A company’s public image is its most invaluable and fragile asset. In 1989 Exxon Corporation experienced a devastating oil spill that polluted the ocean, damaging the company’s public image. Unfortunately, Exxon did not have a plan for such emergencies and was forced to make ill-advised decisions. There was a lack of uniformity between the board member and their employees, which was a reflection of poor management decisions.
Crisis communications is indispensable to any successful business. Having crisis plans lessens the severity of the situation and shows unity as corporation. Crisis communications is less about defending against hostile media as it is about assuring the victims of tragic situation.
Answers for the Discussion Questions 1. There were many ways Exxon mishandle the communication process during the Valdez crisis. The biggest mistake was when Exxon chair Lawrence Rawl decline to comment for almost nearly a week and let his staff deal with the media. That presented a bad image towards Exxon because it gave a negative public impression towards Exxon. Many people thought that Exxon didn’t take the pollution problem which occurred due to the mishap seriously. The public statements by Exxon contradicted information form other media. The Advertisement that Exxon run after ten days after the crisis appeared to be late. It also hurt Exxon image and showed Exxonwas back tracking his early mishandling of the situation.
2. Exxon chair Lawrence Rawl declined to comment for almost a week after the spill show that the channel breakdowns. There was also a systemic and attitudinal barrier to communications in this case. Exxon chair Lawrence Rawl defending their handling of the crisis, the contradiction report and the overlook of the situation are some of the response that created a negative image to Exxon.
3. Some of the unintended messages Exxon send as a result of how it handled the Valdez crisis were an impression of Exxon that wasn’t responding to the crisis effectively and efficiently. Exxon chair Lawrence Rawl could use the window of opportunity and could went to the scene in the first few hours after the crisis and show the public how greatly concern Exxon was at the crisis.