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Trust Sinks as BP Spins

As BP continues to struggle to stop the flow of oil gushing into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, its corporate brand image is sinking as rapidly as the destroyed Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that started this catastrophe.

The once ingenious branding campaign of Beyond Petroleum has disintegrated into “Beyond Belief” as the company continues to try to spin its message of “it’s not all our fault.”

From Day One BP’s strategy has appeared to focus more on preventing legal and financial responsibility for this ecological and human tragedy than on controlling the real damage being done to the environment and the many industries and businesses being impacted.

Watching a BP senior executive point the finger at the company’s subcontractors during a U.S. Congressional hearing did nothing to enhance trust in the BP brand (or its leadership). Neither did early reports that soon after this disaster BP was offering US$5000 payments to residents affected by the oil spill if they waived their rights to sue for any damages.

Here’s a company with record profits that seems unwilling to assume responsibility and throw all available resources into stopping the oil flow and cleaning up the damage done. Someone needs to tell BP how Johnson & Johnson reacted years ago when some idiot was putting cyanide into Tylenol tablets.

As Ian Berry points out in his So What’s Next? blog: “BP’s story now looks like spin and their reputation is in tatters.”

Interestingly, that same “it’s not our fault, the employees did something wrong” was given by the BP CEO after their refinery near Houston exploded in 2005 and killed 15 workers.

BP’s initial estimates of just 5000 barrels per day of leakage looks like a giant company spin statement now that more reliable sources are estimating the problem to be in the 90,000 to 120,000 barrels of oil per day range. This gap in the official BP line and what others are estimating is simply Beyond Belief.

A brand is a trust mark.

Is there any trust left in the BP brand?

I find it Beyond Belief to believe so.

Logitech Needs to Think Green

I bought a new Logitech USB “ClearChat” headphones with microphone yesterday.

Unbelieveably, this simple product came with a 100-page instruction manual. Talk about a total waste of paper.

Actually, it’s really a six-page warning, warranty and instruction manual that has been translated from English into 15 other languages.

How much smarter, and cost effective, would it have been for Logitech to place a small card in the package with a web site URL that could present this same information in all 16 languages?

Think of the trees this would have saved. Think of the reduced impact on carbon emissions from reduced shipping weight and hence reduced petroleum requirements to ship hundreds of thousands of headsets around the world. Think of the paper, ink and other costs involved in printing a 100-page booklet that the average person will spend less than three minutes with before chucking into the bin (hopefully a recycle bin!).

In other words, Think Logitech. Think Green. Think about the impact you are having on the world.

Otherwise, consumers like me are going to start thinking about your competitors next time we are in search of a product you make.

Marketing Wisdom 2007

The Marketing Wisdom 2007 report, compiled by Marketing Sherpa, is now available as a free PDF download.

I find this annual compilation of stories and tips to be a valuable read, and I often refer back to the four previous editions when looking for inspiration or a thought starter.

A hefty 60-pages, with 110 tips from marketers and agencies, it is well worth downloading. The tips are divided into sections on Email Marketing, Blogs and Podcasts, General Marketing & Advertising, Search Marketing, Social Networks, Web Sites, and B2B Marketing.

The free download is available at http://wisdom.marketingsherpa.com/wisdom.html. You can also download the 2003-2006 editions as well.

After you’ve read through it, come back here and share your comments and thoughts. We can start a dialogue on which stories and ideas are most applicable in Asia/Pacific.

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