Does integrity matter in Public Relations?

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We all deliver a service in public relations – some of us go above and beyond, others just deliver it. What really makes you stand out is the integrity with which you deliver it.

Do you keep matters that are supposed to be confidential to yourself? Or do you just take the first opportunity to tell everyone what no one is supposed to know, just because that would make you look important and get you a ‘celebrity’ status?

Our market place is very crowded today. Agencies merge and others go bust, in-house and agency staff see an Exodus-migration level, and constant reinvention takes place to ensure clients and employers keep us in their good books.

I seldom attend networking events – unless the topic of the event is of special interest to me, or some really bright people take to the stage and share real knowledge with us all, I’m not interested.

I know I’m not the only one, and there are many of us who have better things to do with our time than just stand in a room full of strangers (mostly), with a plastered smile on our faces, trying to look enthused by the general rubbish someone is uttering.

Networking – of the real kind – does not happen in a room full of 200 people. But this is another discussion for another time.

However, when I do turn up at various events, I stand generally by myself in a corner and observe those around me.

While I do sympathise and am much more inclined to understand why a junior colleague would disclose matters s(he) shouldn’t, I am bemused by the ease with which many of my senior peers blurt out proprietary information, client confidential details and general “dirty laundry” that is not theirs to “wash”.

Matters become spicier when several glasses have already been emptied and, if someone has an internal alarm system for reputational risks, bells start ringing loudly.

It’s human nature, after all, to want to stand out, impress your peers and bosses, let the world know what great we are/were at what we did, how we did it and what we witnessed in the process.

But, if you were the Client/Employer, how would you feel when one of your most trusted advisors crossed the line she/he shouldn’t have?

Integrity, trust and confidentiality – these are your best friends in Public Relations, regardless who you work for and the role you’re in. Keep them close to your heart and they will serve you well.


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