Media Insights and Crisis Expertise » Protests http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis Your destination for best practice issues and crisis management, current issues, media training, presentation skills, consumer advocacy and strategic issues management Wed, 26 Oct 2011 16:40:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/04/15/451/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/2011/04/15/451/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 17:16:33 +0000 Peter Roberts http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/mediaandcrisis/?p=451 BP held their annual general meeting yesterday. It was their first since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico. The one image that dominated the coverage was that of a syrup smeared Diane Wilson. She’s a protestor and the syrup looks convincingly like crude oil. Wilson was one of many protestors locked out of the meeting at London’s Excel Centre, and subsequently proved to be the focus of much of the media’s interest.

BP did what any responsible business would be expected to do when it comes to protestors – keep them out. As a BP spokesman put it, “We have a responsibility to run an orderly meeting that allows our shareholders to vote on resolutions and engage with the board.” Quite so; BP is a big commercial enterprise and its priorities, it would appear, are with its key stakeholders. Well, that’s the way it reads. However, what price to the company of letting the same protestors into the meeting – a bridge too far? Probably for attending shareholders, but how about its own brand values – possibly? Yes, there will be heckling; maybe some commotion, but in its efforts to address its current corporate reputation such a move could be extremely productive; presenting a business that’s inclusive, accountable and understanding of broader concerns. It’s with such boldness that public perception will, albeit slowly, begin to change and it’s with such boldness that leads the ‘man in the street’ to start thinking that enough’s enough with these protests, let’s move on, instead of what many are probably now thinking which is these people have been hard done by.

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