Ethics and Public Relations

For some people, when they hear the term Public Relations, they immediately think unethical liars, propaganda pushers, and truth spinners. These types of accusations plague Public Relations professionals. I am not denying that there are instances when this perception is spot on, but there are many of us who work in PR that strive to remain ethical in all aspects of our work.

In fact, without strong ethics, it is nearly impossible to gain the trust needed for success. At its core, Public Relations is all about relationship management. Relationships are built on trust, and anything that jeopardizes that trust can only hurt our clients’ organizations or ministries.

The PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Code of Ethics requires the following values of its members and has set the standard for the PR industry:

  • Advocacy
  • Honesty
  • Expertise
  • Independence
  • Loyalty
  • Fairness

Advocacy

Public Relations professionals act as advocates for their organization or ministry and its causes, and provide a voice for ideas, facts, and viewpoints. As representatives and spokespersons, every effort is made to build and maintain relationships, both internal and external, with a high level of integrity.

Honesty

Trust is essential to your organization or ministry’s reputation. It is important to build a strong foundation of trust with your audience. The easiest way to do this is to communicate accurately and truthfully regardless of the public’s perception in any situation.

Expertise

Credibility and expertise go hand in hand. The more credible you are to your audience, the more likely they will be to believe your message and support your organization. It is important to have the knowledge and skills necessary to serve organizations well. Do you have a trained, credible PR professional working for your organization or ministry?

Independence

Independence in Public Relations is about objectivity and accountability.  Any PR professional should be candid, open, truthful, and accessible.  This independence is crucial for building trust, both for your client and organization, as well as your target audience and the public.

Loyalty

Loyalty is an important part of Public Relations, and possibly one of the most difficult aspects of ethics in PR. As professionals who represent an organization or ministry, publicists need to believe in the organization they are representing, as well as the associated cause or mission. It’s an ethical conflict of interest if they do not believe in the message that is being communicated. Is that really in the best interest of the organization? Is it in the best interest personally for the PR professional?

Fairness

For Public Relations professionals, it is critical to remain unbiased and to respect all opinions. Whether it is with clients, the media, the general public, or anyone, ethically PR professionals must be understanding, patient, and fair.

Solid ethics are key to good PR. It is the responsibility of Public Relations professionals to adhere to these ethical guidelines as they represent the clients they value and serve.

If you are interested in Public Relations strategy or consultation to help protect your brand, Infinity Concepts is here to help. CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.

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