Love it or hate it, influencer marketing is becoming not only necessary but possibly the most relevant channel to reach larger volumes of consumers. The global industry is expected to grow to be worth $9.7bn this year, according to The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report. It does however tend to be a bit of a double-edged sword because as great as influencer marketing can be, it tends to have its own set of drawbacks.

Let’s start with the positives though, as we explore the various ups and downs of influencer marketing.

  1. Target specific demographics, including Gen-Z and Millennials

Given the higher ‘influenceability’ and spending power of Gen Z & Millennial consumers, they look to influencers as trendsetters, following their every move on social media. Ask a 20-year old who the emperor of Japan is and they may not know, but they’re more likely to know the latest TikTok dance challenge that’s trending right now. And what’s more, they’re also likely to know who made this challenge go viral.

Influencers have exclusive access to new and often unreleased products, from brands that partner with them and organize campaigns where the influencers can review and promote upcoming products. Basically, the influencer can turn your product into a new trend that can potentially become increasingly popular amongst millions of Gen-Z consumers all over the world! Once your product becomes a hot new trend, it’s more likely going to be reviewed by dozens of other influencers across platforms and of varying audience sizes, giving it even more credibility.

  1. Target niche audiences, especially through Micro and Nano influencers

Although they have a smaller following, Micro and Nano influencers are increasingly becoming popular with brands. Audience size aside, they tend to be more passionate and engaged as opposed to influencers with larger followings. These influencers usually generate more genuine content, as they capture their personal experiences and share honest reviews about products/ services, thereby building trust.

Granted, this isn’t always the case, and there are bound to be some who will promote products they don’t truly believe in. But more likely than not, those who do believe in the product can build trust amongst their following without coming across as too pushy.

  1. Influencer Marketing doesn’t break the bank, while offering high ROI

Influencer Marketing is a lot easier on the wallet, especially when compared to traditional outreach campaigns such as TV or print advertising campaigns, while providing better returns on the investment, as well as improving brand and product SEO. So effectively, you’re getting better brand recognition and awareness for a much lower cost.

 

Keeping these positives in mind, let’s also take a look at what the possible drawbacks could be.

  1. Influencers are tied to your brand, for better or for worse

Influencers are human and at times they can slip-up and make mistakes. Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a problem, but if the influencer has a long-standing relationship with your brand, they could inadvertently bring your brand into controversy.

Brands therefore need to be extremely careful when selecting influencers to partner with, and think long-term. This does take a fair amount of time and energy, but it’s always important to invest in due diligence.

  1. Fake Followers

Several mainstream influencers have a follower base made up of bots and fake accounts. Transparency is key in any transaction but unethical influencers pave their way by buying followers to earn some extra cash. These can be sifted out by reviewing the number of followers versus the engagement rates on the influencer’s page. Irrespective of how these bots are created, fake followers will not boost engagement with the influencer’s posts and are of no value to a brand.

  1. Uncertain & Unquantifiable

One of the hardest things about influencer marketing campaigns is measurability. It is often hard to measure the product traction that can be attributed to the influencer.

If influencer marketing is the right strategy for your brand or product, then it is worth taking a closer look at the steps required to identify, execute, manage and track an influencer marketing campaign. Instead of viewing an influencer as a means to distribute your product messages, working with the influencer in a messaging partnership has much greater potential for the campaign to be successful, ultimately creating the right kind of awareness for your brand.

 

Malaika Fernandes, Golin MENA

Amidst the ongoing pandemic, MCG&Co now re-branded to DMCG Global has announced details of their increased hiring activity across a number of their office locations including Dubai, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Having launched their global recruitment agency only this year, DMCG Global decided to push forward with a positive attitude, also launching their innovative recruitment website for the creative, marketing, communications and technology industries.

The DMCG team noted, ‘Our MENA and APAC clients have proven to be quite resilient throughout the crisis, with the Middle East and Asian markets opening up as the number of coronavirus cases remains relatively low.’

Key findings from DMCG Global show that between March until October 2020, their Dubai office received an overall 24% increase in job orders, with an increased demand for Corporate & Government Communications roles as well as Digital Design and Customer Experience roles.

Reviewing their Dubai data among their specialised sectors, DMCG Global highlighted positive hiring activity among:

  • Communications, receiving a consistent 5% increase in orders in Corporate and Public Affairs
  • Digital, social, performance and UX/UI creative receiving 10% growth

Although this is some much-needed good news for the new recruitment firm, DMCG Global did notice a significant 30% decrease in advertising media and creative roles but noted they received a 30% increase in work located within Abu Dhabi.

Overall, hiring activity for DMCG Global has now ramped up in Q3 with a promising outlook for Q4.

Justin McGuire, DMCG Global Co-Founder & CEO for APAC & MENA comments on behalf of the senior team,

 

‘Our new recruitment business and global team has shown great resilience in a tough year. We’ve adapted, hiring via video, working from home when needed, with team dedication across the network. Our APAC & MENA offices started strong in Q1, experienced a blip in Q2 but have rebounded well in Q3 across all regions. We predict Q4 will make up for lost time and end this year on a good note – ready for 2021.’

For more information on DMCG Global’s recruitment network, services and insights, you can visit them online here www.dmcgglobal.com

A Company Culture of Care Will Keep ‘Remote Working’ Staff Productive and Healthy!

Hilmarie Hutchison, CEO, Matrix Public Relations

We have witnessed several corporate changes ever since COVID-19 raised its ugly head. This global crisis has disrupted almost every aspect of our lives – from the way we interact with each other to how we move around and how we work.

Many months down the line, most of us are still struggling to adapt to the changes, especially concerning our jobs. Some of these changes have drastically affected our work-life as most people were suddenly faced with having to work from home.

Working from home might sound like a cool trend but the many distractions and stresses of family life can be quite demanding thus affecting our productivity. Healthy employees are likely to be more productive. With ‘working from home’ now becoming a necessity, companies need to ensure that their employees are safe, engaged and most importantly, healthy.

Companies, therefore, need to ask themselves if their employees can successfully juggle home and work life. Such questions are necessary because a healthy company culture goes a long way in boosting its growth and success.

Employers are now faced with the challenges of crafting a new ‘working from home’ workplace culture. Some organizations have now integrated a mix and match working policy to cushion employees and also keep the business going.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear, worry and stress it is causing, chances of having a spike in the number of mental health cases are extremely high.

So, what can leaders do? The first thing is to make their employees feel wanted and reassure them that they are still part of the team.

11 Tips that companies can use to keep staff productive and healthy

  1. Cultivating engagement and a spirit of sharing. This can be done through Zoom, Slack, emails, phone calls, or even text messages.
  2. Building an element of trust. They can do this by encouraging employees and showing them that you believe they can do quality work and deliver it on time.
  3. Keep them in the know. Provide employees with regular updates on management decisions and client progress.
  4. Showing them that YOU care. This can be done by asking the employees how they are coping with the new system and asking about their physical and mental health.
  5. Provide professional help when needed. Employers can also check to see if their workers need professional intervention like counseling and make them feel wanted and included.
  6. Listening well. Leaders need to develop an attitude of the ‘attentive ear’. They should hear out their employees, let them air their grievances, and discuss solutions to their problems.
  7. Recognize & celebrate. Another way that they can create a good working environment is by remembering small things like their birthdays. Employers can go the extra mile and send birthday messages, cards, or even gifts. This can be one way of showing that they care.
  8. Offer a helping hand. Sending employees meals can also be another way of boosting their spirit. They can have dinners or lunches delivered to the employees’ doors at least once a month just to show them that they still remember and care for them.
  9. Boosting team morale is the way to go. This can be done through group meetings and conference calls. Creating a team atmosphere can create a sense of belonging and give them the face time they crave for.
  10. Provide the right working infrastructure. Ensuring that employees have the right and effective communication tools.
  11. Offering them new responsibilities can also be a good way to empower team members. Doing this will boost their confidence and give them a sense of pride.

The definition of a workplace has changed. This new world can create uneasiness and a fear of the unknown, and that can lead to mental health issues. This could stem from the drastic change or, for some, it could be financial difficulties or even redundancies.

The time for management to step up and reassure their employees is now. You can do this by creating a positive culture that is built around care, open dialogue, and a healthy exchange of ideas.

 

You see me laughing, smiling and being loud,

But all I see is a big grey cloud.

It follows me everywhere and just won’t go away,

Waking up is hard, the cloud is here to stay.

The excuses start to form,

‘I can’t make it today, I don’t feel well’

Suddenly this becomes the norm…

You see me laughing, smiling and being loud,

But I just feel trapped underneath this cloud.

Now its darker and getting near,

My mind can’t focus, only fear.

I’m too scared to talk,

‘I don’t want to, it’s just a phase’

Maybe just clear my head with a walk…

You see me laughing, smiling and being loud,

But now I am surrounded by this darker cloud.

Waking up is a struggle to breathe,

Why am I so angry, everything makes me seethe.

My mood has made me lose my best mate

‘nobody will miss me anyway’

Now it’s too late.

Now you don’t see me laughing, smiling and being loud.

I’ve gone and its one-nil to that cloud.

If you have the power to make a child’s wildest dreams become a reality, bring their imagination to life and  give them a memory that will last forever, then you are in a pretty powerful and meaningful industry. Not many people can say that, right?

People working in PR can proudly claim that they make this difference. There’s so much good that we, as an industry, are doing and this is something that I always wanted to do. I have always wanted to make a difference. This may sound cliché, and for many, PR does not sound like the obvious field for making positive change – but I disagree. Just read the opening lines again and let that sink in, or more powerfully – picture the smiles, the joy and pride that come through working on such inspiring projects. Through our power of creativity and our obsession for new, imaginative ideas, we can make a real difference and drive meaningful campaigns that have real impact.

Referring to those moments of children’s smiles, a  campaign that stands out to truly demonstrate the #PowerOfPR is Hill+Knowlton Strategies’ (H+K) work with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH), a world-class paediatric hospital in London. Despite the highly specialised international care GOSH provides, its brand awareness in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is relatively low when compared to its high-profile status in the U.K.

GOSH is doing heroic work, and to help unmask its secret identity we drew from the power of social listening. The insights helped us identify a gap in how patients experienced care, which led to our idea: We could offer patients an experience away from their everyday realities and remind them of how special and powerful they really are by turning them into superheroes.

In 2018, and again in 2020, we transformed young children with serious health conditions at GOSH into their superhero alter egos, in partnership with an initiative called Superhope.

We asked the children: “If you were a superhero, how would you imagine yourself?” A best-selling illustrator then captured these answers and sketched out the children’s imagination onto a page. And unbeknown to the children, a children’s costume studio turned the drawings into super-suits.

On the reveal day, we surprised the children with their bespoke costumes, as well as a professional photoshoot and their own concept CGI trailer shoot led by globally renowned talent. We were giving them much more than a costume. It gave them the chance to not only remove their label of “patient” and feel like children again – but also the superheroes they imagined themselves to be.

Having a good cause at the heart of our work meant we could not only pull off an award-winning, impressive campaign on a shoestring budget, but we could also create a life-changing experience for the children involved. It meant we could find the most amazing pro-bono talent in unexpected places – from a world-class celebrity photographer to a CGI compositor from The Avengers: Infinity War movie. We even secured a pro-bono partnership with VOX Cinemas across the Gulf to showcase the children’s superhero film, to capture the experience all the way to the big screen.

But what really mattered wasn’t so much what our KPIs were set against. Though we exceeded PR and business KPIs, the real impact was that 15 children, going through an extremely traumatic and scary time, had a real superhero boost. Staff across the hospital commented on the new lease of confidence for our GOSH superheroes. One child even stayed in her superhero outfit for three weeks and wore it to all her outpatient appointments!

As PR professionals, we may not be the superheroes on the front page – and we shouldn’t be. Our secret superpower is finding the human purpose and good cause to drive a campaign and most importantly, uncovering the real superheroes among us and letting them shine. For us in H+K’s Health+Wellness practice, we follow the philosophy about treating people as people, not patients. With a good cause and human stories at the centre, anything is possible. That’s the true power of PR.

Emily Cope-Smith, Senior Account Manager, Hill+Knowlton Strategies

I was sat on the toilet cubical floor, tears were rolling down my cheek and I was struggling to breathe but trying not to make too much noise at the same time so no-one heard me. My heels were thrown off and my bangle lay next to them and I was sure I’d sat in a pool of water or something on the floor in my dress, but I couldn’t worry about that right now. I started scrambling around in my handbag looking for the Xanex tablet I always kept in there “just in case”, eventually finding it and gulping it down. I lent back on the door and breathed, trying to remember all the techniques I had been taught as I waited for the “magic pill” to work its wonder and get me upright again. About 15 minutes later, my breathing was near normal, I got myself off the floor, out of the cubical and looking at my phone realized I was so late for where I needed to be. A dash of concealer, powder and a pop of lipstick, spritz some perfume on as that always made me feel like I could handle anything, brush hair, straighten clothes and then I walked back into the office that I owned and into the team of 20 something professionals that I employed like nothing ever happened and I smiled. And no-one was ever the wiser.

I’m Tash. I own TishTash Marketing and Public Relations, a busy independent comms agency in the Middle East and this is my reality living and working with anxiety and panic attacks.

I run a busy agency and we work in an industry voted the 5th most stressful in the world that demands and requires a smile at all times. And I’m not alone. I wish I could tell you the number of people I know in our industry that share experiences like this with me. I know of more than 10 people in our industry here currently carrying Xanex “just in case”, working it through in therapy or those people that know there is a “problem” but can’t face dealing with it just yet, as you know, they’re too busy and it’s an extra thing to add to the to-do list. And these are just the ones who have opened up and shared this with me.

As World Mental Health Day rolls around again this month, and in an especially challenging time mentally for many of us in Covid times, I wanted to take a moment to share my story with you openly and honestly and give a voice to it because according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 of us across the globe now suffers from anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness and are highly treatable, yet only 37% of these suffering actually go on to receive treatment. I’m sure if there was research specifically in our industry it would be far higher than that! Don’t you agree?

So, I’m not alone and you’re not alone if you are struggling with anxiety or mental health concerns, and I do hope that knowing this provides you with some degree of comfort. Secondly, as with everything, if we talk about the uncomfortable and difficult things, we open up a place where more people can share and talk about it with less fear of judgement and less stigma surrounding it and whilst ultimately we want to get to a place where we’ve worked through it and have better strategies for dealing with it, as I’ve come to see, it’s one of those things that doesn’t just go away forever, it remains there and now and again rears its head however much therapy you’ve had and no matter how good you’ve become at “managing” it.

I only started having panic attacks and experiencing debilitating anxiety after I opened my business. Whilst my entrepreneurial journey has been amazing and wonderful on so many levels, nothing prepared me for the lows and the depths it took me to also. As we grew as a business and our expenses and liabilities and the size of clients and their demands increased too, my mental health struggles began. I was only officially diagnosed with an anxiety disorder 4 year ago, although if I look back in my life the signs were always there since I was a child. I have always been a worrier, and this has been a constant in my life since I can remember. But as I grew up, the things to worry about got bigger, culminating in a lot of responsibility and a constant sense of feeling overwhelmed that comes with owning a business. At my worst I was having 6 panic attacks a day, I struggled to function, and I ended up on a very high dose of medication to get through the days.

I love my job, I love our industry and I’ve spent over 20 years of my life in it now and I think I’m pretty good at it, but it’s tough and it isn’t all smiles, parties and glamour and we need to be open and honest about this. I sometimes describe myself as a front liner of a different sort as I get home from work feeling battered and bruised and just need to hide from the world.

To anyone out there reading this that it resonates with, whilst I do believe nothing replaces getting professional help and I personally go to Lighthouse Arabia who are simply amazing and I rave about the work they do daily, I also wanted to share some tips that I have found have helped me over the years:

· Firstly, I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again – you need to remember that this is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed by. It will happen to so many people at some time in your life – so put your pride to one side! Your focus needs to be on you. And if anyone judges you because of this – then it’s their issue and not yours.

· You need to realise the signs as early as you can. I know this isn’t always possible, but if you sense there is the smallest chance of a panic attack or anxiety attack, remove yourself from the current situation and try and get to a “safe space”. This could be the bathroom, your car, your office if you have your own or even home if close. Often I feel worse if I am in an environment where I don’t know people, it’s new and I have no support network and having a panic attack publicly is just unimaginable. I have had a panic attack in my office before and had to be carried out by my husband – yes not my finest moment, but it is what it is. I own it!

· Find simple rituals that make you feel better when you feel “on the edge” and do them. For me, this includes standing in a hot shower, even for 30 minutes if need be. I’m a big fan of aromatherapy oils and I love pulse point roll ons and pillow sprays. I also remove myself from the situation and watch something trashy on Netflix. And as strange as it sounds, I find lying on a rug on the floor just looking up at the ceiling super soothing!

· If you need medication, at least initially to get you back on your feet – take it. I was very anti-medication and have always preferred natural alternative therapies, but there came a time for me where I had to accept it and it was the best decision I made as it got me in a good place again a lot quicker than if I hadn’t. For me, getting off medication was a priority and I worked with Lighthouse to do this and now I have my emergency stash of Xanex only and just knowing it is there should I ever need it helps.

· It may sound like a cliché, but spending time learning breathing techniques is worth the investment. There are lots of YouTube videos and online resources to help here too. I like apps such as Calm too.

· Avoid extra stimulants like alcohol or caffeine as I find these make me worse, even if initially they may seem to help.

· Sleep generally can fix most things. I find that if I am getting 8 hours of sleep a night, I cope with everything better.

· You may not want to hear it (I don’t always!) but exercise helps too. Even a short walk each day.

· Talk about it – I am lucky that I have a good circle of friends, as well as professional help and I talk openly about it a lot. It really helps. I’m not sure how open your company/boss is to mental health topics if you work for someone else, but I have been very clear to my team about mental health days and the importance of looking after yourself and they have an open door to always share how they are feeling and ask for support and it makes such a difference.

I’ve chatted on enough, so I’ll head off now, but I wanted to share with you an article that I read recently that really resonated with me as it said, “my anxiety is my strength, not my weakness”. My anxiety and worrying and sweating the small stuff, the fact I care and have great empathy and understanding of others has got me this far and I think I’ve done pretty well. Many of the attributes of anxiety have helped me a great deal – so they are many positive side effects of anxiety too and being diagnosed with anxiety is definitely not the end to your career or life. If we own it and all it gives us instead of what it takes away, then it’s a very different conversation and way of looking at life and I’m all for that.

In July, with the benefit of insights gained at the helm of our agency after four months of the pandemic, I urged communicators to adopt a healthy paranoia. To tear up and reinvent our playbooks to take account of a series of seismic shifts.

Today, as I survey the emerging landscape, I believe that our paranoia has served us well, compared with other marketing disciplines, as we deftly navigated through economic and social uncertainty. Several firms have been forced to take harsh measures. We have all battened down and drawn in our sails. Many are riding out the storm, bucked by budgets cuts and cancelled projects.

A transformation is sweeping through the economy, reshaping communications and the role of public relations, and revealing the ‘True North’ for the days ahead.

Relevant and continuous communications in a downturn results in disproportionate rewards as the market resumes

The experience of the 2008-11 global financial crisis and oil price slump of the past decade taught us that brands and organisations that stay the course, investing in relevant and meaningful communications during a downturn, are disproportionately rewarded as the markets come back. When consumer spending returns the continuous engagement driven by public relations results in enduring equity, protecting value.

Diversify your offer with the right talent

The agencies that were most impacted in the current crisis were the ones that focused on niche sectors such as tourism and hospitality, which unfortunately were also the most seriously hit. A diversified range of practices focused on multiple sectors is critical. Interestingly, new mandates related to corporate purpose, employee engagement and business continuity and internal culture have gained traction. Most of these truly integrated campaigns need top-of-the-line digital, content and creative skills. PR agencies now are leading the way in growing their ranks with a range of creative and digital talent to meet changing client needs.

Forget the giga budgets from giga projects

For years now, big-ticket campaigns in the region have been driven by massive infrastructure investments, huge mixed-purpose developments, entertainment complexes and massive malls, all of which had a trickle-down effect on the economy. Today, on the back of the oil price slump, with governments facing massive budget deficits (to the tune of $180bn this year and $490bn by 2023 in the GCC region alone, according to Standard & Poor), we face a new economic reality. And that means relooking at agencies’ business and operating models – being nimble and efficient, fast and flexible. There is a need for PR agencies to present their value in a whole different way.

Deliver expert data analytics to drive communications

Every organisation, whether in the public or private sector, is now a data organisation. But data has been siloed into new digital services such as performance marketing, focused on the attention economy driven by the big tech platforms. With the advent of the value economy, now is the time for public relations to leverage the power of big, medium and small data to drive brand reputation and business enhancement. The scale of large agency networks, with their ability to leverage network investments in artificial intelligence and advanced technology, position them as natural partners for smart clients.

Shared and owned, with earned media at the core

Coronavirus has destroyed vast swathes of the economy. Alongside tourism, hospitality and aviation, the traditional media sector is fighting for survival. In an amazingly short time, a handful of media outlets and tech platforms have become the dominant players in the world of editorial. Earned media just became way harder, and way more specialised. Communications is now shaped as much by shared media driven by content and influencer marketing, and owned media driven by web assets. But earned media will always remain at the core of PR campaigns.

The PR agency business is no longer a numbers-game. It is no longer about how big your revenue is or the number of offices and people you have. It is about how relevant you are to meet the revolution in your clients’ needs.

Despite all these headwinds, I am optimistic and hopeful that PR will continue to remain in high demand by clients who need support to keep their brands meaningful and their reputations resilient.

We now live in a world where we work from both our offices and homes; we will seldom fly out for business meetings; we educate our kids differently and shop online for all our needs. In this world where governments and businesses are desperately looking to keep the virus at bay and also stimulate the economy, PR provides real value helping get ready for the rebound. Our work matters the most during these times.

PRCA Ethics Month – Reem Al-Ajeel | Instinctif Partners MENA

 

Misinformation is everywhere. Many of us may think we can identify ‘fake news’, however, an estimated 63 per cent of people cannot distinguish facts from fiction in the media. The rise of social media as a primary news source has further escalated the power and influence of misinformation.

 

The implications of misinformation are extremely broad and have direct impact on society. As communication professionals, how can we, and the organisations we represent, truly safeguard from falling victim to consuming and sharing incorrect and potentially harmful information?

 

With smart and insight-driven communications, we can infuse real information when communicating some of the most challenging topics across the world. This has the power to not only position organisations as leaders, but shape policy and individual behaviours.

 

Firstly, we need to encourage action-led contributions, where organisations invest in research and expertise of their chosen focus area. For example, for organisations that want to engage with the next generation, superficial communications won’t cut it; and in turn can have a negative impact on the brand’s reputation. From gender and racial inequality, to Covid-19, many of us have become desensitised to repetitive content – we want to see action. Digital and integrated strategies are becoming increasingly important, however, for brands to truly improve credibility and engage with trending topics, a re-tweet or social media post is not enough. The increasingly critical audience is a good thing. It should push organisations, individuals, and communications professionals to work harder; ask uncomfortable questions and ensure well-researched strategies. Contribution should be meaningful, ethical, impactful, and importantly measurable

 

Secondly, to tackle misinformation, we need to invest in data. Organisations must invest in research to contribute facts. To turn insights into action, organisations must understand the challenges and barriers faced by their key audience groups. In doing so, organisations, independently or through partnerships, have the ability to lead change and cement their position as thought-leaders. This is particularly important for companies aligned with Government agendas; to invest in national data collection and also to find implementable solutions to meet national goals.

 

At the same time, informed by accurate and reliable information, we are better prepared to deal with the impact of misinformation against the organisations or industries that we work in. For example, the anti-vaccination movement and promotion of content that instils distrust in pharmaceutical companies, can have a detrimental impact across the industry. Communications professionals working within the sector, must intelligently tackle this through insight-driven and evidence-based information. To change behaviours, and instil trust, organisations must disseminate informed and credible content.

 

Additionally, communication is a two-way street. To truly battle misinformation, invite your audience to communicate with your brand directly, to question content and to promote transparency.

 

The rise of ‘fake news’ is not expected to reduce in the near future. Social media organisations have come under fire for their lack of regulations when it comes to misinformation and their willingness to remove content. However, it is important that we continue to drive well-researched strategies and content to reduce the spread of misinformation and shape credibility and trust.

 

The PRCA Ethics Council has launched the annual Ethics Month in September. We had a chat with Council members from across the world to get their insight on the power of ethical PR.

How Can PR Leaders Influence C-Suite Ethical Decisions?

Stephane Billiet:

“PR Leaders’ responsibility is to act as the Corporate Conscience. In charge of companies and brands’ reputation, it is their duty to influence C-Suite ethical decisions, speak out for business ethics and enforce ethical standards of behavior within a company. PR Pros’ role goes beyond influencing how companies communicate, it’s about influencing how companies behave.”

Claire Walker FPRCA:

“We’re all on a journey – a boat with cargo, sailors and passengers and a map. A bad ethical decision which compromises your reputation is like being torpoed in the side. A good ethical decision is like a warm wind blowing a ship faster in the right direction.”

Simon Goldsworthy FPRCA:

“It’s dangerous for PR people to overclaim – not only is it unrealistic but it’s often counterproductive. However in a siloised world in which many business leaders have limited experience outside their sectors and specialisms, PR’s experience in communicating with wider audiences is vital.  Empathy, while not ethical in itself, is an essential cornerstone for all ethical decisions.”

What Role Should Accountability Hold, in Ethical PR?

Claire Walker FPRCA:

“Ethics is a structure of rules for appropriate behavior, in context. Do you know the rules for PR? How well do you know the PRCA code? If there are no rules and no one is accountable it’s like the wild west. Don’t be a cowboy.”

Gustavo Averbuj CMPRCA:

“Many times we are asked about spinning. Others accused of creating fake news. As the old saying goes ” If your actions do not prove the truth of your words, then your words are worth nothing”. I live by (and can still sign), all the campaigns we have been involved in. In PR , accountability is crucial. Not just in this pandemics times. Always.”

How Do PR Ethics Drive Stronger Business Strategies?

Rob Flaherty: 

“There’s a lot of talk about sustainability these days, but not enough about sustainable brands. A sustainable brand is one that is managed by leaders that make decisions that treat all stakeholders with respect and with full awareness of the long-term impact of those decisions. PR counselors can ensure a brand is sustainable by helping leaders to make ethical decisions focused on long-term development more than short-term gain.”

David Gallagher MPRCA:

“Strong ethics in communications builds business with greater trust, understanding and reliability, especially in these volatile times. Weak ethics does the opposite.”

Claire Walker FPRCA:

“Now, more so than ever, the PR ethical spotlight on YOU and your organization and that will impact on your reputation. How strong and deep are your ethical foundations. Reputations crumble without foundations.”

Why Are Ethics Critical for PR in Times of Crisis?

Lee Nugent CMPRCA:

“Ethical communications is fundamental to build trust. This is never more important than when a crisis hits. When there are threats to public safety and/or the risk of serious reputation damage and financial loss, communicators must be responsible and accountable. Honesty and openness, even where ambiguity and uncertainty exist, is crucial and, as we’ve seen in recent times, we have a duty of care to advise and educate the public by presenting them with the truth. Words, and how we say them, matter.” 

Claire Walker FPRCA:

“In the midst of a crisis it might be tempting to compromise your ethical values, for a fleeting second. Remember from COVID, there were organisations who were admired or derided. A sound ethical decision based on long term reputational impact most likely made the difference.”

Philippa Foster Back CBE:

“PR is a central function as a go-between an organisation and its audience. They need to be trust-builders with that audience, so basing their communications on the organisation’s ethical values becomes a key element to delivering clear and honest messages. This is ever more important in times of crisis.”

How Can PR Teams Keep Ethics Ever-Engaged? 

Claire Walker FPRCA:

Like keeping fit and being healthy, it’s almost a daily challenge to keep your organisational ethical compass pointed in the right direction with no wavering. Constant conversation and discussion keeps it fresh, relevant and keenly observed. Don’t be afraid to challenge bad ethical choices.”

Mary Beth West MPRCA:

“It simply isn’t adequate to know PR Ethics in theory alone. Knowledge isn’t compliance. Applying ethics daily – whether during each minute of an urgent crisis or over months of methodical strategic planning – all require PR Teams to command Ethics knowledge as well as self-determination to make accountable decisions… and to insist that others do the same.”