Tag Archives: Public Relations Society of America

Ethical framework guides the practice of public relations

Number two particularly caught my eye in a recent PR Daily piece debunking “10 misconceptions about PR” . . . that PR pros distort the truth. For those who believe our profession is all about “trickery and deception,” the trade pub accurately countered that public relations is based on telling the truth and building trust.

The brief rebuttal noted that those“. . . who distort the truth get found out and are quickly brought to light.” We see that’s true time and again with the parade of celebrities and politicians in the news who suddenly become PR experts as they attempt to wiggle out of uncomfortable predicaments with creative anecdotes or outright lies to redeem themselves and save their reputations.

As a public relation practitioner, I know that telling the truth is the only way to go, but it goes much deeper than that – I’m ethically bound to do so. As a long-time member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), I’m proud of my hundreds of thousands of colleagues across the country who share my commitment.

PRSA maintains and enforces a Member Code of Ethics that guides practitioners’ behaviors and decision-making processes in order to protect the integrity of the profession. It starts with a Statement of Professional Values:
• Advocacy:  to act as responsible advocates for those we represent.
• Honesty:  to adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and truth in communicating with the public.
• Expertise:  to responsibly use our specialized knowledge in building relationships with institutions and audiences.
• Independence:  to provide objective counsel to those we represent.
• Loyalty:  to be faithful to our clients while honoring our obligation to serve the public interest.
• Fairness:  to deal fairly with and respect the opinions of all audiences – clients, employers, competitors, peers, vendors, the media and the general public.

A comprehensive Code Provisions of Conduct follows that summarizes and defines six core principles that guide PR practitioners in responsibly dealing with issues involving free flow of information, competition, disclosure of information, safeguarding confidences, conflicts of interest and enhancing the profession.

With the PRSA-Detroit Chapter one of the most active of the hundreds across the nation, our leadership has gone even further to help members demonstrate commitment to ethical practices. We are encouraged to declare our dedication through the Detroit-Chapter’s Ethics Honors Code Program which, after immersion into the national Member Code of Ethics, we take an ethics quiz and cap the entire process by signing an ethics pledge.

Public relations will always take hits in light of the antics of amateurs who confront their public dilemmas with anything less than the truth. But those of us who strive for ethical excellence in all we do, know that those anomalies don’t define our profession.

How do you demonstrate ethical performance in your profession?

Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is a vice president at Franco Public Relations Group and Accredited member of PRSA. She currently chairs the chapter’s Senior Council.  She served several terms on the board of directors and chaired the Accreditation prep program for more than 20 years. You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or joy@franco.com.

Franco’s Newest Hire Sees Excellence in Action

As the new kid on the Franco Public Relations Group block, I was oriented on the agency’s commitment to excellence. But, what company doesn’t say it’s committed to that these days?  Now that I’m several weeks into this exciting next phase of my career, it’s apparent that my new colleagues don’t just give lip-service to excellence – Franco clearly delivers it.

In fact, excellence was the focus of a recent all-employee meeting during which we laughingly commiserated over failed attempts to explain to those closest to us what we, as PR practitioners, do every day.

Photo creidt Flickr: Joe furini

Intern Dan proudly presented a news release he’d carefully crafted on behalf of a client to his parents only to have them ask why they didn’t see his name anywhere . . . AE Angela’s dad was thrilled to catch his daughter during a story on a local evening newscast and couldn’t understand why that wasn’t really supposed to happen since PR people work behind-the-scenes . . . even when our President, Maria, called her mother after an interview on Entertainment Tonight, appearing as a corporate spokesperson, mom was glad but noted it only lasted 20 seconds (an eternity in TV time).

Me? Working from a home office while my sons were young, I often overheard them telling their friends that “Dad goes to work and Mom types all day.”

Truth is public relations can be hard to define. The Public Relations Society of America acknowledges this, saying “. . . public relations has been defined in many different ways, the definition often evolving alongside public relations’ changing roles and technological advances.”

As definitions have been continually debated, the association recently spearheaded an effort that had practitioners vote on an “official” rendition: Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

That definition is academically accurate. But Franco’s definition is also on target – and much simpler – We Connect People.

We do it by excellently executing media relations, strategic planning, social media, crisis management, community relations, event planning, marketing, branding, advertising and more on behalf of the exceptional clients we serve.

But what does excellent public relations look like in practice? Examples abound at Franco Public Relations Group, among them:

  • It’s working alongside The Salvation Army in Doing the Most GoodSM to feed, shelter and nurture our neighbors by continually raising the bar in promoting the organization’s ongoing programs, and such annual funding events as the Red Kettle and Bed & Bread campaigns.
  • It’s helping to foster Detroit’s vibrant and dynamic business climate and fulfill the ambitious visions of an innovative entrepreneur by supporting the Comerica Hatch Detroit Contest.
  • It’s also aiding enterprises, like Buddy’s Pizza, in giving back to the community in which it has successfully flourished through such charitable initiatives as Slice for Life (benefiting the Capuchin Soup Kitchen) and the Made in Michigan Great Lakes Pizza Collection (benefiting the Alliance for the Great Lakes).

I think this is all excellent! When have you witnessed public relations excellence?

Pat Adanti-Joy, APR, is an account manager at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach her at 313-567-5046 or joy@franco.com.