(Photo: Brigitte Hiss/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
After the documentary Black Fish aired back in 2013, SeaWorld has been under heavy fire with questions and skepticism of the conditions the Killer Whales endure in captivity. Animal activist groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) were relentless issuing over 100 press releases following the years after the documentary exposed the treatment of the whales, which, resulted in terrible press for the corporation and public outcry against the park.
As SeaWorld aimed to recover from the controversy, it made huge leaps to fix its problems and mistakes. They have implemented new programs such as ending its killer whale breeding program, new enclosures that are more “natural,” a new partnership to protect oceans and marine mammals, and its “You Ask. We Answer.” website. Let’s look more at SeaWorld’s “You Ask. We Answer.” website; it wanted to be completely transparent with the public and answer any and all questions people had via the @SeaWorld handle on Twitter . This transparency has seemed to work really well for SeaWorld and has allowed their experts to really share their knowledge and expertise of the staff they have and the impact of the sea animals they care for. SeaWorld has also started to turn its shows and exhibits from pure entertainment purposes into more educational shows highlighting the amazing things marine animals excel at and what it is like for them in the wild.
I think SeaWorld is on a great path to recovering from 2013 and it has really built a strong CSR for itself. Nothing gains respect for an organization like being truly honest and open with its audience about both good and bad topics surrounding it. It also allows SeaWorld to build a brand voice, which, I thought was very cohesive and consistent when answering to its public. Making the choice to partner up with other conservation organizations shows SeaWorld is making an effort to relay to its audience it really wants to help the problem of mistreatment and bad practices going forward and not BE the problem anymore. Adding onto that, as you open up the home page on SeaWorld’s website, one of the first things you see is titled “Our Commitment.” The organization clearly wants to make it apparent that it is on track to helping the problem it once was a big part of.