One of the first rules of crisis management is to show you 'give a damn' and to show it early, widely and loudly.
Tony Hayward is perfectly entitled to take a break with his family during such a sustained period of pressure ('BP chief executive Tony Hayward makes "biggest mistake yet" in sailing gaffe', prweek.com/uk, 21 June).
But didn't he, or someone within BP's comms structure, think that being seen relaxing on a boat on clear blue water of all places might not send the right message?
- Genius might be required to restore confidence
With regard to BP's US presence, I'm not convinced the PR team could have pre-empted the personally motivated response that Barack Obama has made.
It doesn't take a genius to realise that BP is a global business - does PR really need to spell this out? It may, however, take a genius to win back US confidence.
- Arrogance ingrained in the executive ranks
The culture of arrogance appears endemic at the top of BP. Former boss John Browne lied to cover up his misjudgements, but Hayward is even more brazen in his actions.
He has probably deposed the late Ken Lay of Enron as the most despised CEO in corporate history.
- Initial PR strategy left BP with an impossible task
BP should have managed the media and the US public much better in the first few hours. By playing down how severe the leak was, and playing up how fast it would be contained, BP created an impossible media environment in which to operate.