The final PRSA 2011 Ethics Month Tweet chat, held earlier this week, demonstrated why ethical communications continues to interest public relations professionals. Encompassing a wide range of topics on the state of ethics in PR, #PRethics chat saw a spirited debate on where ethics stand in relation to a PR professionals’ daily work.
The chat kicked off with a discussion on the best way for PR professionals to build trust between brands and consumers. Chatters varied in their opinions, ranging from advising companies to use brutal honesty to weighing the realities and challenges of PR and marketing in the digital age. @carolinamadrid was decidedly on the “pro-honesty” side, Tweeting that to build trust, brands must utilize “Honesty — as difficult as it may be at times” in all their communications.
Simple: Don’t lie. Don’t spin. Ensure the organizational narrative is honest and that communication is frequent.
The chat then shifted to how PR professionals can best utilize ethical communications throughout their organizations and client work. @prcarrs offered this helpful tip to those seeking guidance on this issue:
Among the other helpful tips on display was a series of tweets by @thinkbluepr, who is a PR professional for IBM. On the subject of being ethical in social media communications and marketing, @thinkbluepr said, “@IBM’s social media policy states we always identify ourselves as IBMers on social networks.” @thinkbluepr also offered #PRethics chatters a helpful post on corporate character as the purpose of the enterprise by Jon Iwata, the noted CMO at IBM.
The chat concluded with discussions on whether PR professionals and PR firms should serve as the ethical conscience of their companies and/or clients. Again, @prcarrs led with sound advice, writing that “Ethics should run throughout and be a part of the company or client’s culture,” but should not serve as a company’s sole ethical conscience. @jgombita agreed, Tweeting that it is “preferable to say that PR should provide ‘counsel’ as to the company’s conscience/ethics, rather than ‘champion’” ethical business practices.