The Deepwater Horizon Oil spill is the biggest ever since the beginning of the oil Spill industry. Credible estimates put the minimum oil amount of oil spilled at least 4 million barrels ("Gulf Oil Spill | National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration"). The Deepwater Horizon rig was operated by BP (British Petroleum) which was under the management of Tony Hayward (Walsh).
Was the BP response the best?
Many analysts and PR (Public Relations) image experts agree that the response by the senior management at BP was not the best. Several issues have been pointed out that many agree could have been done differently. First, the company failed to empathize with those who were affected (at least initially). The company’s CEO, Tony Hayward was quoted in the press as saying he needed his “life back” (Watson). He made such comments at a time when many families were grieving their loved ones and thousands were counting losses to their businesses because of the spill. Second, the company seemed to have failed to prepare for a crisis of that magnitude. Even though, it might seem unwise to spend huge resources to put plans in places in case of crises of such nature, such plans could have come in handy and could have helped the company to react better (Kimberly). Third, the CEO or the company spokesperson appeared not to be sufficiently knowledgeable about the basics of the company (McClam and Weber). They gave facts that were misleading and downplayed the extent of the spill. This really affected the credibility of the company (Kimberly). These were obviously not the best PR responses to the crisis.
How could the response be improved?
The corporation should have taken its time, crafted a more accurate response to the crisis. They should have probably hired a team of PR consultants to help the management show more compassion at the press conferences. The CEO is the public image and the person people turn to for answers in such crises. Tony Hayward should have been helped to portray a better image than that which he did.