Seldom, a Forbes posting confirms, have we had such a run of examples proving that, properly practiced, public relations is a noble discipline, precisely because it’s a beady-eyed one. Beady-eyed? Yes, says Dictionary.com – “Staring with suspicion, skepticism, etc.”
Google Images has it all wrong. You head there for a photo of a “public relations counselor” and you find mainly cheery, smiling people looking like ushers at a show. That’s not it.
Fraser Seitel is it. He writes on Forbes that “Public relations consultants are paid to remind clients of “worst case” – considering, before the fact, the worst thing that could happen if the client takes a desired action.
Well, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana and the editors of Rolling Stone Magazine all found that out pretty vividly in recent weeks, the hard way. They all took unfortunate, ill-considered actions.
“Failure to seek objective advice,” Seitel writes, “can sink a previously admired public figure in an instant.
“At no time is such cautionary counsel more necessary than when an individual or organization thinks the actions they plan to take are for all the right reasons…”
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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