Citgo’s challenge to protect its brand against those who take strong exception to its ownership by Venezuela and that country’s leader Hugo Chavez got more severe with the announcement by 7-Eleven that they were dropping their affiliation with the oil company.
What I found interesting about this is the way 7-Eleven announced it. First, they seemed to go out of their way to distance this decision from anything having to do with Venezuela, Chavez or any political motivation. Then, they go on to say that they understand Americans’ concerns about Chavez. Here’s the Houston Chronicle report.
This is first class dissimulation. I wonder what kind of legal negotiations went on behind the scenes that could cause such kind of communication nonsense. Did Citgo threaten legal action if 7-eleven didn’t say they weren’t doing this because of Chavez? Clearly, it makes no sense and the problem is it violates the first rule of crisis communications: do not destroy your credibility. 7-Eleven by this statement said: do not believe what we are saying because we are contradicting ourselves.
Fortunately for 7-Eleven, actions speak louder than their words. And that is always the case. This analysis by Bulldog Reporter reveals what some of the thinking may be but also how their statement confounds the analysts.
Citgo has a really big and growing problem. An apology from Chavez about his smelling the devil might still save the situation, but, I haven’t seen any pigs flying lately. And now, anything that is done, even an apology, will only bring more attention to a rapidly deteriorating situation.