Maintaining integrity (even when others don’t)
As much as we may want to avoid it, we have to put our trust in others – our family, friends and the people we work with. But think about how many times someone has made a promise they didn’t keep, even if it was as simple not sending you information when they said they would. We remember it, and it usually takes time and hard work on their part for us to trust them again.
And as it turns out, these situations aren’t unique to just personal relationships. Whether or not we realize it, we also put trust in the brands, products and companies we choose. I read an article yesterday that reminded me that even though something has a recognizable label, it doesn’t mean it can necessarily be trusted.
Energy Star, the 19-year-old organization behind the iconic blue and white logo, is changing its procedures to better ensure the efficiency of the products which bear its label. In this announcement, the organization is largely admitting that it simply took the word of manufacturers when awarding the certification.
Not only was Energy Star let down by companies that weren’t truthful about their products’ efficiency ratings, but in turn “Energy Star-qualified” products were put on the market that simply don’t meet the label’s standards. It has been a long cycle of misrepresentation and loss of trust.
So if even the most notable symbols can’t always be trusted, who can we rely on? I’d like to think we make a difference as individuals – and as part of a larger group of public relations professionals – by keeping our word, being honest about our capabilities and maintaining a standard of integrity – even when so many others don’t.