In this video, explore how ethics and public relations work in tandem for greater accuracy and truthfulness of news shared with the public.
- Today, we have something called fake news. During the 2016 election, the founder of RealTrueNews.org posted a story on his site saying Hillary Clinton called Bernie Sander's fans a bucket of losers. Although known for fabricated articles that mislead, the article still went viral. Fox News picked it up to later have Megyn Kelly give a public apology. It's getting tougher to identify what's accurate reporting and what should be reported. Here are four scenarios to avoid regarding competitor bashing, difficult conversations, credible third party endorsements, and public transparency in PR. Scenario number one, competitor bashing. You're monitoring a scandal on Twitter regarding a competitor. They've encountered a customer data breach. Your communications team starts sharing negative tweets. They're urging you to retweet too, and to create a statement against your biggest rival. Step back, you play in the same market landscape, don't you? It may be their data breach today, but it could be yours tomorrow. Here's where good judgment and ethics tells you to stand together and be supportive. Scenario number two, your employee's well-being. Your company is known for strong values that include protecting the health and well-being of employees. For example, Working Mother magazine says you're one of the best companies to work for. But due to recent changes in healthcare, you find out your leadership wants to cut 45% of workforce hours. Cutting hours keeps employees from receiving full-time healthcare benefits. Your team doesn't want to advise executives that this is a bad idea with public backlash. Raise your hand, let your good ethical judgment have a voice. Scenario number three, credible third party endorsements. You're working on a marketing program for a major retailer that's bound to get national editorial coverage. You'll need bloggers who will travel to stores across the country, and share their brand experience. Suddenly, you're hearing about a couple of people who aren't bloggers but actually company employees. PR is supposed to be the credible third party endorsement. Raise the red flag and say no. It's unethical to use employees and you're also using the media dishonestly to mislead the public. Scenario number four, public transparency. Your PR team is working for a housing developer. While gathering information about a multi-family housing project, you uncover the land designated for the new complex used to be a garbage landfill. The EPA report shows low levels of contaminants. Nothing is life-threatening, but you still call it to your client's attention. The client wants you to forget and bury the information. They say, let's never discuss this again. You should just say no. It's unethical not to inform the public about the history of the land for the new development. If you want to learn more about scenarios related to ethics and PR, you can download the handout Using Ethics in Public Relations. Check to see if your teams are applying good judgment to competitor communication, difficult conversations with executives, credible third party endorsements, and public transparency in your communications.
- Examine the connection between leadership accountability and ethical practices.
- List three unethical behaviors that have a negative impact on marketing.
- Explain why marketing ethics training should not be a stand-alone program.
- Recognize the negative impact of using the word “testing” when assessing the effectiveness of an ethics training program.
- Review the importance of being open and transparent with clients.