No, It’s not what you think.
The accidental sending of a press release to Bloomberg News Tuesday, forced Dow Chemical to release it’s third quarter earnings Tuesday evening, rather on Thursday, as scheduled. ‘Inadvertent premature release’ is bad enough, but when that release is bad news? A mistake goes from bad to worse. The press release contained information that Dow Chemical was going to undergo ‘restructuring’ after the release of the third quarter earnings; also known as layoffs. Despite having surpassed sales expectations, Dow Chemical plans on cutting 2,400 jobs and shutting down 20 plants. This ‘restructuring’ is estimated to save the company $500 million dollars. This news, actually cause stock prices to jump.
The company’s response? To release the third quarter earnings early.
Dow used traditional newswire and it’s own website to release the earnings, rather than filing straight with the government, as search engine Google did last week, resulting in a PR nightmare.
Jeff Corbin, CEO of KCSA Strategic Communications attributes Dow Chemicals success to the adherence to the investor relations best practice.
What can we learn from both Google and Dow Chemical?
Referring back to our PR Toolkit, when dealing with PR issues, it is important to remember who you are trying to reach. Dow Chemical, despite having potentially damaging news leaked early, they chose to inform their audience (their investors) via newswire. Conversely, when Google’s potentially devastating news leaked early, their choice to not inform their investors, caused their stocks to drop, indicating that investors.
To Google, I would suggest that they re-evaluate their internal communications process. This incident indicates that they do not include their investors as a part of the company, and that they could benefit from a way to communicate with this audience. If they wish to continue filing earnings directly with the government, I would suggest that they strategize on a more effective Crisis communications plan, to help minimize the effect a situation like this has on the company in the future.