August 1, 2014
by Kerry Martin
Almost every industry or profession has a moral standard to which they adhere. Doctors have the Hippocratic Oath, lawyers have the Bar Association with its Rules of Professional Conduct and the clergy have a pretty big book. For public relations practitioners, we have a code of ethics – both developed by the Public Relations Society of America and the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA).
Yesterday during a breakfast meeting of the Orlando Area chapter of FPRA, Roger Pynn, APR, CPRC, gave the room of PR professionals a pop quiz on their knowledge of the Code of Ethics. While no one could recite any of the 14 principles from rote memory, in every business scenario he posed to the group, the audience could point out the ethical dilemmas and what lines were crossed.
Throughout the presentation, I saw PR practitioners studiously reviewing the principles of adhering “to the highest standards of accuracy and truth,” dealing “fairly with the public” and exemplifying “high standards of honesty and integrity.” But what Roger offered the group was perhaps more helpful than any pneumonic memorization device: a mirror.
Roger’s advice: If you want to know whether you are doing the right thing, take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. That’s the ethics gut-check you really need.
July 28, 2014
by Julie Hall
By now, you’ve probably heard the viral recording of a Comcast customer service call that went very badly (to say the least). Comcast’s senior vice president of customer experience has since issued an apology stating that, “The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives.”
However, an internal Comcast memo was leaked this week that paints a slightly different picture. Dave Watson, Comcast’s chief operating officer, wrote that, “The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him – and thousands of other Retention agents – to do.”
I’m sure Comcast’s PR team helped craft the memo and most of the message points are on target—that the incident is regretful and not representative of the typical Comcast customer service experience. But just one poorly worded line in an otherwise well-crafted statement can overwhelm the entire message.
In today’s digital world, you must assume that any communication, even if it’s intended to remain internal, will become public. Maintaining a consistent message across all communications—internal and external—is an inherent part of any sound communications strategy. If two of your executives are singing an evenly slightly different tune, your whole message is off key.
July 23, 2014
by Roger Pynn
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Associated Press introduces automated news writing. As if CNN (the Commentator News Network) hadn’t already reduced the business to moronic, now AP – the bastion of hard news – is basically using robot reporters.
You can mark this as the day journalism went to hell in a hand basket. Said AP Managing Editor Lou Ferrara, “What I’m trying to get out of is the data processing business. I can’t have journalists spending a ton of time data processing stuff. Instead I need them reporting.”
He can’t be serious. How can a reporter report if he or she hasn’t first processed data?
Journalism is basically broken into two elements: news gathering and news writing. Back before any of us had ever heard the term big data, reporters had been processing data for years … sifting through facts and figures, truths and lies, old stories and new in order to know what they would then write about.
Ferrara has confused writing for reporting.
July 22, 2014
by Roger Pynn
I’ve kept a tiny crystal ball on my desk for 30 years … about the size of a large thimble. And for all those years we’ve told our team, via Curley & Pynn’s Five Steps to Professional Success, to “Anticipate … Don’t Wait to Be Asked.”
So this LinkedIn post by futurist Daniel Burrus caught my eye today with this headline: “Forget Lean and Agile – It’s Time to be Anticipatory.” It is a good read, particularly for anyone who loves research and data. Burrus talks about the difference between certainty and uncertainty, soft and hard trends … and the ability to know what’s next.
That fourth step in our statement of corporate culture is about the responsibility of our team to keep an eye on the horizon, and to look over it to see what could be coming next that might have an impact on our clients and the programs we develop for them.
Whether you’re concerned with the next big thing in your market or disruptive factors that may change your market altogether, a clear windshield is likely more important than a rear view mirror.
While a crystal ball would be even better, Burrus is spot on. Monitoring trend data and knowing what you can count on is an essential skill. As Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie urged us … don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.