move aggressively problem you’re trying to correct. and publicly to correct it. • Under-reacting to widely reported • When squelching a rumor, information that is not correct will anticipate how the rumor might compound the error. evolve in response to your efforts. • Be careful that your comments Be as thorough as you can in don’t leave the wrong impression closing off avenues for future and that they are not open to rumors. interpretation.
  20. 20. BP’s reputation repair BP should take these steps immediately to repair its stained reputation: • Bolstering • Mitigation efforts • Speed up compensation efforts • Take immediate corrective action • Take responsibility – make a public apology for the entire situation
  21. 21. The basics of reputation repair • Companies can (and will) be faulted or blamed for various crises and disasters. • In some cases, this threat to reputation and brand pose far greater risks than the physical catastrophes. • In every critical situation, image and brand management are increasingly important in the wake of dollars lost due to reputation and brand erosion as well as declining stakeholder confidence due to such scandals.
  22. 22. The basics of reputation repair Communication activities involved in responding to a reputation- damaging crisis include determining: • Optimal timing • Message or thematic priorities • Specific messages to be conveyed to the public and media • Specific messages to be conveyed to targeted individuals • Source(s) of messages • Priorities for communication • Optimal delivery channels
  23. 23. Incident Notification Linda Souza Director of Strategic Marketing, Everbridge
  24. 24. Incident notification solutions address common communication challenges • Communicate quickly, easily, and • Reduce miscommunications and efficiently with large numbers of control rumors with accurate, people in minutes, not hours, consistent messages (3P = 1N) making sure that information about your disaster exercise is conveyed • Free key personnel to perform critical tasks by automating manual, • Use all contact paths especially time-intensive, error-prone processes when sending crucial in-exercise communication • Satisfy regulatory requirements with extensive and complete reporting • Ensure two-way communications of delivery attempts and two-way to know what parts of your exercise acknowledgements from recipients are working and which parts need your attention
  25. 25. Key evaluation criteria for an incident notification system • Experience and expertise • Ease of use • Ability to reach all contact paths, including voice, email, native SMS (over SMPP and SMTP), IM, and more • Ease of integration 26
  26. 26. Missed anything? Q&A Slides are currently available on blog.everbridge.com Use the Q&A function to submit your questions.
  27. 27. Hear more from Dr. Chandler on EBtv Find two-minute video clips featuring Dr. Chandler on EBtv: youtube.com/user/everbridge Who would you rather be: the CEO of BP or President Obama?
  28. 28. Communication resources Contact information White papers, literature, case studies everbridge.com/resources Upcoming webinar: Linda Souza System Demonstration - August 12 everbridge.com/webinars linda.souza@everbridge.com Follow us: 1-818-230-9700 blog.everbridge.com twitter.com/everbridge facebook.com/everbridgeinc Robert C. Chandler, PhD youtube.com/user/everbridge rcchandl@mail.ucf.edu 1-407-823-2683 Reminder Everbridge Insights webinars qualify for Continuing Education Activity Points (CEAPs) for DRII certifications. Visit www.drii.org to register your credit. Item Number (Schedule II): 26.1 Activity Group: A 1 Point for each webinar