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Haliburton

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Halliburton Regardless of the industry, companies invest heavily to create a picture perfect image that shows ideals, goals, and the best intentions for their target audience. Public relations (PR) have become a powerful tool that helps organizations distribute their message to the masses. Halliburton, a company dedicated to providing services to the energy industry, is one of the many companies that use PR to connect with their target audience. Although a great deal of creativity, effort, and other resources go into a website, the synergy it creates with other events, and its intent, the outcome of the message is not always the desired one. When disasters strike and the media magnify them, it takes a great deal of PR to restore a company’s image. This document will review Halliburton’s existing public relations strategies. It will also review alternative campaigns that will help them maneuver corporate citizenship and crisis management.
Current PR Issues After carefully analyzing Halliburton’s website, its services, achievements, and plans, there is no doubt the company fiercely strives for high standards and settles for nothing but success. The company’s target audience is any organization in the services industry that requires drilling on the ground or underwater, and such. Recent press releases also show the company’s effort in creating jobs and thus promote their goodwill intentions. An interesting segment of Halliburton’s website segments ambitious plans to expand services labeled as challenges. Although the company’s target audience is not the typical Internet surfer, public opinion is as important as what market Halliburton’s campaign wants to impact. Amidst oil spills and its byproducts, unwelcome oil drillings, and other environmental issues, the company must prepare to answer questions potential negative impacts of its services, alliances with hostile countries, and other negative media that surrounds them.
Target Audience of Halliburton’s PR Campaign:
Public relations shape the news people hear on the television and the information people read in the newspapers. Public relations influence the values of society and the perception of communities. Businesses are often involved in information spins, cover-ups, and subterfuge. The society demands ethics, truth, and credibility from companies and unfortunately, the PR departments often fail to meet the standards. Halliburton is one of these companies.
Halliburton is a United States-based company and it answers to SEC. The company’s main audience is its shareholders, stockholders, potential investors, energy companies, and government organizations.
According to Halliburton (2010), the company has “provided an image of a company that does no harm to the environment provides demonstrable social and economic benefits through sustainable relationships, sustainable technology and sustainable sourcing" (par. 3).
Ethical Implications Related To The PR Issues:
According to Leopold (2006), Halliburton, once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, “has been working secretly with one of Iran's top nuclear scientists on natural gas related projects and, allegedly, selling the scientists' oil company key components for a nuclear reactor” (p. 1)
Looking back at the 2006 events it is clear that the PR department handled the events very poorly. The New York Times reported that when they contacted the company, their response was “no comment” (Leopold, 2006). The inability to provide the appropriate and timely response to the government and the media cost the company a lucrative contract with the United States Army according to Multinational Monitor (2006), “The United States Army has sacked Halliburton” (pg. 1). The company was not only involved with an international incident but it was also defrauding the United States Army as well.
Halliburton’s questionable involvement with terrorists-sponsoring countries posed more than a few ethical questions: it asked for a change in the way the profiteering company operated and demanded justice. Despite the company’s involvement in several scandals, Halliburton’s’ PR department entered a crisis management mode as last resort. Through denials, cover-ups, and policy changes, the PR department salvaged the image of the company.
An Effective Market Research Plan
To develop an effective market research plan for Halliburton, there must first be an understanding of the products and services that they provide, who their customers are, and what their competition is doing. Halliburton’s primary focus is serving the oil and gas industry with equipment to perform their operations, and the services they need to be successful. Halliburton has a limited customer base. Thus, their market research plan should target the satisfaction with what Halliburton is selling and what external and internal factors affect their customer’s decision to choose Halliburton.
An ideal marketing campaign for Halliburton should go hand-in-hand with their public relations campaign. It should also dampen the amount of negative press shown toward recent environmental disasters associated with oil spills such as British Petroleum’s (BP) oilrig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. We can expect any marketing surveys that they provide to customers to cite this external factor as one of their major concerns.

PR Campaign’s Effect On Marketing Function Halliburton’s public relations campaign must focus on reputation, safety of products and services, regard for the well-being of the environment, and the commitment to the development of clean energy resources to be used in the future.
The Halliburton website (2010) provides a vast amount of public relations information that targets these specific areas; most noticeably the sustainability, safety, and quality of their products and services, and a section devoted to community relations. A notable quote from the sustainability section of their website says their vision is, “To be welcomed as a good corporate neighbor in our communities; to do no harm to the environment; to provide social and economic benefits through sustainable relationships; and to validate our progress through transparency and reporting.”
Halliburton (2010) targets community relations via corporate contributions, employee volunteerism in the communities it operates in, and a foundation that provides benefits to the families of its employees. Similarities And Differences Between Proactive And Reactive PR
According to Thomas Roach from Rock Products, he states, “most companies practice reactive public relations and take their publics for granted. When a problem arises, a company can claim there is a misinterpretation and that they have everyone's best interest in mind but are shocked when they find out they’ve lost credibility. Whereas, he defines proactive public relations as being involved with company publics and looking for opportunities to demonstrate good will” (Roach, 2005)
During the past several years, Halliburton has been in the spotlight under investigation for bribery, bid rigging, defrauding the military, illegally profiting in Iran, serving contaminated food and water, and rape accusations. These serious allegations have all had a detrimental impact on the way Halliburton will conduct business. According to PR Newswire, "Historically, their segment of the oil field service industry has been reactive, rather than proactive…” (PRNA, 2010)
Halliburton CEO's "plan b" or contingency plan of relocating their corporate headquarters. By moving its corporate headquarters from the United States to Dubai, UAE, Halliburton can evade federal investigators from pursuing the long list of charges in which to hold them accountable. According to Charlie Cray, co-director of Halliburton Watch and the director of the Center for Corporate Policy, "Given the multiple ongoing investigations into Halliburton's alleged wrongdoing, policymakers should closely scrutinize Halliburton's latest move, and whether it will allow the company to further elude accountability. Moreover, this underscores the need for Congress to bar companies that have broken the law, or avoided paying taxes, from receiving federal contracts." (HalliburtonWatch.org, 2010).
Four former Halliburton employees also told legal investigators that the company did not keep honest records of their sales and costs from 1998 to 2001. They said the company claimed to collect more money than they received. The former employees also said that workers were expected to alter records to make the company appear more profitable. The charges cover two years when Vice President Dick Cheney was its chief executive officer (HalliburtonWatch.org, 2010). Although Vice President Cheney has denied repeatedly ever knowing of such dishonest practices, it is hard to understand that a corporation could constantly run daily illicit operations without a CEO's knowledge.
Another threat haunting Halliburton today is bad publicity over some overcharges and its dealings with terrorist countries. In December of 2003, the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) confirmed in a preliminary audit that Halliburton and Altamnia (a firm from Kuwait) had overcharged the U.S. government by at least $61 million dollars. There was also much suspicion concerning the contract given to them to transport oil into Iraq with no prior experience in transporting fuel (Halliburton, 2010).
In 2005, the company announced that after completion of its contracts in Iran, there would be no new projects started with them after political tensions with Iran’s nuclear programs. Many people believe that the company’s ties to political establishment could pose problems for Halliburton both in the United States and around the world. Anti-American sentiment is growing every day due to the homeland security crisis and fears over a terrorist attack. The armed conflict in the Middle East will also have an unpredictable impact on company’s operations throughout region and worldwide (Halliburton, 2010).
Conclusion
Charity contributions, energy conservation awards, community involvement among other good deeds can be shadowed by a company’s criminal actions toward humanity or the environment. Companies, regardless of their line of business, depend on effective PR campaigns and strategies that help them create and stabilize a positive image for the public opinion. Halliburton, a company dedicated to the energy services industry, relies on massive PR campaigns to divulge efforts of goodwill, environmental concern, and corporate responsibility. Despite all efforts, arguments of illicit accounting and other questionable operations threaten their intent promote a healthy image. By having effective and proactive PR campaigns, companies like Halliburton can prepare for imminent adverse propaganda and its consequences.

References
Halliburton. (2010). Corporate Profile. Retrieved from http://www.halliburton.com/AboutUs/default.aspx?pageid=2458&navid=966

Halliburton. (2010). Halliburton: About Us. Retrieved August 29,
2010, from http://www.halliburton.com/AboutUs/default.aspx?navid=907&pageid=2560

Halliburton (2010). Press Releases . Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.halliburton.com/news/default.aspx?navid=843&pageid=2070.

Halliburtonwatch.org (2010). Public Relations.Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.halliburtonwatch.org/home.html.

Lazare, S. (2006). Halliburton Fired. Multinational Monitor, 28(4), 4. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database.
Leopold, J. (2006). Halliburton, Iran, and nukes. Earth Island Journal, 20(4), 43. Retrieved from MasterFILE Premier database. PR Newswire Association LLC (2010). Boots & Coots International Well Control: Text of Chairman's Remarks to Annual Meeting of Stockholders. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/boots--coots-international-well-control-text-of-chairmans-remarks-to-annual-meeting-of-stockholders-77840847.html.

Roach, T.J., (2005). Penton Media Inc.:Proactive Puclic Relations. Retrieved August 30, 2010 from http://rockproducts.com/mag/rock_proactive_public_relations/.
Seitel F.P., (2007), The Practice of Public Relations 10th ed., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.…...

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