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Bob Lord is the global CEO of Razorfish, one of the world's largest interactive agencies. He has worked for the company since 2000, and has also served as COO and[…]

Following the gulf oil spill disaster, the best thing that BP can do is to clean up the mess as quickly as possible. “Their actions will allow them then to rise again and actually could put them in a better position,” says the Razorfish global CEO.

Question: Can brands that have lost the trust of the public rnever bounce back?

rnBob Lord: So the classic example of a brand that rndid very, very well was J&J back I believe in the '70s where there rnwas a Tylenol scare and they pulled lots of product off the shelf.  rnActions speak louder than anything that you can do or say in marketing. So when we talk about marketing, when we talk about actions—and BP is rnchallenged at this moment in time and probably will continue to be rnchallenged—but no amount of marketing, no amount of ads they have in rnthe New York Times or commercials that they put out there are really rngoing to help them until their actions are speaking louder than their rnwords and they stop the leak and then they do the cleanup and I think rnthen they would be able to revive themselves.  I believe when brands arern challenged they can’t talk about things.  They need to act very quicklyrn and their actions will allow them then to rise again and actually couldrn put them in a better position than they were sometimes before.  You canrn sometimes turn a lemon into lemonade in these situations. 
Should BP be focusing on marketing during the oil spill rndisaster?

rnBob Lord: Yeah, I think thing that the BP organization can do rnright now is really from a public relations standpoint is to inform the rnpublic about what they’re doing and how they're doing it and the actionsrn that they're going through, and the process they're going through to rnestablish and who they're bringing in to help them.  They shouldn’t try rnto handle this on their own right now.  They should get citizen rncommunities involved.  They should take recommendations from people rnabout what they should be doing or shouldn’t they be doing and they rnshould bring that into their plan to create that "we’re all in this rntogether to solve this awful disaster that is happening in the Gulf of rnMexico right now."  I think as the plan starts to execute, which it is rnand they’re starting to siphon off some oil now, and they start to make rnprogress, once it seems as though they have turned the corner I think rnthen they can open up the marketing speak again about how BP is helping rnto change the environment, et cetera, et cetera.

Recorded on June 16, 2010
rnInterviewed by Jessica Liebman