Every day there are ethical decisions that impact the hundreds or thousands of people who watch, read, listen, and/or click on a media source. The foundation for making the right decision starts with ethics classes in college. Students in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism will use this blog to reflect on ethical questions in the media today.
Monday, October 17, 2016
Credibility Is Everything
Bradford Veley newspaper cartoon
The Importance of Credibility
With a client's trust on the line, public relations firms are constantly struggling to maintain strong relationships with clients without sacrificing ethical standards to score another relationship over a competitor.
It can be a tricky business because you'll find in the PR landscape a variety of firms that are thriving based on credible business transactions, but you can also find firms thriving on outwitting others on a vicious race to the top built on lies, loopholes, and efficiency. And, although many would claim that fabricated success can't last forever, it'll still test your own standards.
Credibility is truly the most important skill a PR specialist can garner because without it, the client can withdraw and find someone else who they feel better suits them. Credibility is healthy for any relationship as it keeps exchanges open and transparent without any gimmicks.
With time at stake, PR firms today are held to insane scrutiny to not waste the client's time while having to deal with the pressure that the firm has a good reputation not only with the client, but the PR community at large. It only takes one mistake to ruin an entire brand.
Credibility also keeps a more sustainable edge as there are fewer risks involved because you are guaranteeing to your client an honest process. With a happy client, your credibility increases attracting more companies to join in on what other clients are raving about. And, as everyone knows, word of mouth can make or break any PR relationship.
Times Have Changed
Unfortunately, money has taken precedence in almost all PR relationships as businesses will only invest if it is benefitting them without breaking the bank.
It's also important to note that today's brands are battling a short attention span in relationships with both the client and the consumer. Many PR firms want new business and will constantly try to win over your clients to have them switch over. However, as long as your relationship is positive and healthy, there is nothing to worry about.
Having a strong voice will set your firm apart by proving that you have a purpose in everything you are producing for the client. As many articles warn, it's so easy to get caught up in the social media 'noise' that can easily invade and harm your relationship.
All of these aspects are part of the ongoing trend that credibility remains prominent in every action a PR specialist or team performs with their client.
You Can't Out-run Corporate Journalism
Sorry newsrooms, but the change that everyone refers to is here. For PR professionals, it's a booming industry while traditional news reporters and editing staffs are walking out the door jobless.
There is truly nothing we can do to stop it, as the PR side of journalism has taken full advantage of a changing digital landscape. But even with fear of a new way of manufacturing "storytelling," credibility should not be lost.
As we move forward in this new and odd industry landscape, I leave you with this quote:
"Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you're going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions." - Maria Razumich Zec