Could honesty be the best policy?

I make no apologies for returning to the subject of PR and Reputation.

I read with interest Ian Monk’s column in PR Week (in the UK) in the 25th November edition.

In brief he recounted a meeting with an old PR friend who opined that he spends half of his time telling people that PR is not what they need and that it doesn’t have all the answers. Too many people today, he went on, are conned into thinking PR is the penicillin for all ills. If the product, performance or service is not right in the first place then PR isn’t the answer.

It’s that issue I have previously highlighted about the tree and its shadow…again.

If people think they can PR their way out of something rotten and dysfunctional then they’re being foolish. And too often, that is the case.

And PR professionals will happily fill the fire buckets and damp down the flames as trust goes up in smoke and call it Reputation Management.

To add to the risk of reliance on PR as a Reputation Management tool, as soon as PR is perceived by influential others (e.g. customers) to be part of the Reputation ‘solution’ it actually makes things worse.

PR’s job is to communicate and to act as a two-way conduit between an organisation and its publics.

It is not about putting lipstick on a pig. A pig is still a pig. And actually, the honest recognition of this (I think of Ryanair) is probably better PR than the cosmetic variety. It’s about the tree, not the shadow.

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