Oil barons attempt slick reputation management

Posted on April 26, 2013


The oil-rich state of Bayelsa in Nigeria has launched a reputation management campaign following rumours that the ruling governor’s administration had been deposed.

However, the campaign, which involves a series of large advertising hoardings has been criticised in some quarters.

Just say no

The adverts, placed on billboards throughout the state, urge people to “Say no to rumour mongers”.

The ad carries hotline details, asking people to call if they think they may have heard information which is false.

Talking about the campaign, Bayelsa spokesman Daniel Iworiso-Markson said:

“People take delight in peddling rumours – false information.”

It comes in response to an incident in March when, on a visit to the capital of Abuja, rumours began spreading that the state government had been dismissed, with the military taking control.

Iworiso-Markson continued to explain that officials felt it was one rumour too far.

Free speech

However, campaigners have cried foul, citing it is a limitation of their free speech. Such complaints were not entertained by Iworiso-Markson, who said it was more a question of “enlightening” the local population. A team of journalists and PR managers have been hired.

In much the same way, it is important that companies in the UK remain vigilant about spurious stories doing the rounds on social networks.

With people far more likely to take to the keyboards when having a bad experience than a good one, controlling the situation not only dampens negative effects, but can strengthen market position. It can also turn people; often making them the most loyal of customers.

Taking a leaf out of the Bayelsa book, and outsourcing to professional writers and trained journalists seems a very wise move indeed.

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