Tag Archives: PRSA

Good PR is Good PR. Period.

If you had asked me three years ago what type of work I was in, I would have told you something along the lines of, “Oh, I work in social media PR,” or, “I’m in digital PR.” Like many others, I, too, was caught up in the catchphrases of the day to describe a new line of thinking for our profession.

But I’m starting to shift my thinking back to a simpler, more clear thought on the profession: Good PR is good PR. No matter how you slice it or dice it.

I was reminded of this the other day while reading yet another “This is how we can save PR”-type blog post. You know the type –10 tips for saving the profession, or five ways that social media is transforming PR. Continue reading

The Impending Data Deluge

(CC) Courtesy akash_k

I recently returned from the PRSA International Conference in Washington, D.C. (full disclosure: I am employed by PRSA), where much of the focus was on social media and enhancing the strategic value of public relations. What struck me most about the sessions was how few of them were geared toward the once-hot topics of “Social Media is Great!,” or “This Social Media Thing is A Fad.” Instead, a majority focused on a similar theme: “Social media has revitalized the PR profession . . . now what do we do with all of this data?!

That strikes at the heart of the next great movement for public relations. The need to understand, analyze and utilize the vast array of data, sentiment analysis and other metrics gathered from social media. Continue reading

Ethical vs. Unethical: A Lot Rides on Only 2 Letters

Neon toys signMere weeks after the PR world was shocked with news of unethical product review practices of client-developed iPhone apps by Reverb Communications, the profession is again faced with revelations of supposedly unethical practices, this time stemming from the undisclosed use of paid spokespeople by the toy industry as supposedly third-part, objective experts on local TV newscasts throughout the country, as Los Angeles Times media columnist Jim Rainey chronicled last week.

This glaring example of ethical misgivings from the toy industry brings clear an ugly truth in the new world of public relations: what is often best for the client is increasingly winning out over what is most ethical and best for consumers.

And that’s bad news for anyone serious about seeing the profession evolve and thrive. Continue reading

The C-level/Value Debate

Front view portrait of a businessman and a side view of a businesswoman whisperingIt’s one of the most defining questions facing the PR profession: How do we ensure our voice, our insight, our expertise, is given its proper place among C-levels in our company/organization? In some cases, this very question can define a professional’s entire experience with a company.

So big, in fact, is this question that the PR profession has been debating the topic for years. A recent interview series on public relations ethics from PRSA’s Public Relations Tactics magazine shed some light on how some industry thought-leaders view the balance professionals face between being an internal adviser/counselor and an external communicator. One point, in particular, I was motivated by came from Keith Mabee, APR, vice chairman of Dix & Eaton:

We have to be organizational boundary riders with one foot in the inner sanctum of the C-suite and the boardroom and the other foot out there in our constituency environment. A lot of it has to do with having the courage of your convictions, adept interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate your breadth and knowledge of the business and the industry you’re operating in. Continue reading

PRSA: Unethical Product Reviews Have No Place in PR

Judge Striking the GavelLast Thursday (Aug. 26), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Reverb Communications had settled charges alleging that the public relations firm had engaged in deceptive advertising practices by having its employees write and post positive reviews of clients’ games in the Apple iTunes Store, without disclosing that they had been compensated to do so.

The settlement brings to a close the Commission’s first case under its revised “Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” which took effect Dec. 1, 2009.

Those guidelines state, in part, that advertisers (in this case Reverb) are subject to liability for failing to disclose material connections between themselves and their endorsers. In a section entitled, “Disclosure of Material Connections,” the guidelines state that: Continue reading

In Full Public Disclosure, HP Recognizes Value of Reputation, Good PR

Gary McCormickOn Aug. 6, HP announced that its Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President Mark Hurd was resigning from the company. The announcement followed an investigation conducted by HP’s internal and external legal counsel into a sexual harassment claim lodged against Hurd and HP by a former HP contractor.

While the investigation determined that Hurd did not violate HP’s sexual harassment policy, it nevertheless uncovered a related offense, which ultimately prompted his dismissal. Hurd, according to HP, breached the company’s Standards of Business Conduct by making inappropriate payments to the contractor and charging personal expenses to his corporate expense account. Continue reading

A Chat with PRSA’s Arthur Yann, APR – Part 2

USA, California, Los AngelesRecently, we featured part one of our two-part interview with Arthur Yann, APR, vice president of public relations for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). This week, we wrap up the interview with Arthur’s thoughts on why PR has gotten a bit of a bad reputation in recent years, the Society’s Business Case for Public Relations initiative and other topics.

Keith Trivitt: We addressed one of my biggest beefs with the PR business, the bashing the industry often takes from outsiders, in a recent PRBreakfastClub post. You weighed in with some great insight in the comments. Can you give us a bit more color into that? What’s PRSA’s stance on why PR has gotten a bit of a bad reputation in recent years, and how can the organization help professionals overcome this?

Arthur Yann: I can think of several reasons why the industry does not enjoy the reputation it deserves.

It starts with Continue reading

Defending the PR Profession: A Call to Action From the Collective Industry

Businessmen talking and gesturingThe primary purpose of public relations is to uphold and enhance the reputation, exposure and brand affinity of companies and organizations. However, as a whole, our industry does a poor job of building its own credibility, positive exposure and brand affinity among its main constituents—businesses and entrepreneurs.

It’s time we change that, and insist our industry’s representatives and trade associations defend our long-standing reputations and work to rebuild trust among many industries for the value of our work.

Recent indictments against the value of public relations, from Michael Arrington’s numerous rants against PR and some non-creative publicists, to Brant Cooper’s baseless attack against the industry in a recent Business Insider column, have shown that despite our tremendous abilities to build brands and create positive exposure for our clients and employers, the PR industry is failing—quite badly—to uphold its own reputation. The profession has seen its reputation diminished with minimal, if any, effort as a collective group to improve others’ views of our work.

The public relations industry needs to follow the advice it gives to clients every day—do everything you can to proactively build your brand and corporate reputation, and protect your brand when it is being attacked.

We must keep in mind—and simultaneously educate those outside the profession—that public relations is more important to a free society than we get credit for. For without public relations, many small companies and start-ups would toil endlessly to receive the same public exposure and advocacy as larger competitors do, at the most dollar-effective rate versus advertising and marketing.

We are laying out a call to action for the organizations and associations within the industry that have the ability, resources and most importantly, the power, to proactively defend the profession’s reputation and educate all business sectors about the many benefits effective and responsible public relations can offer.

Our industry can no longer sit idly by while these baseless attacks carry on, aiming to degrade the solid work that the PR and communications industry produces year-in and year-out. Our counsel and strategic work has deep and long-term value (as do our media relations and publicity tactics) beyond the figure at the bottom of a bill. It is time we take a stand, communicate to our key audiences, clearly define to all parties our true value and stand up for ourselves, our colleagues and our profession. Enough is enough.

The onus to right this ship—to proactively take a stand against these baseless attacks and rants and present factual data, case studies, analytics and anecdotes of success for businesses that have used PR—falls squarely on all of us as individuals and as a collective group. This collective movement will pressure industry associations to finally, after many years of posturing with little to nothing to show for it, stand up, take a stance, defend our industry, proactively highlight the many positives this industry produces and defend all of our reputations.

The time to fight to keep our professional reputations intact and in good standing is now. This is not a task for one person, one well-placed blog post or a single campaign. It will only be effective as a proactive collective effort, delivered from the industry, over time, as a whole, representing the true voice, passion and expertise of all.

We start now. We are proposing a new manifesto detailing how our industry should be represented to the public. Upon completion, it will be delivered to the industry’s main lobbying and education association, PRSA, on behalf of the industry. It’s incumbent upon all of us to be involved in this process.

To ensure your voice is heard in this manifesto, which we plan to present to industry representatives within the next month, send us a quick e-mail at pr@cogcomm.com. We’ll get you connected with a Google doc we are developing. If you contribute, your name will be included as a signatory of the manifesto, and you will be helping to shape the future and positive reputation of a profession we all love (and love to hate sometimes).

Furthermore, we propose developing a very simple industry-wide voluntary seal of approval (early working title: Public Relations Ethical Standards of Practice, or PRESP) to be devised and overseen by a neutral group of industry professionals, and which will include no more than 10 rules of engagement and ethical practices by PR professionals. This seal of approval will be free for any agency to use and advertise throughout their websites, client proposals and marketing materials as a declaration of that agency’s ethical work, so long as they agree to abide by the conditions established by their peers—you.

Our professional world is fighting for its own survival within certain, and an ever-increasing number of, business sectors. Our work has stood on its own for decades. It time we take a stand to defend ourselves, and it’s time our industry’s representatives back us on this effort.

Keith TrivittPR Cog

Note: The views expressed in this post are solely those of Keith Trivitt and PRCog, and do not represent the views of Trivitt’s or PRCog’s respective employers, nor of any individual PRBreakfastClub writer.

Learn More, Tweet Less

Rear view of boy with apple behind his back and front view of teacher sitting at desk (10-11)Some of you may have noticed that my Twitter stream isn’t as robust these days.  There aren’t as many blog posts, news articles and conversations flowing.  To be rather blunt, I simply haven’t felt like tweeting.  I’ve snuck onto the web occasionally and opened the TweetDeck a couple of times, but the ‘new tweet’ alerts haven’t been as alluring.  Some days, I’ve felt self-imposed pressure to tweet, as though I wasn’t living up to expectations.  Other days, I’ve felt like the site of that demonic little black and red alert box blocking the ability to close documents was more than I could take.

While the motives for my lack of tweeting are a bit unclear, even to me, and I really have no clue where I would have found the time to tweet more than I have been, I’ve learned some really important lessons while tweeting less.  Lessons that I will carry with me if/when I decided to start bombarding your Twitter stream again. Continue reading

Do you believe in social media?

Computer and globe montageWhen I spoke at the PRSA-CVC Social Media Conference last fall, I told my audience, “You can’t engage in social media for the sake of doing so.”  To my audience, the majority of whom were there because they lacked experience with but felt pressured to engage in social media, this statement probably seemed bizarre.  As though I were implying that you don’t have to jump on the SM band wagon.

A few months later, I realize that my statement was a bit more accurate than I initially thought.  With SM, there is virtually nothing to be gained by going through the motions.  Having made what I am sure some will perceive as an incredulous statement, I think it is important for companies to understand the value of SM before engaging in it. Continue reading