Comms is hitting its stride amid changing business environment

If you had to choose one story that defined 2010 it would be the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that resulted in the death of 11 workers and one of the biggest reputational and environmental disasters in living memory.

If you had to choose one story that defined 2010 it would be the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion that resulted in the death of 11 workers and one of the biggest reputational and environmental disasters in living memory.

Images of millions of gallons of crude oil polluting the Gulf of Mexico and shores of the southern states were shocking and catastrophic to oil giant BP's reputation, as well as the communities and industries affected.

The noise may have been turned down since the leaking well was sealed in September, but this is no time for complacency. As the one-year anniversary nears, we are set for a renewed avalanche of newspaper copy and broadcast hours on the topic. In advance of this, Chris Daniels analyzes the communications implications, lessons to be learned, and challenges for every group affected by the disaster, as well as key takeaways for crisis communicators.

Elsewhere, Jaimy Lee puts the healthcare and pharma sectors under the microscope, as companies address new directives that force them, among other things, to disclose payments to physicians. It has fundamentally changed communications strategies and opened up an industry not used to such transparency.

In technology, the issue is moving beyond product-driven communications toward long-term strategic activity. Jason Shuffler takes Silicon Valley's temperature as brands and agencies come to terms with this.

The common theme is a need to constantly adapt communications to changing business environments, something this month's Newsmaker - Sara Lee's SVP of global comms Jon Harris - has displayed in spades over the years.

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