Sunday, September 17, 2006

There is No Such Thing as Bad PR

Let me qualify that. Of course, public relations professionals make mistakes, and there are many – myself included – who are not as competent as they should be. But that’s not what I’m talking about.

Public relations is, by definition, a field that serves the public interest.

When so-called PR activities do not serve the public interest or when they hurt the public, then they are not public relations.

Such activities include the “clueless telemarketing/spamming” of “drones” that Dan York has been “ranting” about. And they include astroturfing and other deceitful campaigns. We should call them what they are: propaganda, laziness, unethical… But we should not call them public relations!

It’s like we’ve given in to the perception that all this stuff is a part of our profession that we don’t like. Our acquiescence is a big reason for the PR profession’s PR problem that we keep talking about. It is also a key reason some people are easily led to believe that such tactics are ok.

No, it’s not all black and white. Terry Fallis and David Jones, focused their Inside PR #21 podcast (August 22, 2006) on the issue and asked honest questions about when an activity is astroturfing and when is it not. It was a healthy conversation. We need more of them. As public relations leaders, it is our job to help define the gray areas.

1 comment:

Terry Fallis said...

Hi Christie,

I couldn't agree more. As PR professionals, we have the ability, not to mention obligation, to try to protect our profession from unethical and unscrupulous behaviour of a relative few. I'm not suggesting it will be an easy task, but stimulating introspection and conversation among us, as you are doing, is the necessary first step. Let the conversation continue...