Thursday, November 06, 2008
Trust and Reputation in Public Relations
Today PRSA San Antonio members were treated to a presentation by Mike Cherenson, APR, Chair-Elect of PRSA and Executive Vice President of Success Communications Group. Mike is a second generation counselor, who grew up "doodling his ABC's on news release stationery."
Mike's lively presentation included numerous research examples about building and maintaining reputation, a particularly timely topic as our nation struggles with the effects of the federal bailout and an uncertain economy. Cherenson explained that public relations practitioners are the keepers of trust and repetition in a company and the CEO should be its chief trust officer. He offered a formula for the group: Reputation equals expectation plus credibility plus authenticity.
Cherenson advocates that social media is empowering more and more to join in on the conversation, but cautioned that in this age of "infodemics" it is difficult to sort out fact from fiction. Infodemics is defined as the combination of rumor, truth, fact, propaganda and interpretation. This presents new challenges for managing an organizations' reputation.
He offered a useful analogy called the Credibility Bank. Organizations make deposits each time they doing something good or well. Withdrawals, on the other hand, are made when wrongs go uncorrected. He sugggested all practitioners should develop a score card and share it periodically with their CEO. His advice to practitioners hoping to build trust among their many stakeholders is that the simpler the message, the easier it is to reach your audience. Mike's presentation will be available on the chapter web site.
Update: Kami Watson Huyse shares this video interview with Mike Cherenson on trust and reputation. Enjoy!
Photo of Mike Cherenson courtesy of PRSA Member Randy Escamilla