I was very compelled to share this with you after a tweet chat last week with my PR colleagues. This is a list I share with my retainer clients. I had to come up with 10 ethical issues that I thought new PR clients have to deal with. Fellow PR professionals, feel free to use this for your clients. And all you awesome emerging entrepreneurs, make your publicists work easier by using many of these tips for your business. I hope you take this to heart and activate some or all of them to help your brand succeed.
- STAY ON BRAND:
This means from this day forth, everything you say, do or share has to be intentional about the message of your brand. No more random posts, no more venting on social media. If you feel the need to vent, count to 20 (LITERALLY or wait a day) and then decide if you still want to post that emotion. If you do or do not post, at least you had momentarily think time.
- WHAT YOU OFFER YOUR TARGET MARKET:
Your audience/customers are the number one most important part of this process. What you offer them must be at all times the truth about your product or service. It is important that you respect them at all times online or in-person. Yes, even when they may not respect themselves. They are the reason you are in business. Building a relationship with them gets you a lifetime of clients. Take it seriously.
- YOU ARE THE 2ND MOST IMPORTANT:
As you step into this journey that is your brand purpose, please understand that you are officially your brand spokesperson. It is important that you be your best self as often as possible. You will have trolls and naysayers; you will also have supporters and fans. The trick is to remain the constant in this relationship process, the constant you, that is about the best part of what you are selling to the world.
- PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS:
I recommend that you keep your personal stories in the public space PERSONAL. That means: the public does not need to know everything about you. People almost always misinterpret intentions and emotions. You should rather err on the side of not sharing deeply personal issues. Keep things light, relatable and honest. In unique circumstances, you may share a deeply personal story, but only if it is for the greater good, or for a story angle on your brand, not just new information on a “just because” clause. In building personal connections that you will experience on this journey, please follow the same principles of being your best self in those relationships.
- MEDIA INTERVIEWS:
It is always important to PRACTICE! PRACTICE! PRACTICE! before any interview, read and re-read any copy that your PR rep needs you to, for clarity and understanding. Should you ever be faced with a question on a live interview that throws you off, it is actually ok to THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. It may be awkward, but we would rather you reply with some thought, than thoughtlessly. If you give a thoughtless answer, well lets just say the crisis management may cost you a lot of money or your brand, and we cannot afford that. So, a couple of seconds of thought is a better choice than any thoughtless engagement.
- SOCIAL MEDIA FRIENDS:
I would like you to remember that as your social media fan base grows do not underestimate the power of social media. It is important. You now have to constantly remember, whether you like it or not, you are officially a role model
(GLOBALLY, as the internet is worldwide). Stop thinking you are talking to your real life friends. Your fans and your 2000+ fb followers are not your friends. Be intentional about what you say online. Again, just as it is okay to think before you talk or respond to press, it is okay to think before you hit that tweet or publish button.
- CRISIS MANAGEMENT:
Should any of the trolls or naysayers start a rumor or escalate a minor misunderstanding, you should at no point in time resort to social media bashing or subliminal messaging online about the situation. In those cases (thought rare), please call your publicist and share EVERYTHING you know about the situation (it helps when we know the whole truth, so we can address it head on professionally, either with a press release, media alert or PR strategy). You can also call your attorney and let them advice you on the next step. But never respond emotionally and publicly without communication with your PR and LEGAL team.
- MEDIA & CORPORATE PARTNERSHIP CONFIDENTIALITY:
As your team develops a relationship with you and the media or future partners, please note, at no time are you allowed to discuss dealings in meetings with anyone except your attorney or your PR team. So those random tweets or instagram selfies “live at the meeting”. THINK TWICE and ask for permission. It is important that you build trust with the media and your partners as a brand with integrity. Until they sign on the dotted line, do not blast it off on social media.
- INTERNAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST:
As we know, integrity is important in building relationships. If at any point you have some partnerships or friendships that appear to be a conflict of interest with your brand, discuss it openly. 9 times out of 10 I would rather eliminate the conflict unless in unique circumstances.
- HAVE FUN:
Change is usually uncomfortable, but it is more fun when you are open to it. Have fun being you, have fun with all you will learn. I recognize that some or all of the above messages may seem challenging or new to you, I know it works. I look forward to it working for you to amplify your brand positively in the media, with your target market and support you in being your best self.
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