Thursday, February 09, 2012

A New, "No Secrets" Environment

More than 50 years ago, public relations pioneer Arthur W. Page, said, “Prove it with action. Public perception of an organization is determined 90 percent by what it does and 10 percent by what it says.” With the advent of the Internet Age, this may be more true today than ever before.

The fact that there are no secrets anymore requires a new mindset. We need to think of ourselves as custodians and role models of the correct behaviors.

If we remember that, in a world where cameras now come standard with cell phones, everyone is watching us — even if we can’t see them — we’re less likely to allow the kinds of lapses in judgment that can undermine relationships … or even kill a company.

It’s all too easy, in a thoughtless moment, for otherwise conscientious, intelligent people to forget that their behaviors are just a mouse click away from exposure.

In a careless gesture, an individual hits the “reply all” button on an email and accidently informs the client that the writer thinks he’s “a jerk.” An unhappy employee tells a friend that she’s being harassed by a supervisor. That friend tells a friend who posts it on an industry bulletin board and the story goes viral. Or let’s say the supervisor’s behavior doesn’t go beyond the employee – until a year later when she quits and tells others at her new company – a competitor. Then it becomes gossip.

How we do something may loom larger than what we produce in today’s open and transparent business environment. Author Dov Seidman calls this “the new frontier of conduct” … and I contend that it is rewriting the stakeholder equation. Exceeding stakeholders’ expectations is only part of the equation. As PR professionals, we also need to cultivate the kind of behavior that enhances trust, rapport and, ultimately, reputation.

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Anonymous Todd Murphy said...

I like your assertions because right know I see so little discussion on "how we conduct ourselves" in performing our PR efforts, vs. the strategy of our PR efforts.

Strategy is everything, tactics will prove themselves. For many companies they need to first focus on meeting expectations, then they can move forward to exceed expectations. Falling short of expectations puts your entire business at risk.

Friday, February 10, 2012 4:01:00 PM  

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