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February 5, 2010
BP's Model Spokesperson (Ford Has One Too)

You're reading about qualities that make for a great corporate spokesperson and a few clicks further on you encounter a great real-life corporate spokesperson. Such are the satisfactions of Internet browsing these days.

Ashley Wirthlin on Public Relations Blogger says traits of great communicators include being passionate and enthusiastic about their organizations' work, being likable and comfortable, and valuing the media and the role they play. Along comes Tony Hayward. CEO of British Petroleum, with a broad boyish smile readily answering probing questions on BP's outlook for The Guardian

The Hayward interview is a model of corporate responsiveness. As Terry Macallister, the reporter involved notes, Harward could have been in a "tetchy mood" after a difficult 2009 for BP but has none of it. He bounces right along with responsible answers to touchy questions, just what a spokesperson needs to be willing to do. 

Hayward definitely seems a model of corporate responsiveness. Add him to a spokesperson's A-list.

To make this international, we'll include Alan Mulally, CEO, of Ford Motor Co., who stopped off at a Ford dealership in LeMoyne, Pa., enroute to speaking at a charity event in nearby Hershey. He closed a deal ona new Ford Fusion with James Phillips, of Harrisburg, who said he was "just kind of flabbergasted" to have Mulally spend the time with him. 

"The guy (Mulally) is so incredibly normal," said Homer Hetrick, president of the Ford dealership. "Anybody who asked him, he signed an autograph." Mulally isn't such a bad financial manager, either. Ford didn't need any federal bailout money, unlike GM and Chrysler. 


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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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