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The Crisis Intelligence Blog

Irving Oil’s Facebook Statement in a Crisis – What Do You Think?

03 Oct

If you’ve visited my blog a couple times, by now you know what to expect: some kind of lesson, advice, examples, etc on social media crises and online reputation management.

That said, I want to do something a little different today. I want to hear from you on the subject!

Last week I came across a Facebook statement issued by Irving Oil after they experienced a carbonate tank get over-pressurized while undergoing some maintenance work. As we’ve seen before, this type of situation can easily escalate and result in both an online and offline attack. However, Irving Oil was quick to release a statement and the situation was calmed immediately.

So, the “something a little different” that I want to do today is, instead of analyzing Irving Oil’s Facebook statement myself, I want you to do it! Take a look at both the statement they issued and the response they received from fans and local citizens and tell me, in the comments section below, what they did right, what they did wrong and/or could have done better, if you feel that they could have done so. I will, of course, review your thoughts and analysis and tomorrow I will post the results, plus an analysis of my own!

I’m looking forward to this exercise and hope you will partake!

Here’s Irving Oil’s message:

 Tell me what you think!

  • What did you think of Irving Oil’s response/message regarding the crisis?
  • What was the response from their fans?
  • What take-aways can you learn from this message and use in your own crisis communications?

Update: The results are in, here’s what you guys had to say about Irving Oil’s crisis statement.

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3 Responses to “Irving Oil’s Facebook Statement in a Crisis – What Do You Think?”

  1. Pam Walaski October 3, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Melissa – Some good and some not so…

    Yes –
    1. The first post was very well done – gave the critical details consisely, focused on employee well being first.
    2. Came back quickly (twice) and provided an update to the situation as well as addressing specific poster.

    No –
    1. The 2nd poster asked a very specific question which was not properly answered by the spokesperson posting for Irving Oil. Several posters who were supportive of the company had to clarifiy some technical information that Irving could have easily supplied. Hopefully they were right?
    2. The responses from Irving appear to have died after the first 3 posts. Not sure why, but they needed to be back in touch with answers and more updates. You can see the thread sprialling downward – Irving's repeated intejections with basic facts may have helped turn the thread the other way.

    My $0.02.

  2. Steve Gunn October 3, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Some good comments from Pam. In addition I think the style is too formal for Facebook. Looks like they've cut and pasted a press release.

    They could have added more on the employee – either at the time or later (e.g. glad to report he (or she) has been discharged with a clean bill of health and is back at work).

    Most neighbours won't be interested in "production impacts", but would be interested in knowing whether Irving will investigate why it happened and take measures to try to stop it happening again.

    The initial statement is focused on the "internal" impact and makes no mention of potential external impact (e.g. environmental impact, were any dangerous chemicals/gases released – probably obvious to anyone in the know, but, from my experience in the chemical industry, not to neighbours).


  3. Carlos Victor Costa October 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Hi, Melissa,

    I worked for many years in large industrial companies and in crisis communications, and first of all I think we should acknowledge that it is not an easy task to issue a statement like this, when you have a victim. So this is a good sign: to be quick and clear about the accident. In a word: proactive.

    On the other hand, these usually are very technical issues, so the company does not have all the answers at hand in the very first moments, and this is why is difficult to engage to a further level in the conversation.

    Another point that explains why the company´s replies “died” is that they do not know who is the person on the “other side of the line”, and some people use these opportunities to raise questions on all types of subjects, dragging the company to areas not directly related to the accident at hand.

    Without much more details and background informaton, I believe Irving was able to deal with the situation in social media adequately.

    Carlos Victor

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