Sunday, February 12, 2006

Ethics and PR Blogging

A two-part post: first, thanking everyone that voted for me (self promotion) for the AdLand Battle of the Ad Blogs, and, second, well, the perception that PR isn't ethical.

Yes, I won in the PR category, and for everyone that voted for me thank you very much. I am pretty sure that includes my kids at Auburn, and big thanks to Scott Baradell and Mike Drierhost for their endorsements.

The contest was close, all the PR blogs are great ... but an interesting comment came out during the tallying of the votes by Dabitch.
PR people are pretty honest folk too. Who would have thunk it? ;) (I'm kidding amigos!)

Aptly named POP! PR wins the popular vote, with BL Ochman Whats Next not too far behind. Applause!
Now, I didn't blog about the contest, just added the graphic and then added a line in my signature. I asked some people, did a few emails - never went on the attack against others, because in the end I was doing it for the T-shirt ... and some glory. But, all in all it was pretty ethical, despite people's perceptions of PR ... and not just Dabitch.

Why? PR isn't like it's Guerilla marketing, and in my career I have always tried to be above the board. I am honest with reporters and if I don't know the answer, I say so and try to get the answer.

It's the same approach I take to blogging: I don't think every company in the world needs a blog, and I believe that those counseling such are doing a disservice to companies, to themselves, and to PR. Heck, it might even be unethical because it comes down to firms trying to cash in and not thinking the counsel through. I believe that there are better things that can be done for companies, and sometimes it is better to bypass online blogs and do traditional PR, depending on the company and the product. There is no shame in mainstream media, as, well, it tends to hit the mainstream audiences.

Tom Biro brings up a similar thread in his blog (yes, I'm in the post). Where is PR going with blogs, and are firms just going to goose-step

Now, while I am not sure Biro is supposed to be pissing in the IPG pool, let's forgive him for that one, as he is just pointing to a few good examples that his sister company has the misfortune of being. Which, well, really comes down to "where is the training, where is the supervision?!?" Heck, where is the oversight?

This is an issue across all of PR, and the question of ethics has to be brought up - are we being ethical in letting things go willy-nilly out there? Doesn't all of PR have an obligation - from the smallest of firms to the largest of multinational conglomerates - to give the best counsel, support and PR for its clients? If a PR firm does not get blogs, but is pitching them without even a cursory look, what good is that for the client? It's about transparency, in a way - we need to be honest in capabilities, and teach the staff how to work in such areas like blogs, or even media, especially since media is changing more rapidly than ever before (yes, trite/cliche). This all has to be done top-down, though, from the highest levels to the lowest peons. Only then will firms change.

But, hey, I just wanted to thank you all. :)
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