It's all in the word — public relations
As a PR pro, you are constantly
in the public eye, representing your brand with the relationships you build
and the authority
that your brand creates through campaigns and media presence.But
what happens when your need for brand success gets a bit
out of hand and you turn a blind eye to certain values
that should actually
Being in the PR industry makes you a powerful person — and the minute that you realise how much influence you have, you decide if you will use it for the better or for the worse.
, what on earth can make a PR pro go rogue
? Well, look in the mirror and be honest — have you ever:
- suppressed news that was not favourable to your brand?
- said that you will promote or donate to a cause but your involvement is actually to your own benefit?
- made promises that you cannot keep?
- manipulated the truth and caused a polarised viewpoint?
- negatively influence children through targeted marketing?
, these are big offences
that have ongoing implications. This is why you need to be aware of why
ethics matter. If you stay oblivious to your role in society and the power that you have, you may be the cause of lasting effects that are not so beneficial to companies or individuals. And you don't want to be that person!
So PR pro, media update's
Jana van der Westhuizen is here to help you get a clear image of how your reputation really
looks and why you should care about being ethical in your daily duties.PR pros, here are a few reasons why you need to stay ethical:
Creating polarised viewpoints is a big no
Within the public relations industry, there are many brands, people and (of course) opinions.
As a normal human being, it can be very difficult to stay objective in a subjective society
, if you bring your personal viewpoint to a certain matter, you may cause your audience to see a campaign in a different light
When your brand repeatedly
shows your consumer only one side of a story, or you focus too much on a specific topic or person, your audience will not be aware of the full spectrum and will believe what you tell them
Let's take the age-old
example of a political election. When you are promoting a certain person, you will target your audience by only saying and showing them the good stuff
about that individual — or in some cases even bashing
the opponent. Zero transparency there!
Now, this creates a serious polarised view
as you withhold your consumers from deciding what they want for themselves by not providing them with both sides of the argument.
So take feelings
out of the matter and be transparent
in all your communications.
Don't fabricate a false sense of hope
, the public relations industry can be a dog-eat, dog world
. You need to sell your brand
at all costs and make your client seem as if they are the best thing since sliced bread.
But what if your effort goes overboard and you make a promise you cannot actually
keep? All of your efforts are to only get consumer engagement
for a campaign and, after your goals are reached, you say bye Felicia
to your loyal audience
. Not cool
When you lure your consumers in by, for example, asking them to take part in a campaign where they can win money or a vacation
, you have to act on your word and have prizes ready for a handout. You cannot just gather their information and not deliver on your end.
When your campaign has numerous
people competing, you can easily get away with announcing a random
winner — but this is not
ethical. You create a false sense of hope
and you do not keep to your word, which will garner your brand a negative reputation.
Don't just work for the likes and engagement — do
what you say
Brand bashing is not okay
This might be the worst
villain of them all.
Let's get one thing straight … Just because your competitor’s brand is performing better than yours doesn't mean you need to bring them down. Rather, just be better!
We have all seen adverts or speeches where brands try to target one another to poach their
audience by telling them that their offering is so much better.
As a PR guru, it is your job to keep tabs on your competitors
to learn from them
and to see where you can improve
. To change your brand strategy is fine
, but maliciously trying to target a brand is not cool
- give other brands bad ratings, or ask your employees or audience to do so
- steal your competitor's campaign ideas, or bash their offering with innuendos
- head-hunt their key employees, and
- cultivate a workplace where employees can bash other brands.
Rather work hard
on your own strategy and excel
Keep your financial security intact
, basically you can lose your job if you are not ethical.
If your audience notices that your brand is not ethical, they will
walk away. We live in an era where people are sick and tired
of the abuse
and being lied to
Our society wants your honesty
to form consumer loyalty
If you are not honest
you stand a chance to lose your trusted consumers and your revenue will decrease leaving you in a financial crisis
So, it is plain and simple
: If you want the moola,
then don't mess around with ethics
— the truth always
comes to light!PR pro, how do you ensure that your brand image is portrayed in an ethical light? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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*Image courtesy of Canva