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Bp Analysis

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BP, one of the biggest energy companies in the world, had an oil rig explosion, causing the largest spill in the U.S. history. On April 20, 2010 the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig resulted in the deaths of 11 workers and the leakage of over four million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. To show that BP is a company that takes responsibility for its actions, BP created the Gulf of Mexico Restoration page to provide information about the situation. “Gulf of Mexico Restoration” website includes information needed to understand how the company compensates people and businesses for its failure. BP’s “Gulf of Mexico Restoration” website uses three strategies to try to repair its reputation: to show the public that BP is trying to help to develop a better community in the Gulf states, the company’s website uses a video clip that shows the company’s sponsorship of the Challenger Learning Center which helps educate local children; to show the public that BP is an ethical company and is ready to compensate the damages people and businesses suffered because of the oil spill, the website offers the affected individuals claim forms to report damages; to show the public that BP’s effort to restore the environment is successful, the website uses colorful photographs of people involved in the restoration processes.
To show that BP is trying to develop communities in the Gulf States, the company’s website uses a video clip that shows how BP is sponsoring the Challenger Learning Center, an attempt to bolster education in the Gulf Coast. Under the title “Community development in the Gulf states” there is a two minute and twenty second long video of Challenger Learning Center, its director, professors, and students. The video clip highlights how BP is giving a chance to low-income families to send their children to the Challenger Learning Center that specializes in science, mathematics, and technology. The director of the Challenger Learning Center, Michelle Personette, states that their partnership with BP “provided tuition scholarships to over 600 students along the counties and Florida Gulf Coast to come all the way to [the Challenger Learning Center in] Tallahassee.” She also states that because of BP’s generosity, the center was able to expand and provide education to more children who have a strong interest in science, mathematics, and technology. James Zula, a middle school teacher, says that this program gives opportunities to children to be the next person to discover a new element or to be one of the astronauts who have a chance to go to Mars. In its short video clip, BP included Challenger Learning Center’s happy students, who show excitement about the scientific experiments provided by the school teachers. The video also shows the excited students running into the school building, the students enjoying experiments in the labs, and the rooms with innovative technologies. To distract attention from bad events followed by the oil spill, BP tries to focus people’s attention on a positive. The positive clip shows the public that the company cares about the communities which were affected by the oil spill and helps those communities by investing in children’s education. In doing so, BP takes a step toward repairing its reputation.
To show that BP takes responsibility for its failure, BP’s website offers the claim forms for individuals and businesses to report any unpaid or partly paid claims. The claim forms, available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, consist of 17 pages with easy to follow instructions. The website also allows claimants, who prefer a hard copy of the document, to download and print the forms. Additionally, BP made the forms available in other languages. The web page has a line under the claim forms that says, “If you need information or a claim form in another language, please call 1-855-687-2631.” The text shows that BP wants to pay off all the damages people and businesses faced because of the company’s failure. BP uses this technique to repair its reputation and to demonstrate, that BP as committed to economic development and social responsibility. It wants to prove that the company is ethical, that it is responsible for its actions, and that it will compensate all the damages people run into because of the oil spill. Its reputation will again be bolstered by such action.
BP uses images of restoration workers on several pages, such as the Restoring the environment page, to demonstrate the success of the restoration efforts. Two pictures are presented under the “Restoring of the Environment” part of the website that show BP is taking steps toward restoring the Gulf of Mexico. The first picture shows two BP employees taking “sediment samples for the Environmental Protection Agency in the Gulf of Mexico.” One employees is holding two jars with samples, while another one is holding a notebook with collected data. Another picture of the restoration process shows how employees in t-shirts with a “Sea Turtle” sign are working on detecting sea turtles nests to prevent additional damages to these creatures. The picture shows some people digging the sand, some documenting the process, and some recoding the videos of the restoration project. Both pictures have lines underneath the pictures that say that BP is not only trying to restore the environment, but it also trying to prevent or reduce future losses. To show that damage was not significant, both pictures show a clear blue sky and clean sand on the beach. To restore its reputation, BP’s bright photos highlight the efforts taken by employees to restore the environment.
BP’s “Gulf of Mexico” website highlights the steps taken by the company to restore its reputation. The video that shows smiling children, thankful to the BP director, and excited teachers of Challenge Learning Center creates a positive attitude towards BP’s sponsorship program. The claim forms available on the website in three languages show that BP is trying to compensate people and businesses for difficulties experienced due to the spill. The bright pictures of enthusiastic employees working on the beach show that BP’s restoration process is successful and that the company is working on preventing future danger to the environment. The photos, videos, descriptions of the projects, and other methods used by BP’s website to restore the company’s reputation gives an overall positive picture about the company. The positive image created, justifies the effectiveness of the website. Upon viewing the website, visitors are presented with many positive aspects of the BP’s operation. These aspects ultimately distract attention from the spill.

Sources: * Coombs, T. (2007, October 30). Crisis Management and Communication. * BP oil spill investigators place much of blame on Transocean. (2010, September 8). The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com * BP. (2013). Gulf of Mexico restoration. Retrieved from http://www.bp.com * Deepwater Horizon and the Gulf Oil Spill- the key questions answered. (2011, April 20). The Gurdian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com * Timeline: BP oil spill (2010, September 19). BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk

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