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Don’t fall for your own story

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

People want to love their brands.

With polls reporting that consumers hated oil companies since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, British Petroleum decided to reverse that feeling. By 2000, the company had changed its name to BP and adopted the image of a helios along with the slogan, “Beyond Petroleum.”

Problem was, BP’s “green” brand not only masked a risky exploration strategy but blinded its own leaders to the dangers.

CEO Tony Hayward ignored plenty of red flags. By 2010, BP led the world in “ultradeep” offshore drilling while amassing the most safety violations; ExxonMobil drew only one while BP racked up 760.

Mesmerized by their saintly image, BP’s leaders brought on the 2010 Deep­water Horizon oil spill.

You can learn from BP’s disaster. Focus on the fundamentals of your operations and don’t fall for your own advertising.

— Adapted from “The Marketing Monster: When Executives Begin to Believe Their Own Hype,” Jonah Sachs, The Conference Board Review.

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