Working in public relations can oftentimes bring up ethical dilemmas and moral ambiguities. We at BLND are doing a series of blogs analyzing the ethics of the public relations industry in hopes to arm professionals and agencies with better knowledge about how to deal with ethical dilemmas that may come up in the field. From disclosure agreements to sponsored content, one of the biggest ethical issues is authenticity. For years, public relations was regarded as inauthentic, as professionals were notorious for “spinning” stories by avoiding the truth. Today, consumers expect the brands they follow to be upfront and honest, and not being an authentic company can hurt your reputation. At our Los Angeles public relations agency, we live by the following guidelines to ensure that each of our brands are authentic and ethical in our communications.
No company is perfect. At one point or another, a brand may find itself in a compromising crisis. Whether a social media blunder or a customer service issue, once the problem is out in the public, there is nothing worse than a company that points the finger at somebody else. If you find yourself in a crisis, the first step is to acknowledge the situation. Make a public announcement on social media stating that you are aware of the situation and are working to rectify it. However, make no false promises or claims if you have nothing to back it up with.
Be Clear & Concise
Whether in a press release, social media caption, or a public apology, using clear and concise language is crucial to authenticity. When you use complicated language, consumers will automatically assume that you are tip-toeing around the truth. Use language that is easy to read and understand, so there are no barriers to getting your message across.
There is nothing better than a company that connects with its audience. By building relationships, you are showing your customers that you truly care about them and their experiences with your brand. Luckily, social media makes it easy to connect with your audiences on a personal level. Answer comments and DM’s that are from real consumers and answer their questions. Host appreciation giveaways, share user generated content, and throw events that cater toward your consumers. This way, you build a loyal fanbase that believes in your brand because you showed that you care.
To learn more about authenticity in public relations, click here.