Two weeks ago, a fellow using the Twitter handle @BPGlobalPR started tweeting about the oil spill disaster. The scathing, sarcastic tweets quickly made it clear that this was not an official BP public relations account. Yet in only a couple weeks, the BPGlobalPR account has gained more than 100,000 followers and a lot of media attention.
Last Wednesday, the mysterious Twitterer posted his first official blog post, directed towards the media, which introduced himself as Leroy Stick and explained his disdain for BP and their feeble attempts to convince the public that they are managing the oil spill.
You can read his full blog post here, but allow me to sum it up for you: Leroy feels that BP should stop worrying about saving their (now-tarnished) brand and start worrying about solving the real problem at hand – which is stopping and cleaning the oil spill.
Whether you appreciate his take on the situation or not, Leroy made one point in his blog post that’s hard to argue with: the best way to gain the public’s respect for your brand is simply to have a respectable brand.
“Offer a great, innovative product and make responsible, ethical business decisions. Lead the pack! Evolve!” Leroy says.
And he’s right. Sometimes that’s the only strategy you need! Today’s consumers are savvy, knowledgeable and opinionated. They have the means to challenge companies that make unethical decisions. They protest brands that don’t deliver what they promise. And most importantly, they don’t trust companies whose communication isn’t a two-way, 100% transparent street. Leroy Stick is proof of that.
The oil spill in the Gulf is tragic. Leroy’s tweets are just a humorous way for people to deal with how angry and helpless they feel about the situation. What America wants to see is a BP that takes responsibility and takes action – not commercials promising action. Only after the problem is solved will BP be able to rebuild its relationship with consumers, through open and honest communication.
6/9 – UPDATE: Check out AdAges’s “10 Questions with @BPGlobalPR” article here.