Working in public relations can oftentimes bring up ethical dilemmas and moral ambiguities. At BLND, we 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. At our public relations agency, we live by the following guidelines to ensure that we protect our clients’ privacy and confidential information. Therefore, here are some notes about safeguarding confidences as a professional.
Why is safeguarding confidential information important?
In public relations, having an open and honest relationship with your client is essential to a successful partnership. Therefore, a PR professional needs to know everything, good and bad, about their client. By respecting and protecting the privacy of your clients, you earn their trust. This way, they will confide in you the details that you need to make informed, strategic decisions.
Protect the confidentiality of former clients
Even if you are not currently working with a client, it is important to protect the confidential information that you learned while in contact with them. Do not share any compromising information to hurt old clients, and do not intentionally share past client’s secrets to help new clients.
Assume nothing is “off the record”
Today, agreeing to off the record conversations, especially with reporters, is a dangerous game. To protect confidential information, assume that everything you talk about with reporters could be repeated. Assume that anything you say to the public may be reported; otherwise, you risk putting your client’s privacy at risk.
Interested in learning more about ethics at a public relations agency? Click here.