I read an article from the Atlanta Business Chronicle yesterday about local BP stations feeling the pinch of a consumer boycott. It got me thinking about just how important PR is in today’s world, and especially in a sticky situation like the one in which these gas station owners find themselves.
Personally, I can’t see myself pulling up to a BP pump for quite some time (if ever). It’s been 20 years since the Valdez mess and I still don’t gas up at Exxon unless I am truly desperate. But there is a valid argument to be made for choosing other ways to get the message across to BP. Here’s how one operator put it in that Atlanta Business Chronicle article:
“We know people are frustrated. We understand. But it’s the community and local owners that suffer from boycotts,” Scaramella said in a statement. “… We all want and need a voice; but a better way to get that voice heard by the right people is by writing directly to BP and by taking it to social networking channels.”
Pitch perfect — that statement says it all. I’m still not likely to fill my tank at a BP station today, but I bet there are some out there who will. It’s not hard to see how someone could read this and decide that boycotting the local BP station just adds one more name to the long list of those whose paychecks have been obliterated by this disaster. Small business owners who read this article may identify with the gas station franchisees and decide to support their fellow entrepreneurs. The rest of us may decide it’s worth stopping in to grab a cup of coffee at the local BP, even if we don’t buy a drop of gasoline.
Or you may not be convinced at all. After all, there’s a valid argument to be made for the boycott.
And that’s why PR is so important. Today it’s all about the free exchange of ideas and making your voice heard. A good PR campaign raises the volume on your side of the story, engaging people in new and creative ways that energize them and turn them into your advocates.
So what are you doing to make your voice heard?