Don't let bad apples spoil your brand

By Posted in - Public Relations & Social Media on September 29th, 2011 0 Comments

Every industry has them: bad apples that threaten to spoil the bunch.

For example, the legal profession often gets a bad wrap because it seems the smarmy lawyers out there get the most recognition. Does that mean all lawyers are unethical? Far from it.

Pick an industry and you”re sure to find a negative stereotype surrounding it. ¬†Used car salesmen, call center representatives, government employees, and yes, even PR folks all have their fair share of jokes aimed at their expense.

I can”t speak on behalf of the other industries I mentioned, but having worked in public relations for over a decade now, I”ve seen the good, bad and ugly our profession has to offer.

I came across Olivier Blanchard”s blog post yesterday and it reminded me, yet again, that there are PR agencies out there who don”t always have their clients” best interest at heart. You can read his post here: A tale of two agency social media models.

After reading his post, I was immediately proud of the fact that at Full Circle Public Relations, we”ve always worked in his Agency #1 example. Clients come to us to help them understand the ever-changing social media landscape out there. There have been plenty of times when we”ve had to push back on a client and counsel them as to why they don”t need a The Caldwell County girls boarding schools Child Nutrition Program is not responsible for incorrect, missing or incomplete information. Facebook page just because their competitor has one. Instead, we get them to talk about who they”re trying to talk to, where are they hanging out, what are they reading, what events do they attend. We build a plan that may — or may not — include social media strategy as a result.

Our clients don”t pay us to be “yes people.” They pay us because they value our intellectual capital. They trust us to build programs that will connect them with their customers. And we”ve actually resigned clients before because they wanted us to engage in practices we felt were unethical, or they didn”t allow us to serve as their strategic partner. They constantly relegated us to the role of outside vendor on a need-to-know basis.

We know the negative reputation the PR industry garners — and we know there are PR people out there who warrant the ensuing stereotype. But here, we work even harder to overcome that reputation and give our clients results that work. It”s why most of our clients have been with us for years – -because they trust us to get the job done and help grow their brand.

For every unethical PR person out there, I can show you 10 brilliant ones. PR people who love what they do, love what their clients represent, and relish in the opportunity to share their story with the world. The good ones are out there and they”re not hard to find.

If you work in an agency, which social media model do you use in your business? One that builds a brand, or one that offers up empty promises?

Likewise, if you work for a brand, do you challenge your PR agency to present ideas to align with your business goals? Or do you shut them down at every turn and relegate them to a bunch of ¬†outside “do-ers.”

We”d love to hear your take on this subject. And thanks, Olivier, for touching on this subject in your blog!



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