Some may say PR and ethics make for uneasy bedfellows, and unfortunately the widely reported actions of Bell Pottinger in South Africa demonstrated the worst side of the PR industry.
The firm orchestrated a campaign in South Africa which was “likely to inflame racial discord.” A truly unacceptable action, for which Bell Pottinger is now (rightly) suffering the consequences.
There will be agencies and PR practitioners who push the boundaries too far or even take a step over. This is something which is completely unnecessary. The only thing stopping PR practitioners from developing and implementing great strategies that deliver on a client’s objectives is their own lack of talent. Being dishonest and lacking integrity is no way to conduct business in any industry.
For Star PR, ethical PR means correctly advising our clients about using the right PR tools and methods to communicate the messages they want to get across to their target audiences. There really is no need to use underhand methods.
Some companies and organisations may see PR as the dark arts, but PR is actually an important part of the marketing mix, and when done correctly, it’s a highly effective activity.
Star PR’s team are members of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations and as such, we are bound by its Code of Conduct, which is outlined below:
This spotlight on Bell Pottinger and the fallout, doesn’t mean the industry will suddenly be free of this sort of activity, because it’s impossible for all business sectors and industries to be free of unethical behavior, or for such practices to be publicised.
But what it does do, is make people, both PR practitioners and their clients, sit up and take note, and hopefully think twice about using PR for unethical means.
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