Public relations is in a seemingly constant state of fending off something which, in the hands of its best practitioners, at least, it doesn't deserve – the image of being a crafty, manipulative synonym for deceptive "spin". We have Edward Bernays and Ivy Lee, PR's founders, largely to thank for that. But, following them, came others, like Arthur Page, who weren't treating PR so much as propaganda, but as responsible relational communication. Jeff Morosoff reminds us of Page on his blog, Public Relations Nation, where he lists Pages's "Seven Principles of Public Relations Management". We thank Jeff for that – we need to keep Page's guidance before us.
• Tell the truth. Let the public know what’s happening and provide an accurate picture of the company’s character, ideals and practices.
• Prove it with action. Public perception of an organization is determined 90 percent by what it does and ten percent by what it says.
• Listen to the customer. To serve the company well, understand what the public wants and needs. Keep top decision makers and other employees informed.
• Manage for tomorrow. Anticipate public reaction and eliminate practices that create difficulties. Generate goodwill.
• Conduct public relations as if the whole company depends on it. No corporate strategy should be implemented without considering its impact on the public. The public relations professional is a policy maker capable of handling a wide range of corporate communications activities.
• Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people. The strongest opinions — good or bad — about a company are shaped by the words and deeds of its employees. Corporate communications must support each employee’s capability and desire to be an honest, knowledgeable ambassador.
• Remain calm, patient and good-humored. When a crisis arises, remember that cool heads communicate best.
(Photo: Arthur W. Page)
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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