Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The BP Oil Spill and public perception: Putting a value on the media disaster

'The Gulf of Mexico disaster' is only one of many emotive names given to the BP Oil Spill. This incident and the on-going media commentary on it have had a major impact on the principals - the Gulf Coast States, the Obama administration and most of all, BP itself - in profound and unanticipated ways.

According to sources, the eventual bill for this major mistake, including the clean-up, legal and liability payments, could go into the tens of billions. Furthermore, the damage to BP's reputation could be deep and long-lasting.
Fisheye Analytics calculated the negative impact on the public perception of BP by tracking all articles in mainstream news and social media starting on 20 May, the day after Lousiana governor Bobby Jindal announced that the oil had seeped inland. The reputation damage is worth at least US$73 million. In a joint study with RVInetworks and Yovia, Fisheye Analytics supplied the analysis and measurements to help concretize the media impact of this massive spill on BP's brand. The study shows how, with a new media listening and crisis management strategy, BP could have mitigated the deluge of angry, sensationalistic commentary and set up transparent, effective information-transfer channels between itself, the press and the public.

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