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Make PR 'Driving Force' in 'Shaping Organizations'
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Russell Working, a staff writer at Ragan Communications, posted a report on an address given by the CEO of Edelman PR at a recent International Association of Business Communicators world conference in New York. Working began his piece by noting, “Outsiders sometimes perceive public relations professionals as used car salesmen willing to hype any cause or product. Folks in the business know that the truth works better than spin, especially in an age of cynicism about business and government. So, how about making PR the driving force in shaping organizations for the good?”
 
Edelman PR CEO Richard Edelman told attendees, “In advising on the what to do, we have to act as the corporate conscience,” and urged communicators “to make it their job to advise organizations not just about communications, but about how to behave ethically and transparently.”
 
Since 2008, Edelman noted, there has been a drastic decline in public trust. He cited the recent 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer survey, which revealed that “eighty percent of people believe government is inept or corrupt, and 50 percent believe businesses are unethical. ... Only 20 percent of people believe that a business leader will tell the truth when confronted with a difficult issue. “
 
This decline in public trust and the ethical nature of both government and business clearly points to a crisis in leadership. Edelman offered some ideas on how to restore the public's trust and belief in ethical behavior and transparency.
 
The IABC audience heard Edelman urge them: “I believe that we have to expand from public relations to public engagement. It is now about advising on a company’s behavior, strengthening relationships across the entire stakeholder universe, and making sure that we build trust.”

Continuing on, he noted, “Each of you can change the supply chain or boost sustainability. Meeting the minimum legal standards isn’t what the public wants nowadays. They want companies to operate at a higher level. That means that you serve not only the interests of your shareholders, but the interests of society. We have to help companies operate on the basis of principles, not just by obeying laws. Compliance is no longer enough.”
 
For the entire article, click here.
  
Note: Gerry will not be posting next week due to his participation in Gettysburg, Pa for the 150th commemoration of the events of July 13, 1863. Look for him to share some insights in early July when he returns to his Flack Me posts. yes


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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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