Thursday, January 07, 2010

IS NOTHING AS IT SEEMS?

May I have the privilege of one more postscript on the ongoing Tiger Woods scandal? I know we’ve all heard enough, but I have one additional point to get off my chest.

I was with my brother the other day when he raised some interesting questions. How did Tiger Woods maintain his squeaky-clean image for such a long time? How did he get away with multiple infidelities during the many, many years that he was held up as Accenture’s — and other leading advertisers’— role model? Is nothing as it seems anymore? Is no image real…or above reproach?

Finally, is the Tiger Woods story shocking because it underscores the fact that little today is what it appears to be … or that most is not what it appears to be?

Even with modern day internet transparency, certain information is likely to elude us. That may be because the press or others become so enamored of certain celebrities that factoids which could be explosive refuse to gain traction. Or the information is simply overlooked…at least until the crisis breaks. So, while it remains possible for one whistleblower to bring down an institution (and we advise clients to be prepared for that possibility), the revelation doesn’t always happen — or it may not happen for years, as was the case with the exposure of Woods’ many affairs.

There are and always will be celebrities and high-profile corporate leaders with good characters and high moral fiber. And they will exist among those whose reputations are built with the support of public relations. As public relations professionals, we do our best to ensure — via research, client probing and, ultimately, agreements with our clients — that they are providing thorough information that enables us to tell the truth. Full and fair disclosure from our clients is essential for us to do our best for them. Not to do so is to be like the patient who doesn’t tell the whole story to his psychiatrist. Once the due diligence is done and the agreements are signed, we cannot know what lurks behind corners.

Technorati Tags: Tiger Woods, Accenture, transparency,
communications, communications, public relations, Makovsky

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