Monday, December 10, 2007


Four Parts of PR Process

We, as studying public relation practitioners, know that in order to execute a successful plan, there are four parts of the public relation process that need to be completed. The first step is the research and with the Exxon case, research was definitely not a top priority. This type of event is not common, but there have been previous oil spills recorded in our history. As a member of the public relations team, I would have done research to see how other companies in the past have dealt with this matter. You may not be able to prevent problems from happening, but you can learn from past mistakes.

Any smart company needs back up plans, or in other words crisis communication plans. The planning part of the public relation process is very important, and Exxon made their second mistake by not having a crisis communication plan in tact. Exxon was not prepared for the oil spill of 1989, and this is the leading cause Exxon’s notorious reputation. If the public relations team was slightly prepared for an incident, such as the oil spill, they would have known how to conduct business the days following the spill. “The biggest mistake was that Exxon's chairman, Lawrence G. Rawl, sent a succession of lower-ranking executives to Alaska to deal with the spill instead of going there himself and taking control of the situation in a forceful, highly visible way. This gave the impression that the company regarded the pollution problem as not important enough to involve top management.” If I, as a practitioner, were involved in the research I would have voiced the importance of the CEO’s effort in the matter.

The third part of the public relations process is communication. This is probably one of the most important steps in the process, because this is the foundation of the definition of the public relations term. Exxon missed a great opportunity to maintain and even build many relationships by their lack of communication. “Top Exxon executives declined to comment for almost a week after the spill, increasing the impression of a company that was not responding vigorously.”ii Another way Exxon failed in the communication phase is by not accepting responsibility for the incident. “An advertisement that Exxon ran in newspapers around the country 10 days after the spill appeared too late, and although the company apologized for the spill, it did not accept responsibility.”ii Exxon also blamed the U.S. Coast Guard and Alaskan government officials for holding up the cleanup process. It is easier to forgive someone when they take responsibility for their actions, rather than pointing the finger at someone else.

During the evaluation phase we, as the public, can only hope they have learned from this event, and have implemented a crisis communication plan.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday, November 5, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Apple Apology

As many of us know, Apple has been under the lime light for the "unprofessional," decision they made involving the price reduction of the Apple iPhone. If I were a public relations practioner, or Steve Jobs, I would issue an apology. Here is what I would say:

"I am here today to apologize to our loyal Apple community. After the much publicized scandel of the Apple iPhone price reduction, it is my sincere apology I offer to those of you who have been affected. By offering the $100.00 rebate, we here at Apple, hope to reconcile any damage that may have been done to our relationship with each and everyone of you. Looking forward, we promise to learn from our mistakes and take you, our loyal customers, into a more positive consideration. Thank you for standing by us, through these difficult times."