Consumer Behavior

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AMB200 Consumer Behaviour
Student name: Lukas Lichter (n7486103)
Tutor: Kate Little
Wordcount: 1754 words

Report about the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis on petrol consumption Company of investigation: British Petrol

I. Context and Problem/Opportunity

II. Literature Review

III. Theory/ Model / Framework

IV. Recommendations
IV.I. Promotion
IV.II. People
IV.III. Product

V. References

VI. Appendices

I. Context and Problem/Opportunity

In the following text I’m going to target the topic Influencing Oil and Petrol Consumption. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has a catastrophic long-term effect on the environment and especially the marine life. This is reflected in a shift in consumer behaviour. A growing number of people are refusing to purchase their petrol from BP stations. One reason for this development can be the changing attitudes towards the company. In order to increase the consumption rates marketers have to figure out how this accident infected consumers attitude, how this is expressed in the consumer behaviour and how to change these attitudes towards BP.

II. Literature Review

In 1984 James E.Grunig and Todd Hunt proposed several theories to crisis management of large companies. Two major parts are the apologia theory and the image restoration theory. The very basis of these theories is a proper response of the company towards the public (customer) and political audience (James Grunig as cited by Kathleen Fearn-Banks, 2007) Learning from the Valdez fiasco in 1989 authors like Steve Adubato (2008) stated that understanding the narrow window of opportunity to react is crucial for a successful crisis management. To show genuine concern for the situation it is important to send a high representative to the scene on short notice (Steve Adubato, 2008, p.24). Showing responsibility and direct reaction are also seen as most important in a crisis situation by authors like Steven Fink. “He was right to stay put but wrong to stay silent.”(Steven Fink, 1989). He also stresses the importance of statements by high ranged representatives of the company. All that is important to let the public know that he is in charge and that the company can control the crisis management process (Steven Fink, 1989). To be prepared for this situations properly companies should have a crisis management team (Harland Warner as cited by PR news, 1998). Regarding to the oil spill in Prudhoe Bay 2006 caused by BP experts like Elaine Cruikshanks (as cited by Sarah Murray, 2006) already showed concerns about the communication of BP in difficult situations. According to Kent Jarrell (as cited by Jason Notte, 2010) BP is now faced exactly with this problem of severe lacks of communication after the oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. Since BP is now in the focus of the media he points out that minor mistakes by publishing wrong information can be crucial for the reputation. The company should separate the people working on the crisis and those who are speaking about the next steps and the strategies. BP made some communication mistakes by manager, who made instant response from the site. Due to continuously upcoming litigations against BP the company will lose a lot of credibility on the long term (Kent Jarrell, as cited by Jason Notte, 2010). Like stated in the theory by James E.Grunig and Todd Hunt the other major group to address is the political audience. It is important to have the government supporting the company in every press conference (Kent Jarrell, as cited by Jason Notte, 2010). In this case the government of BP’s largest market stopped holding briefings and acts as an adverse party. President Obama treats the spill as a national emergency and comes down hard on BP (Fiona Harvey, 2010). Multinational companies, like BP now is, tend to lose the backup of their home country due to globalisation (Daniel Gross, 2010, para. 3). This weakens...
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