Stena : Holding back

Lack of news needs some explaining.

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The feature

Stena, a Sweden-based ferries to environmental services conglomerate, has only one news release and no central press contact on its group website. The Stena group site has information about its major constituent companies and how they fit into what it calls The Stena Sphere. Links to their standalone websites are provided in a primary section labelled Companies. Press is another primary section, with a News area that lists “links to news releases concerning the Stena Sphere”. Its current content (on 10 March) is one link dated March 8, 2010 that relates to an investor announcement. The separate Press contacts sub-section has telephone and e-mail details for three group companies and advises visitors to “see the respective companies’ website or contact site” for more information and contacts. There is, however, no central (group) contact.

The takeaway

Stena’s group press service is something of an enigma and one that is likely to baffle any journalists coming to the site to research or catch up with the business. The offer of a lone press release in News is a shock, compounded by its having just celebrated its first birthday. There may be reasons for this – little press relations activity at group level, a decentralised system where the individual businesses do their own thing, site under redevelopment – but however the situation has been created it needs to be better handled so that journalists are guided past what appears to be a dead end. Options include a clear statement on the News page that more news can be found on the company sites, with easy access provided to them. Not all companies provide an online news service, so the list should be selective, as is Press contacts, and not just a reproduction of the full list of 11 in the Companies section. Website links could also be added to Press contacts (ideally to the relevant media section), to facilitate its advice (and so potentially reduce the volume of direct contacts to the companies’ press officers). A group contact would also be helpful. As it is, the current arrangement paints a poor first impression of communication in The Stena Sphere.
First published 15 August, 2013
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